In a rare morning-after occurrence, neither Tom Brady, Wes Welker or Randy Moss failed to dominate the headlines — and that’s not a bad thing, as the Patriots took it to the Dolphins on Monday night thanks to a variety of players.
This 41-14 fish-squishing in South Beach was won thanks to defense, special teams and underdogs rising to the occasion.
Danny Woodhead,the game’s ultimate underdog, led the way on offense. The (cough!) 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back finished with eight carries for 36 yards and an 11-yard touchdown reception and now has a touchdown in his first two games as a member of the Pats. The Chadron State alum has really impressed Bill Belichick, as he was on the field for 28 of the offense’s 58 snaps. As Mike Reiss of ESPN.com dutifully noted, that trails only:
TE Aaron Hernandez – 50 of 58
WR Randy Moss – 46 of 58
WR Wes Welker – 43 of 58
WR Brandon Tate – 31 of 58
TE Alge Crumpler – 30 of 58
Another unsung hero from the MNF slaughter was safety Patrick Chung, who blocked two kicks and returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown. In fact, one could say Chung was responsible for three scores as he blocked a punt to set up a touchdown, then blocked a field goal that Kyle Arrington returned 35 yards for a score.
But Chung wasn’t the only star on special teams, as Brandon Tate returned the opening kick of the second half 103 yards for a touchdown to put the Pats up 13-7. He also added four catches for 39 yards on offense.
The workhorse of the offense — no, not Welker and his team-high eight receptions for 70 yards — was once again running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who led the ground game with 16 carries for 76 yards.
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich, the former Dolphins practice-squad player who was waived by the team in 2008, quickly became one of Dolphins’ quarterback Chad Henne‘s favorite targets. Ninkovich picked off Henne twice while also adding three tackles and a sack.
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