The Haphazard Blog

Tag: miami dolphins

Patriots vs. Dolphins Recap

by on Jan.02, 2011, under Football, Patriots, Sports

With the top seed wrapped up, a lot of speculation in this game was about who will play and who (and when) will they get rest. The Patriots pretty much played it like they would the third preseason game.

The Patriots defense got off to a great start with a Devin McCourty interception. Tom Brady took over and he’s playing the game shorthanded, missing Deion Branch, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. Even without them, Brady drove the ball down the field and hit Rob Gronkowski with a touchdown pass. I wondered if they were going to go after Mike Ditka’s rookie touchdown record today, but they didn’t.

It will be interesting to see how the rookie of the year voting goes. I assume the winners will be Sam Bradford (Offensive, QB, Rams) and Ndamukong Suh (Defensive, DT, Lions), but I think the Patriots should really have two of their own considered. Gronkowski has 10 touchdowns to tie for the most in the NFL by a tight end. McCourty has 7 interceptions to tie for 2nd most in the NFL (Ed Reed has 8 in only 9 games!). They have production that puts them right at the top with the league, not just rookies. Bradford is 24th in passer rating, 18th in touchdowns and 11th worst in interceptions. Suh is 11th in sacks and 8th in tackles.

Danny Woodhead ended the Patriots’ streak of no turnovers at 7 games when he fumbled the ball. He suffered a concussion on the play, so it’s hard to fault him on that. They still end the season with 10 turnovers, which sets a NFL record. Brady continued his consecutive passes with no interception streak. I think it’s a regular season type record (weird way to keep track, but I suppose it keeps things level) so it will continue next season.

Julian Edelman stepped up today playing wide receiver. I didn’t see any drops and he ended up with a couple big catches and a 94 yard punt return (new Patriots record) even after he bumped into a teammate.

The sack by Jerod Mayo looked illegal to me. Wasn’t that lunging at the quarterback’s legs? I thought they put in a rule that was supposed to prevent defenders who were on the ground from doing that. Maybe it has to be with the helmet?

Closing out the game late, Brian Hoyer threw a touchdown to a diving Brandon Tate. It looked like a pass/play that Brady had tried to hit a couple times this year but was usually just a bit off. They were also able to make sure BenJarvus Green-Ellis got over 1,000 yards rushing for the season (the whole team seemed pretty ecstatic about it.

Now the Patriots wait to see who they play. The Chiefs lost, so for now, the possibilities are the Chiefs, Ravens, Jets, Colts or Jaguars. Two of them will be out once the late afternoon games end.

Update: The Patriots will play one of these three teams:

Jets
Ravens
Chiefs

The opponent will be the first team remaining on that list after the wild card weekend playoff games..

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Patriots vs. Dolphins and Bye Week Recap

by on Oct.14, 2010, under Football, Patriots, Sports

I started to take notes during games so I could remember things that I noticed later. More than any game so far this year, they come in real handy. The Patriots won handily 41-14, but thinks weren’t looking so bright in the first half. It would be easy to forget.

To start the game, Anthony Fasano was wide open in zone coverage and able to convert a 3rd and 3 for over 20 yards. Heading into this game, I was hoping for 3rd and short over 3rd and long because the Patriots pass defense has left a lot to desire so far. Looked like the Dolphins decided if they can’t cover 3rd and long, they probably can’t cover 3rd and short. The Patriots did eventually force a punt and it was good to see Wes Welker back there to return the punt. It was a positive sign that he is still doing well in his recovery. (He did also tell ESPN that he definitely was not back to 100%, plus he really hates the brace.) Unfortunately, he muffed the punt and it looked like he was tackled awkwardly. Fortunately, he was able to get his leg out of the turf and bounced back up. But it was scary for a split second.

They decided to start Vince Wilfork at defensive end. They moved him to that spot during the Ravens playoff game last year because Jarvis Green was getting run all over. This time, it seemed like they wanted to discourage Miami from running to the right from the beginning (they only tried 5 times). It makes sense if the plan is to put their best outside linebacker on the opposite side. My thinking is they don’t have 2 guys who can set the edge. so they have their best defensive lineman take care of it on one side.

On another 3rd down play (this time a long one), Brandon Spikes points to Davone Bess as no one covers him and he catches the ball and runs for an easy 1st down. Looking like it was going to be a close game and long night for the defense.

This doesn’t seem to happen often, but ESPN mentioned that BenJarvus Green-Ellis had never fumbled the ball (147 carries) and somehow, he didn’t fumble it the whole night.

I made a note to find out where Cameron Wake was drafted, but they mentioned during the game he was an undrafted free agent. Looking into it further, the Giants signed him in 2005 and cut him. He played in the CFL in 2007 and 2008 and then after he was one of the best defensive players for 2 years a bunch of NFL teams wanted him. I’d say he fits the description of a “high motor” guy. I also finally understood what “speed to power” means (between Playbook and ESPN). ¬†Wake gets going fast at Sebastian Vollmer and just powers right through him pushing him backwards and then tosses him aside to get a hit on Tom Brady.

Rob Ninkovich was struggling with setting the edge in the run, but came up big dropping into coverage and picking off a pass for Brandon Marshall. Later in the game he made a great interception by stretching out to grab it. Very Tedy Bruschi-esque with those plays (and the sack later).

That pass to Randy Moss was so close for a touchdown. It definitely seemed like it was catchable at the time, but in retrospect, he had to turn and get his hands on it in very little time. He makes catching the ball look so easy, you just expect him to catch that. (Following his trade, Vontae Davis said Moss said that if Brady didn’t throw such a wobbly ball, he would’ve caught it. Probably true.)

Not sure the Patriots could’ve started the half any better than a kick return for a TD, a 3 and out on defense, a punt block for a short field and the offense cashing in with another TD. Huge swing of momentum for the Patriots. To the Dolphins credit, they took the ball right down the field (the Patriots laughingly fell for a screen pass (not realizing it was way too easy, especially for them, to get a path to Chad Henne) on the way) to get a TD themselves. I think it was at this point where I felt really good about the Patriots. They had a great drive to score another TD. The Dolphins had a real good chance to get the momentum back, but I think this drive showed the Patriots weren’t going to lay down on the road (finally). It looked like after this TD that Brady was telling everyone to get set for a 2 point play. I thought it was way too early for that (and Ernie Adams was smarter than that). Either I misunderstood what Brady was doing or they thought better of it and kicked the extra point.

From there, the game really got out of control. Pat Chung found a crease right between 2 guys and blocked a field goal that they ran back for a TD. (Somehow he wasn’t the AFC special teams player of the week.) For good measure he ran an interception back for a TD as well.

As mentioned in a previous post, Randy Moss was traded during the bye week. There were no other players involved and the compensation did seem low to me for a player of his caliber. I was expecting at least a 2nd round pick, especially to a team in win now mode like Minnesota. Also weird was that they didn’t extend his contract. He’s in the same exact position he was in with the Patriots as far as his contract goes. My thought was given the compensation (Patriots got a 3rd and had to send a 7th to the Vikings) a lot more was going on behind the scenes. It looks like they all agreed to play nice, so we probably won’t ever know what the reasons were. I’d guess it was a lot of things between his attitude and his place in the offense. A few people felt during the Jets loss that Brady was forcing balls to Moss with better options available. Time will tell if this was a good or bad idea. Was Brady forcing the ball to Moss to keep him happy? Was he not looking for the open receiver? I will say that he was right back at hos locker for his weekly interview (instead of the podium).

And now this week the Patriots brought back their old friend Deion Branch. He adjusted his contract for 2011 to come back, but they will be paying him basically what they were going to pay Moss. It seemed like a necessary move considering they traded their #1 WR and needed someone to add back onto the depth chart (or rely on Taylor Price who has been inactive all season). Although the compensation seems to say it (4th round pick to get Branch) it’s far from an equal swap on field. The operative word being on field. He should be able to get up to speed enough to contribute Sunday. I think these moves have a lot of people wondering if the Patriots will be returning to their Super Bowl days when Brady’s favorite receiver was the open one. I’d say the offense is a lot better now than then, but the defense has a long way to go to be as good as the ones they had then.

One thing is clear, this will be an even more interesting season than I thought before, and the NFL seems to be wide open for almost any team to make it to the Super Bowl.

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