FOXBORO, Mass. — Bad news, NFL. The New England Patriots’ defense is becoming dangerous.
The Patriots held the Miami Dolphins to just 270 total yards in their 36-7 win Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. New England allowed just 255 passing yards with two interceptions and five sacks, and was even better against the run, letting up just 15 yards on 13 carries.
The Patriots’ defense is young, explosive and disruptive. It takes away the opposing team’s best player and causes havoc in the backfield in both pass and run defense.
We essentially could have given gold stars to the Patriots’ entire defense, but here’s who we did single out:
Lewis didn’t look limited by his abdomen injury in his return to the field after missing the Patriots’ previous game. The running back had six receptions for 93 yards with one touchdown and five carries for 19 yards, showing off some very nifty footwork in the process.
Lewis clearly is the Patriots’ best running back, and he’s the best pass-catching back they’ve had since Danny Woodhead. Lewis makes this offense a lot more dangerous when he’s on the field.
Jones now leads the NFL with 8.5 sacks after his two-sack performance against the Dolphins. The defensive end recorded both sacks in the first half and also finished with four tackles.
Jones’ first sack was caused by rookie Geneo Grissom, who whiffed on a sack. It was all Jones on the second, however, when he beat a double team to get to quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Ho-hum, Gronk finished with another 100-yard game. The tight end had six catches for 113 yards with one touchdown. Quite frankly, the Dolphins didn’t stand a chance of limiting Gronkowski, especially with just three days to prepare for the big man.
Ryan picked off a Tannehill pass and allowed just four catches on nine targets for 31 yards. Ryan has been the Patriots’ most dependable cornerback so far this season. He’s getting better as the season goes along, too.
Brady could make this list every week. I left him off in Week 7, however, so here he is. He was great again against the Dolphins, completing 26 of 38 passes for 356 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He only had one carry for 1 yard, however. Slacker.
Edelman started quiet, but he finished with seven catches on nine targets for 81 yards with two touchdowns. He now has six touchdowns on the season, tying his career high. It’s Week 8.
Safety Duron Harmon had an impressive flying interception in the fourth quarter, leading to a Patriots touchdown. He also had three pass breakups and wasn’t targeted.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower helped limit the Dolphins’ rushing attack. He also had one sack and three tackles.
Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga made an impressive tackle for loss on third-and-1 in the third quarter, forcing a punt.
Defensive end Rob Ninkovich and safety Devin McCourty also had sacks in the fourth quarter.
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Oct 29, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots celebrate a touchdown by running back Dion Lewis (33) during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports