Pats @ Dolphins First Half Thoughts
A Hot Start- The Patriot offense wasted no time, as they got off to a blazing hot start in their first possession of the game. After losing the toss, New England was forced to receive the opening kick, but got the ball and cruised down the field on a 13 play, 75 yard drive that spanned the first 7:32 of the game. On the drive, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a perfect 6-6 passing for 41 yards, as he completed passes to five different receivers. He also added a nice third down scramble of six yards to continue the drive. Brady capped the time consuming drive with a 2-yard, touchdown connection with tight end Martellus Bennett.
On Another Level- Brady was playing on another level through the first two quarters, as he carved up the Miami defense. Through the team's first five drives, Brady completed 19 of 24 passes for 161 yards and two scores. Completing passes to seven different receivers so far, Brady's 122.4 passer rating is 45.7 points higher than his counterpart Matt Moore's. Brady also passed former Dolphin Dan Marino for fourth place on the all-time passing yards list in the first half.
Running Through Them- The Patriots rushing attack ran through the Dolphins like water through a sieve in the first half. On 19 carries, New England's running backs rushed for 100 yards, which averages out to 5.3 yards per carry. The bulk of the ground work was done by power back LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for 45 yards on eight carries, and Dion Lewis, who carried the ball nine times for 43 yards.
Five Drives, Four Scores- The Patriots had five offensive drives in the first half and scored on four of them. On the team's first two drives, Brady connected with Martellus Bennett and Michael Floyd for touchdowns. The next two drives were finished off by successful field goal attempts for Stephen Gostkowski. The Pats' only non-scoring drive of the half actually came on their final drive as they were up against the clock. They were able to get the ball into Miami territory and gave Gostkowski a chance to connect on his third kick if the day but the kicker pushed a 52-yarder wide right on the slick playing surface at Hard Rock Stadium.
Making The Most Of His Chance- So far, recently signed wide out Michael Floyd is making the most of his opportunity to help the Patriots down the stretch. With rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell out with a knee injury, Floyd has seen a boost in his snap count in his second game as a Patriot. The veteran wide out has made the most of the playing time, catching both balls thrown his way for 23 yards and a score. One of Floyd's two catches was quite impressing, as he caught a strike from Brady in the red zone and pushed through four Miami defenders to power into the end zone for his first Patriot score.
A Great Start With A Tough Finish- You can't start a game much better than the Patriot defense did, as they held the Dolphins to just one first quarter first down and only 30 yards of total offense through most of the first half. While they dominated the majority of the half, however, the defense was abused on Miami's final drive of the half. On 10 plays, the Dolphins moved the ball 75 yards, doing really whatever they wanted. They capped the drive with a score to cut the Pats lead to 20-7.
Need A Stop- It is important that the New England start the second half the same way they started the game and get a stop of Miami's opening drive of the third quarter. After scoring at the end of the second, the Dolphins now have a chance to double up on the Pats, which rarely happens but could swing the momentum if it does.
The Pats defense did not give up a first down to the Dolphins through the first quarter of play.
Brady 6-6 41 yds