ReFo: Patriots @ Dophins, Week 1
It was a tale of two halves for the Patriots and Dolphins, as New England took a 10-point lead into the half, only to be outscored 23-0 the rest of the way. It’s only one game, but the Patriots have some areas of concern, notably the offensive line, which allowed pressure on 40% of Tom Brady’s dropbacks. As for Brady, he wasn’t his usual sharp self, completing just 51.8% of his passes, and accurate on only 56.6% of his throws – both league-worst marks through 14-of-16 week one games.
The brightside for the Patriots is they won’t have to face a defensive front as strong as Miami’s every week. Ryan Tannehill and the offense weren’t bad either, led by the two-headed ground attack of Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno. Though the team will want to convert a few more of FGs into touchdowns in coming weeks.
New England – Performances of Note
Rob Gronkowski, TE, +1.8
Breakdown: Starting with the good for the Patriots, Gronkowski was eased back into action after sitting out the preseason with 38 snaps. Gronk looked his usual self though, catching four passes for 40 yards, one for a TD, and also drawing a defensive holding call.
Signature Stat: Gronkowski was targeted on 44% of his routes.
Jordan Devey, RG, -3.7
Breakdown: Devey struggled early and often against the Miami defensive line, allowing five QB hurries in pass protection, also beaten on two other occasions. He did some decent work in the run game, but with New England passing the ball three times as often as they ran, Devey was in over his head for most of the game.
Signature Play: With 47 seconds left in the third quarter, Devey allowed Jared Odrick into the backfield basically untouched.
Chandler Jones, DE, -4.8
Breakdown: This was a disappointing opener following a stellar game to close the preseason for Jones. Both of his QB hits were negated by roughing the passer calls (though neither hit was particularly bad), while Branden Albert won the matchup between the two in the run game.
Signature Play: Representative of his overall play on the day, Jones just missed a tackle on Knowshon Moreno, who went on for a 13-yard gain at 12:49 of the third.
Miami – Performances of Note
Cameron Wake, +6.7
Breakdown: Wake wreaked havoc on the right side of the Patriot offensive line with two hurries, two hits, and a pair of sack-forced fumbles, all of them coming on outside rushes.
Signature Play: Michael Hoomanawanui never had a chance, as Wake timed the snap and exploded into the backfield for his first sack-fumble at 9:14 of the third quarter. His second sack-fumble on fourth-and-10 at 3:30 of the fourth effectively sealed the win for Miami.
Earl Mitchell, DT, +4.4
Breakdown: Wake wasn’t the only Dolphin defensive lineman with a big game. Mitchell added four QB pressures rushing the passer of his own to go along with three stops in run defense.
Signature Play: Nice pursuit down the line at 2:38 of the third quarter by Mitchell to bring down the Patriot runner for a two-yard loss.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, +2.3
Breakdown: Following a second-quarter fumble by Lamar Miller, the Dolphins turned to Moreno to carry the load on the ground. He didn’t disappoint, rushing for 134 yards on 24 attempts, 72 of those coming after first contact. He did allow a hit in pass protection (negated by penalty), but his work on the ground more than made up for it.
Signature Play: On paper a four-yard TD isn’t necessarily impressive, but on his lone score, Moreno made a great cut to force two missed tackles in the backfield before powering through another defender to get into the end zone.
PFF Game Ball
‘Unblockable’ seems an appropriate adjective for Cameron Wake, whose two big second half plays sparked the Dolphins to victory.
Follow John on Twitter: @John_Maney