by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
Miami makes New Englanders nervous. Maybe it’s the sunshine or the bright buildings. Maybe it’s the topless sunbathing (sorry, no link). For Foxboro fans, it’s that the Dolphins always give the Patriots a tough time.
Such was the case Sunday, as New England held on for a 27-17 victory.
Several quick thoughts on the battle…
Taking The Physical: When describing the AFC East in his post-game press conference, Bill Belichick used the word “physical” roughly 400 times. Miami pounded out 133 yards rushing and 21 first downs.
Mucho Moss, Por Favor: With his one-handed grab and his 71-yard TD (complete with a straight arm that would make a traffic cop jealous), Randy Moss continued to make his case for the highlight reel. Tom Brady spread 25 completions among five different receivers and could have had a sixth if BenJarvus Green-Ellis had held onto one in the end zone.
Neal On Fourth Down: Okay. It’s fourth and an inch with 1:14 left. A first down wins the game. You’re an offensive lineman. What do you do? Do you have a false start?
No. No, Stephen Neal, you do not. New England had five penalties for 49 yards Sunday, each one dumber than the next. (Also dopey: fouls by Leigh Bodden and Derrick Burgess on the same play to negate Bodden’s third-quarter interception.)
Flipper, Indeed: Apparently, Dolphins receivers have them for hands. On their penultimate possession, Brian Hartline and Ted Ginn missed passes that would have kept Miami going.
On the final play of the game, though, Greg Camarillo’s one-handed snag looked positively Moss-like.
Where The Wild Thing Was: The Dolphins forewent (I know that sounds weird, but it’s a word) the Wildcat and began with a so-so passing offense. Then they forewent the foregoing (oh, God) and traveled 80 yards in five plays for a touchdown in the second quarter. Is Chad Henne’s helmet too tight, or is he wondering about his role?
Heinous Haynos: New England’s Brandon Meriweather whiffed on tight end Joey Haynos, allowing a short gain to become a 21-yard pickup. Not good, considering Haynos has the lateral quickness of a doorstop. Brandon McGowan had 11 total tackles. Cool. Letting Haynos get behind him for a TD? Uncool.
No, Not A Ginn: Miami kick returner Ted Ginn had only one run-back that made Patriots fans cringe (a 37-yarder in the first). Kicking the ball into the end zone for a touchback helped. Stephen Gostkowski did so twice, including once after an offsides penalty set him five yards back (stupid, stupid penalties!).
Thomas The Tank Engine: Linebacker Adalius Thomas carried the load with four total tackles and a “you-can’t-fool-me” sack on a reverse, putting in his best overall effort of the season.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org