Dolphins at Patriots
Well, how about those new-look Dolphins? Since starting the season 1-3, and after replacing Head Coach Joe Philbin with Tight Ends Coach Dan Campbell, they’ve ripped off two straight wins. In those victories, they’ve scored 82 points, and their moribund pass rush has exploded for 10 sacks. Could the Pats, with all the injuries on their offensive line, be in trouble tonight?
I watched the entire Jets/Patriots game last Sunday. In that contest, the Pats, with their patchwork offensive line and without their most productive RB (Dion Lewis), faced one of the best defensive fronts in the league, and a secondary that includes Darrelle Revis. No doubt the game had more than a few Pats fans nervous, including at least one high-profile one. However, the Pats had Tom Brady, and despite a spate of drops by his receivers, Brady adroitly handled the Jets’ defence. I’m confident that New England will be able to take care of business against a Miami defence that has less depth than the Jets’ once you get past its defensive front. But what of the Dolphins’ sudden scoring potency? Early on in the Jets/Pats game as I watched the scoring updates come across the bottom of the screen, I noticed the rapid changes in the Texans/Dolphins game as Miami scored early and often. The network also broke in a few times with scoring highlights; what I saw was Miami QB Ryan Tannehill throwing short little dump-off-type passes to receivers who then ran through the discombobulated Texans defence untouched. As the third or fourth such highlight was shown, announcer James Brown stated excitedly, “Ryan Tannehill is on fire…” as he threw another such TD pass, and I couldn’t help thinking, “Tannehill’s on fire? He’s not doing much of anything. It’s his receivers who literally look like they’re on fire, because the Houston players look afraid to touch them.” At one point, Tannehill was 9 for 9 passing with 4 TDs. Four touchdowns on nine completions! That’s insane. Even more insane would be to expect a New England Patriots defence to play as poorly as the Texans’ defence did. New England doesn’t give up big plays, and if something isn’t working in a game, it gets fixed, pronto. So, don’t expect the Dolphins to come into Foxborough and ambush the Patriots. No doubt, Miami is playing with more emotion since the coaching change, but I’d still wager that the business-as-usual Patriots take them apart. Winner: Patriots