Three Studs, Three Duds For Patriots From Week 1 Loss To Dolphins

Some good, some bad

by

September 11

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The 2022 Patriots season began with a dud in Southern Florida.

Sloppiness, poor discipline and bad situational football ruled the day for New England, which suffered a 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones completed 21 of 30 passes for 213 yards and one touchdown to go along with one interception, while Dolphins signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa improved to 4-0 against Bill Belichick.

New England began the game strong, marching down the field on its opening offensive possession. But a pivotal interception from Jones got the snowball rolling, and the Patriots never stopped it. The Patriots also made things interesting on their final drive but were done in by Nelson Agholor fumble.

Still, there were some encouraging performances from the Patriots on both sides of the ball. Here are three studs and three duds for New England from its season-opening loss to the Dolphins:

STUDS
WR Jakobi Meyers
It’s scary to think about where the Patriots offense would be without Meyers, who clearly is the top wideout on the team. What that says about New England’s overall talent at receiver is a different discussion. Meyers racked up four catches receptions for 55 yards while delivering one of the best catches you’ll see all season from the Patriots. He’s just a really good, tough player.

S Kyle Dugger
Was solid in pass coverage — outside of a costly miscue on the Jaylen Waddle touchdown before halftime — and an absolute missile in the open field, finishing with five tackles. You always can count on Dugger, who occasionally lines up at linebacker, to deliver at least a couple of big hits each game — and he had a few of them in this one. If Dugger can limit his lapses in the passing game and find more consistency, he could become one of the NFL’s more dynamic safeties.

P Jake Bailey
Bailey appears back to being his usual, booming self after having a down season in 2021. That’s probably because he’s healthy. The fourth-year pro had three punts downed inside the 10-yard line, which the Patriots likely will need even more of this season due to their limited offense.

Honorable mentions: Matthew Judon Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, Mac Jones, Ja’Whaun Bentley

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DUDS
Coaching
The Patriots in the first half looked just like the team we saw late in 2021: sloppy, undisciplined and unable to keep things from snowballing on them. You can’t argue against that being a reflection on the coaching staff. However, we wouldn’t say that offensive play-calling was the issue in this game, which saw the debut of Matt Patricia as Josh McDaniels’ replacement.

LG Cole Strange
The rookie wasn’t awful, but he was bad enough to get benched for James Ferentz in the first half. Overall, Strange offered much of what you likely can expect this season: some impressive plays with a healthy serving of rookie mistakes.

Secondary
The failures at the end of the first half, when Waddle broke free for a fourth-down touchdown, alone warrant the group’s inclusion in this spot. But the reality is this was an underwhelming performance from start to finish, with the still-average Tagovailoa completing 23 of 33 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown. The Patriots also weren’t able to contain Tyreek Hill, who posted eight catches for 94 yards.

Honorable mentions: Jonnu Smith, DeVante Parker

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots safety Adrian Phillips
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