Up 21-0 on the Dolphins, the New England Patriots appeared to be cruising on their way to a surprising 2-0 start behind the brilliant play of backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Things turned south, however, after a big hit knocked the team’s prized signal caller out of the game. The Dolphins came alive and rallied throughout the second half, gradually chipping into what was a 24-0 Patriots lead. Eventually, the Patriots came out victorious, 31-24, after surviving a late throw into the end zone that would have tied the score.
Showing that last week’s upset win over the Arizona Cardinals was no fluke, the Patriots came out firing on all cylinders attacking the overmatched Dolphins’ defense with precision. The team received the opening kick and quickly moved 75 yards down the field eventually scoring on a 12 yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to wide receiver Danny Amendola. After forcing Miami into a three and out possession, the Patriots struck again on a 20 yard touchdown reception by tight end Martellus Bennett, his first with the team.
The pattern continued with the Patriots defense stifling the Dolphins offense, especially quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Garoppolo to Amendola connection struck again in the red zone, this time in the form of a 10 yard touchdown reception. Amendola’s second touchdown of the day marked his first career multi-touchdown game.
On the next drive, the Patriot’s fortunes turned for the worse. Garoppolo again led the team down the field, but while completing a long third down pass attempt he was hit forcefully by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso. The quarterback landed awkwardly on his right shoulder. After laying on the turf for a few moments, Garoppolo was helped off the field to the locker room while the crowd chanted his name. Third string quarterback Jacoby Brissett took over for the duration of the game.
With the Patriots running a conservative scheme protecting the unprepared Brissett, the Dolphins mounted a second half comeback, but only after promptly falling behind 31-3 after a LeGarrette Blount nine yard touchdown run. Ryan Tannehill tossed touchdown passes to receivers Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron bring the score to 31-17. Running back Kenyan Drake added another score as the Patriots’ offense sputtered narrowing the score to 31-24. After the normally reliable Stephen Gostkowski missed a 39 yard field goal, the Dolphins had one last chance to score. They drove down the field until defensive back Duron Harmon intercepted a Tannehill pass in the end zone ending the game.
Star performers for the Patriots included Garoppolo with his three early touchdown passes, Amendola with two touchdown catches, Bennett who added 114 yard and a touchdown, and Blount on the ground who rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown. Up next for the Patriots, a Thursday night showdown with the 2-0 Houston Texans.