The Patriots were thoroughly outplayed by the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, losing their Week 14 contest 27-20. The loss snapped the Patriots’ 8 game winning streak, and their 14 game road game winning streak (which started in 2015).
Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s game
1. The Dolphins’ defense made Tom Brady look like a 40-year old quarterback
TB12 has been remarkable so far this season, making several analysts wonder if he was playing his best football at age 40. Brady’s age was evident during last night’s loss, as he was unable to get away from Miami pass rushers in the pocket, and was heavily inaccurate on several throws (two throws to Brandin Cooks resulted in his two interceptions). He was also evidently uncomfortable in the pocket. After yesterday’s game, Brady’s record in Miami stands at 7-9. Hopefully Brady will get things back on track before next week’s crucial matchup against the Steelers.
2. The Patriots’ offense was absolutely dreadful
If you want an idea of how bad the Patriots played yesterday, just look at their performance in the first quarter, where they only recorded 2 yards of total offense. Miami was also able to neutralize the Patriots’ rushing attack, which had been gaining steam during the last few games, limiting the Pats to 10 carries for 25 yards. Rob Gronkowski’s absence was clearly felt, as the team was in a funk offensively. Danny Amendola was the only receiver who constantly got open, as he finished with 6 catches for 76 yards. In comparison, Brandin Cooks finished with 1 catch for 38 yards, while Chris Hogan had 1 catch for 1 yard. The Patriots offense also squandered several chances in the fourth quarter when they were down by 10 points. Scoring on at least one of those drives would have made their last-ditch effort at the end of the game much easier.
3. The banged-up Patriots’ defense couldn’t make enough plays
The Patriots’ defense played without two of their key contributors in Kyle Van Noy and Trey Flowers, and their absence was clearly felt last night. The Patriots could not stop Kenyan Drake who scorched them for 114 yards on the ground and 79 yards through the air. They also had no answer for Jarvis Landry, who scored 2 touchdowns. This loss cannot be fully placed on the defense, as they did their best to stop Miami, but they were constantly let down by the offense who could not stay on the field. Yesterday’s game was definitely a setback, as the Pats hadn’t allowed more than 17 points in over 2 months, but knowing Bill Belichick and his staff, their defensive issues will be resolved soon.
To be honest, this loss couldn’t have come at a better time, as it will allow the Pats to correct their deficiencies in all phases, before they head to Pittsburgh for a matchup that will likely determine the road to Super Bowl LII.