FOXBORO, Mass. — Sooner or later, the growing pains were going to come for Ted Karras.
After impressing last week in his first career start at center, the second-year pro was responsible for the Patriots’ ugliest play in Sunday’s 35-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
With the Patriots leading 14-0 early in the second quarter, a miscommunication between Karras and quarterback Tom Brady caused the fill-in center — the replacement for David Andrews, who has missed the last two games with an illness — to snap the ball before Brady was ready.
The botched snap zipped past the 40-year-old QB, who tried and failed to dive on it as Dolphins defensive ends Terrence Fede and Charles Harris also converged on the spot. The ball skittered away from all three of those players and into the arms of safety Reshad Jones, who took it the final 10 yards for a Miami touchdown.
Speaking at his locker after the game, Karras took full responsibility for the blunder.
“That’s 100 percent my fault,” he told reporters. “… I just snapped it early. It was 100 percent on me. It was kind of a nightmare, but we overcame it.”
Fortunately for Karras, the Patriots responded with a touchdown on the next drive and led by more than 10 points the rest of the way. And apart from his one glaring miscue, the Illinois product actually had a decent game. He was not responsible for any of Miami’s eight quarterback hits and allowed just one pressure in 29 pass-block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
Sunday’s game also featured the Patriots’ best rushing performance of the season, with New England racking up 196 yards on the ground. Dion Lewis accounted for 112 of those yards on 15 carries, and Rex Burkhead added 50 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Lewis and Burkhead both credited the offensive line after the win.
“They’ve done a tremendous job all year,” said Burkhead, who also caught a touchdown pass. “Those guys don’t get the credit they deserve. They’ve really done a great job and really opened up things for us offensively in the pass game. Just being able to establish the run opens up a lot of other things. Just the grind that they go through every day down there in the trenches and the hard work they put in, it shows on Sundays.”
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images