Pats Sink ‘Phins, Capture AFC East Title
The New England Patriots claimed their sixth consecutive AFC East title with a convincing drumming of the Miami Dolphins that started out as anything but, yesterday at Gillette. When all was said and done the Pats walked all over the 'Phins, beating them 41-13. While the score shows that New England had its way with Miami, that wasn't the case in the first half.
With the exception of a blocked field goal by Jamie Collins and subsequent return for a touchdown by Kyle Arrington, Miami controlled the tempo in the first half. A late 32-yard strike from Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace left Pats' fans with a bit of shock in their bones as the Dolphins pulled to within one, heading into halftime.
The second half was all Patriots, however, as they put up 27 unanswered points to fully sink the 'Phins. Part of the domination can be attributed to the fact that Tom Brady looked early and often for top target Rob Gronkowski, who had been held without a reception in the first half.
The big tight end ended up with three receptions for 96 yards and a 27-yard score. Pats fans were also treated to the reemergence of running back Jonas Gray as the cast off was given a his first substantial action since oversleeping and missing practice a few weeks ago. The back scampered for 62 yards on 11 carries and helped balance the Pats' effective passing attack.
While Grey was effective on the ground in the second half, the key rush of the game, and potentially the key play of the game, came when Brady shocked probably even himself and charged down the field for 17 yards on third down, during the first drive after the half. Brady took off, after the coverage left him with no one to connect with as New England was on the verge of stalling.
New England's defense was again a strong point as they shut Miami out in the second half and forced two turnovers which led to great field position and scores for the offense.