FOXBORO, Mass. — New week, new season, same story: The Patriots staged a spirited comeback against a quality opponent but again came up short Sunday night at Gillette Stadium, losing to the Miami Dolphins 24-17.

Here are nine rapid-fire thoughts on the Week 2 matchup:

1. The Patriots fell to 0-2 on the season for the first time since 2001.

That’s not a death sentence for a team’s playoff hopes — Cincinnati qualified after an 0-2 start last season, and at least one team did so every year from 2013 to 2018 — but it does severely hurt their chances. Since 1990, just 11.5% of 0-2 clubs went on to make the postseason.

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New England also fell to 0-5 against Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in his career.

2. Here’s how it ended: After the Dolphins missed a 55-yard field goal that would have put them up 10 with 2:14 remaining, Mac Jones and the Patriots’ offense took over near midfield with one last chance to tie.

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New England ended up facing a fourth-and-4 from Miami’s 33-yard line and nearly pulled off the unlikeliest of conversions. Tight end Mike Gesicki caught a short pass and lateraled it to guard Cole Strange, who initially appeared to pick up the necessary first-down yardage.

But the play was reviewed, and Strange was ruled down just short of the line to gain. Ballgame.

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3. Jones completed 31 of 42 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown with one interception. As was the case in Week 1, his most trusted target was tight end Hunter Henry, who caught six of his seven targets for 52 yards and his second touchdown of the young season.

Wide receiver DeVante Parker also played well in his return from the knee injury that kept him out of last week’s opener. He finished with six catches on eight targets for 52 yards, though he was outmuscled by cornerback Xavien Howard on Jones’ INT (more on that below).

JuJu Smith-Schuster caught five of his six targets, including one that set up a 2-yard Rhamondre Stevenson touchdown run in the fourth quarter, but totaled just 28 receiving yards.

Kendrick Bourne caught four of nine targets for 29 yards.

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4. The Patriots again had very little success running the ball despite getting starting guards Strange and Mike Onwenu back from injury. Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott averaged just 3.2 yards per carry on 20 attempts. Some of New England’s best running plays were Jones scrambles (five carries, 25 yards).

The Patriots also struggled to protect Jones, with tackles Calvin Anderson and Vederian Lowe (making his first career start in place on the injured Trent Brown) each allowing sacks. Onwenu was replaced by Atonio Mafi in the fourth quarter.

Jones took a total of four sacks and eight quarterback hits and faced instant interior pressure of the Patriots’ final play.

5. Injuries were a major factor for New England for the second consecutive week. That was especially true in the defensive backfield, where the Patriots came into the game down two cornerbacks (Jonathan Jones and Marcus Jones), then lost another (Marcus Jones) to injury four minutes into the second quarter.

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Marcus Jones injured his shoulder during the Patriots’ second defensive series and was ruled out for the rest of the game at halftime. That left New England with a rookie in Christian Gonzalez and two depth players in Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade as its only available corners for most of the game.

Gonzalez played every defensive snap for the second consecutive game. Bryant, a slot/safety by trade, didn’t leave the field after Jones’ injury and had to play out of position as an outside corner. Wade, who was a healthy scratch in Week 1, played double-digit defensive snaps for the first time in his NFL career.

That group mostly limited All-Pro wideout Tyreek Hill. He finished with five catches on nine targets for 40 yards and a touchdown, and Gonzalez notched the first interception of his career on a fourth-quarter deep ball to Hill, whom he spent much of the night covering. But Tagovailoa methodically picked apart New England’s secondary with slants and other quick passes.

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Jaylen Waddle led all receivers with 86 yards on four catches, and Durham Smythe, Braxton Berrios and River Cracraft all had at least 20 receiving yards for the Dolphins.

6. The Patriots halted the Dolphins in the red zone on their opening drive, with Miami forced to settle for a field goal after Tagovailoa slipped and fell on third down.

They couldn’t replicate that bend-but-don’t-break strategy on the Dolphins’ next two red-zone visits. On the second, linebacker Jahlani Tavai and Gonzalez lost contain on an 8-yard touchdown run by Raheem Mostert. On the third, Miami used a savvy play design to create a favorable matchup for Hill.

On first-and-goal from the 2 just before halftime, the Dolphins utilized their distinctive “out motion,” which one Patriots defender compared to a Canadian football running start, to get Hill matched up on safety Kyle Dugger rather than Gonzalez. The latter switched onto Smythe as he sprinted toward the sideline, leaving Dugger to deal with Hill.

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Hill on any safety is a massive mismatch for Miami, and he easily beat Dugger for a 1-yard score.

New England’s defense recovered to hold Miami scoreless on its next four possessions before surrendering a 43-yard touchdown run to Mostert midway through the fourth quarter. That score proved to be the game-winner.

7. A costly ball security slip-up landed Demario Douglas in the doghouse.

The rookie slot receiver got open over the middle on third-and-8 and made a nifty cut to gain extra yardage, but he lost the football when Bradley Chubb punched it out from behind. Miami recovered the fumble, ending what had been a productive Patriots possession.

That was the final play of the first quarter. Douglas didn’t play another offensive snap the rest of the game, though he did fill in for an injured Marcus Jones on punt returns.

8. The play of the game? Had to be Brenden Schooler’s sensational blocked field goal.

Schooler, the Patriots’ standout special teams demon, fooled the Dolphins by lining up near the sideline on a 49-yard Jason Sanders attempt, then sprinting toward the formation just before the snap. That gave him the head of steam he needed to shoot past edge blocker Christian Wilkins and bat down Sanders’ kick.

The Patriots used a similar concept to scheme up a Jonathan Jones blocked punt against Indianapolis last season, coincidentally recovered by Schooler. Sunday’s edition gave New England prime field position at midfield.

But after a pair of first downs, including one on a fourth-and-1 QB sneak, Mac Jones threw an interception to a heavily covered Parker deep in Dolphins territory to squander the scoring chance.

9. This was the Patriots’ first time playing on “Sunday Night Football” in nearly two full years. They hadn’t done so since Tom Brady’s first game back as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer on Oct. 3, 2021.

New England isn’t scheduled to have another primetime game until Dec. 7, when it visits the Pittsburgh Steelers on a Thursday night.

The Patriots will look to score their first win of the season when they visit Zach Wilson and the New York Jets next Sunday.

Featured image via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images