Dolphins' unique personnel groupings on offense paved way for victory over Patriots

Tuesday, 12 Dec, 2017

The New England Patriots (10-2) have created a distance in the AFC East Standings with four games ahead over Buffalo and five games over Miami and NY.

After missing on all four of his first-quarter passes, he finished with modest numbers for a player of his stature: 24 completions out of 43 attempts for 233 yards and one touchdown. One reporter learned that the hard way after the Patriots (10-3) had their eight-game winning streak snapped in a 27-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins (6-7) on Monday Night Football. The rushing attack was mostly non-existent though, as New England mustered just 25 yards on the ground. He was explosive and punished the Patriots defensive line.

Asked after the loss if maybe his players were prematurely looking ahead to Sunday's game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Bill Belichick shot that down pretty quickly. "Kind of what coach talked about - it is one game, one loss and we have to be able to learn from it and just move forward". It also directly led to New England's first touchdown, as Brandin Cooks drew a pass interference penalty on the next play and Rex Burkhead plunged into the end zone from 3 yards out on the play after that.

The Monday result was stunning given that the Patriots (10-3) are so good in prime-time moments and the Dolphins have been awful lately in those same scenarios. They went three-and-out on seven different occasions on Monday night, and lost the time of possession battle 36:09 to 23:51. He blew past Roberts, and Cutler hit him for a 47-yard gain. You don't want to be forced into a one-dimensional game and that was really because of our poor play.

The Patriots are dealing with multiple injuries on defense and have tried to use schemes to cover up personnel deficiencies. A blitzing Jordan Richards had Cutler dead to rights on third down, but he was unable to bring the famously immobile QB.

The Dolphins' Jay Cutler threw for 263 yards and three scores, including two to Jarvis Landry.

Not Malcolm Butler's finest moment.

Brady finished with more interceptions than touchdowns for the second straight week, the first time he's done that since the 2006 season. This one put the Dolphins up 20-10 early in the third.

That turnover led to the touchdown pass to Grant and the Dolphins were rolling. Drake, a third-round pick out of Alabama in 2016, gained only 179 rushing yards and 46 receiving yards last season as a rookie. Cooks lone reception came on quarters coverage when Howard released Cooks to the safety. 1991, when Phoenix - that's what the Cardinals were called then - beat the Patriots. That's when New England's last-gasp drive fell apart.