Final, Patriots 43-0: The New England Patriots dominated the Miami Dolphins in all facets Sunday afternoon, cruising to a 37-0 victory at Hard Rock Stadium.
Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns — including a 20-yard back-shoulder strike to newcomer Antonio Brown — and ran for another as New England surpassed 30 points for the second consecutive week despite playing much of the game with backups at both offensive tackle spots.
Twelve of those points came courtesy of the Patriots’ defense, which got pick-sixes from cornerback Stephon Gilmore and linebacker Jamie Collins on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter. Devin McCourty tallied an interception of his own, and Collins picked off another pass on the game’s final play. The Patriots sacked quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen seven times.
Miami went three-and-out on seven of its first eight possessions. The Patriots have not surrendered a touchdown since last year’s AFC Championship Game.
One area of concern for New England was the performance of their field-goal operation, as Stephen Gostkowski missed one field goal and two extra points. The Patriots also lost left tackle Isaiah Wynn to a foot injury, and replacement Marshall Newhouse struggled at times.
Next up for the Patriots: a matchup with the New York Jets next Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Fourth quarter, 5:43, Patriots 37-0: One play after forcing a turnover on downs, the Patriots turned the ball over themselves. Sony Michel fumbled on an inside handoff, with Minkah Fitzpatrick recovering for Miami.
Fourth quarter, 8:57, Patriots 37-0: Pick six, part deux.
Minutes after Stephon Gilmore’s score, Kalen Ballage bobbled a pass right into the mitts of linebacker Jamie Collins, who sprinted 69 yards for another New England defensive touchdown.
Josh Rosen now is in at quarterback for the Dolphins.
Fourth quarter, 10:45, Patriots 30-0: Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown a touchdown pass — to the wrong team.
Stephon Gilmore picked off a short dump-off from Fitzpatrick on third-and-2 and took it to the house, sprinting 54 yards untouched into the end zone.
The touchdown was the first of Gilmore’s NFL career. His last came way back in 2010 when he was a sophomore at South Carolina.
Fourth quarter, 15:00, Patriots 23-0: The Patriots’ defense just forced its sixth (!) consecutive three-and-out, with Adam Butler tallying one sack and Jamie Collins and Chase Winovich sharing another.
The Dolphins have 38 yards of total offense.
Third quarter, 2:18, Patriots 23-0: A 1-yard sneak by Tom Brady following a defensive pass interference call on Eric Rowe extended the Patriots’ lead.
Third quarter, 7:30, Patriots 16-0: This Dolphins offense is a complete and total disaster.
Safety Patrick Chung was taken to the sideline medical tent by the concussion spotter during Miami’s latest three-and-out. We’ll see if he returns to the game.
Third quarter, 8:45, Patriots 16-0: After a quiet first half, Josh Gordon hauled in his first and second receptions of the day following McCourty’s interception. The first picked up 14 yards to move the chains on third-and-12.
Tom Brady then targeted Antonio Brown three times in the end zone, and all three passes fell incomplete. On the third incompletion, which came on third-and-7, Brown beat Eric Rowe with a quick move off the line, but Brady underthrew the ball, allowing Rowe to recover and swat the pass away.
Communication and timing between the QB and his new wideout remain a work in progress.
Stephen Gostkowski booted a 28-yard field goal to extend the Patriots’ lead.
Third quarter, 12:22, Patriots 13-0: Stephon Gilmore got his hand on a pass intended for DeVante Parker, and Devin McCourty intercepted it, giving the Patriots the ball inside Dolphins territory.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has 38 passing yards and an 8.9 passer rating so far today.
Third quarter, 12:43, Patriots 13-0: The opening drive of the second half ended in a Patriots punt after Eric Rowe broke up a short pass intended for Antonio Brown on third down.
Before the drive began, the Patriots announced left tackle Isaiah Wynn (foot) has been ruled out for the rest of the game. Marshall Newhouse, who replaced Wynn, was flagged for holding on the incompletion to Brown.
Halftime, Patriots 13-0: The Patriots defense forced yet another three-and-out to close out the first half.
Over two games this season, Patriots opponents have gone three-and-out on a whopping 70 percent of their first-half possessions (7 of 10).
The Patriots’ offense hasn’t piled up points today, but it’s performing well both on the ground and through the air. Sony Michel has 54 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and Tom Brady has completed 11 of 13 passes for 121 yards and one score.
Antonio Brown leads all receivers with four catches on four targets for 56 yards and a touchdown in his first game in Patriots blue.
Second quarter, 1:19, Patriots 13-0: A diving reception by Phillip Dorsett on third-and-17 extended what proved to be the Patriots’ second scoring drive. A strike to Antonio Brown capped it.
Brown gained separation from Dolphins cornerback (and ex-Patriots practice squadder) Jomal Wilts, hauled in a perfect back-shoulder pass from Tom Brady for a 20-yard touchdown and then leaped into the stands to celebrate.
Though he’s been pushed further and further down the depth chart following Josh Gordon’s return and Brown’s arrival, Dorsett continues to be one of Tom Brady’s most reliable targets. He’s caught each of the last 21 regular-season passes Brady has thrown his way.
The Patriots found themselves in that difficult third-and-long situation after defensive lineman John Jenkins bull-rushed right guard Shaq Mason into Brady for Miami’s first sack of the game.
Fullback James Develin also converted a third-and-1 later in the drive after spending time in the sideline medical tent, and Matt LaCosse recorded his first catch in a Patriots uniform, hauling in a 10-yarder on first down after Develin’s carry.
Stephen Gostkowski missed the ensuing extra point, his second missed kick of the day.
Second quarter, 8:14, Patriots 7-0: Second straight three-and-out for the Dolphins — and third in four possessions.
J.C. Jackson made a nice breakup on a deep ball to DeVante Parker, and Adam Butler — who’s having a very productive afternoon thus far — swatted down a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass at the line on third down.
Matt Haack’s punts have left much to be desired today. His latest traveled just 21 yards and nailed a cameraman on the sideline. Brian Flores should consider placing a call to Ryan Allen, who remains unemployed after being cut by the Patriots in the preseason.
Second quarter, 8:14, Patriots 7-0: Stephen Gostkowski, who missed a field goal and an extra point here last season, pushed one wide right from 48 yards out.
The Patriots have dominated this game, but they only have seven points to show for it.
Second quarter, 12:38, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots now are missing both of their starting offensive tackles.
Left tackle Isaiah Wynn left the field and headed to the sideline medical tend during New England’s latest possession. That pushed Marshall Newhouse, who started the game at right tackle in place of Marcus Cannon, to the left side, with Korey Cunningham taking over on the right.
After about five minutes in the tent, Wynn walked to the locker room. The team announced he is questionable to return with a foot injury.
Guard/center James Ferentz now is the Patriots’ only available O-line backup.
First quarter, 3:00, Patriots 7-0: The Dolphins picked up two first downs on their second possession but were forced to punt after Adam Butler sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick on third-and-8. Chase Winovich, who’s been active here in the early going, helped create the sack by forcing Fitzpatrick to step up in the pocket.
John Simon then nearly blocked Matt Haack’s punt, which traveled just 36 yards.
First quarter, 7:46, Patriots 7-0: It didn’t take long for the Patriots to get Antonio Brown involved.
The newly signed wide receiver accounted for all three of Tom Brady’s targets on New England’s opening possession, catching three passes on three targets for 36 yards to swiftly move the Patriots downfield.
Brown also drew a defensive penalty in the end zone to give the Patriots the ball on Miami’s 2-yard line. Two plays later, Sony Michel plunged across the goal line to open the scoring with his first touchdown of the young season.
First quarter, 13:38, 0-0: Miami’s offense picked up right where it left off last week, going 3 yards backward on their opening drive before punting.
Of note: slot cornerback Jonathan Jones started at safety for the Patriots over Patrick Chung. Jones played safety in Super Bowl LIII.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Dolphins won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. We’ll be underway momentarily on a sweltering afternoon in South Florida.
12:34 p.m.: Some final notes from warmups:
— Veteran newcomer Marshall Newhouse will start in place of injured right tackle Marcus Cannon.
— Matt LaCosse was the No. 1 tight end, with Ryan Izzo coming on with the second team. LaCosse dressed but did not play in Week 1.
— Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon were the Patriots’ first-team receivers. Antonio Brown and Phillip Dorsett came on with the second unit.
12:21 p.m.: Here’s your first look at Antonio Brown in a Patriots uniform:
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, could be seen having a lengthy conversation with Patriots owner Robert Kraft during warmups.
12:05 p.m.: The Patriots will have a new kick returner today with Brandon Bolden sidelined.
Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel, Sony Michel and Gunner Olszewski practiced kick returns during warmups. We could see Olszewski, who returned punts last week, pull double duty today.
11:30 a.m.: Here are today’s inactives:
Marcus Cannon is inactive after testing his shoulder in warmups. Either Korey Cunningham or Marshall Newhouse, both of whom are making their Patriots debuts, will start at right tackle today.
Antonio Brown officially is active.
11:11 a.m.: Antonio Brown is warming up for his Patriots debut by stretching barefoot in the end zone.
10:58 a.m.: Joejuan Williams, Damien Harris, Jakobi Meyers, Jermaine Eluemunor and Deatrich Wise are going through a pregame stretch/run with assistant strength coach Deron Mayo. Players who do this typically are inactive.
Meyers, who had a 22-yard catch last week in his NFL debut, became the sixth man on the wide receiver depth chart once Antonio Brown arrived.
Harris’ chances of cracking the 46-man gameday roster increased when Brandon Bolden was ruled out with a hamstring injury, but it appears the Patriots will sit the rookie running back for the second consecutive week. Williams, who’s buried on the depth chart in Patriots’ loaded cornerback room, also was a healthy scratch in Week 1.
10:47 a.m.: NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported this morning Antonio Brown worked with backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham until 10 p.m. each night this week. Troy Brown also was involved in those sessions, according to a report from NFL MEdia’s Mike Giardi.
Giardi reported Brown, who’s serving as the Patriots’ unofficial assistant receivers coach this season, “has been almost like a personal coach” for Brown.
10:30 a.m.: Marcus Cannon just ran through a pregame workout with members of the Patriots’ training staff. That typically indicates a player is a game-time decision.
8 a.m. ET: Greetings from sunny Miami Gardens, Fla., where the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will renew their AFC East rivalry this afternoon.
The Patriots enter this Week 2 matchups at 1-0 after smoking the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3 last Sunday in their season opener. The Dolphins were on the wrong end of an even more lopsided result: a 59-10 Baltimore Ravens beatdown at Hard Rock Stadium in the first game of the Brian Flores era.
It appears likely New England, which has won just once in its last six visits to South Florida, will have Antonio Brown in the lineup today for the first time. The star wideout made the trip and reportedly is expected to make his Patriots debut this afternoon after joining the team on Monday.
Patriots running back Brandon Bolden has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, and right tackle Marcus Cannon reportedly is not expected to play as he recovers from a shoulder injury suffered against the Steelers. Expect Korey Cunningham, Marshall Newhouse or Joe Thuney to fill Cannon’s spot in the starting offensive line.
Despite rumors that James White might have remained in New England with his wife expecting their child, the Patriots running back did travel with the team to Miami.
Miami’s roster might be the least talented in the NFL, and the Dolphins will be down a few more notable players for this contest, as safety Reshad Jones and wide receiver Albert Wilson have been ruled out. Starting right tackle Julien Davenport also landed on injured reserve this week after suffering a serious leg injury in practice, forcing Flores to insert newly acquired journeyman J’Marcus Webb into an already shaky unit.
Keep a close eye today on Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is expected to play despite receiving permission this week to seek a trade. Fitzpatrick had the worst game of his career against the Ravens (six catches allowed on six targets for 117 yards and three touchdowns) and reportedly is unhappy with Flores’ insistence on playing him at multiple positions.
With the forecast calling for a high of 90 degrees this afternoon and a heat index of 100, the Dolphins are busting out their gorgeous white throwback uniforms, forcing the Patriots to wear blue in Miami for the first time since 2014.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. Be sure to check back here throughout the morning for full pregame coverage.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images