The Patriots edged out the Dolphins in a low-scoring affair to kick off the 2020 NFL regular season.
Miami flipped the script as the 2021 campaign got underway this past Sunday.
The Pats fell just short to the Fins in a Week 1 showdown between AFC East rivals. New England appeared poised to secure a season-opening win when it marched down the field into Miami territory late in the fourth quarter. But a Damien Harris fumble with less than four minutes to play cemented the visitors’ 17-16 victory at Gillette Stadium.
Both teams remained in the middle of the pack within ESPN’s latest NFL power ranking. Brian Flores’ team checks in at No. 15 (a one-spot bump from the preseason), while Bill Belichick’s squad lands at No. 17, the same spot it held at the end of August.
The Patriots’ Week 1 loss was to no fault of Mac Jones, who impressed in his professional debut. The 23-year-old quarterback effectively was a no-brainer pick for New England’s top rookie over the weekend.
“Finishing 29-of-39 for 281 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions, Jones was arguably the Patriots’ best player in a season-opening loss to the Dolphins,” Mike Reiss wrote. “Opposing players were impressed. ‘He didn’t really make any mistakes. He was poised,’ Dolphins defensive back Jason McCourty said. ‘Even watching him in the huddle, getting guys in, yelling, commanding. … He gave his team a chance to win.'”