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That's what SB Nation's The Phinsider called it as well.
Two weeks ago, we were all talking about how the Dolphins had a chance to make a statement on national television about the kind of team they are. Well they sure did make a statement - just not the kind they wanted to make. Rather than letting the league and the nation know that they were for real, the Dolphins declared that they just aren't a very good team right now.
Mediocre - that's really the best way to describe them at this point in time.
The Dolphins are the definition of mediocre sitting at 2-2 and third in the AFC East. They've now lost two consecutive divisional games after starting 2-0 on the season.
Check out The Phinsider for more on the Dolphins loss.
Both of Chung’s blocked kicks led to touchdowns for the Patriots, and, for good measure, Chung also had a pick-six on the night. So, 21 of the Patriots’ 35 second half points were thanks in large part to Chung. Not bad point-production from a defensive player.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is giving his team a break during the bye week. After the Patriots dominating 41-14 victory over the Dolphins on Monday Night Football, Belichick told his players they're off until Thursday.
Belichick was awfully excited after the game seen hugging and high-fiving plays.
Patriots fans over at SB Nation's Pats Pulpit are saying, heading into the bye week, this was a significant win for the Patriots.
Big road win, big division win. The Patriots outplayed the Dolphins on offense, defense, and special teams. They outcoached the Dolphins. And for once, they showed the energy that we're used to seeing from the Patriots, but haven't seen in quite some time. That's one hell of a way to head into the bye week, don't you think?
Indeed it is as the Patriots finally get a big win on the road. They had been struggling on the road prior to this game but dominated the second half of this game.
Check out Pats Pulpit for more on the Patriots Monday Night Football win.
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Patrick Chung blocked two kicks in the second half and returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown in the final quarter, powering New England to a 41-14 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Chung had the type of game most defensive backs could only dream of, but the second year player out of Oregon had a factor in 21 of New England’s 35 second-half points.
Shortly after Brandon Tate ran the opening kickoff of the second half 103 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, Chung blocked a punt, which led to a 12-yard TD run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. In the opening minute of the fourth, Chung blocked a field goal attempt and Kyle Arrington rumbled 35 yards with the recovery to the end zone.
Tom Brady connected on 19-of-24 passes for 153 yards and a score for the Patriots (3-1). It was the 100th win for Brady, as the two-time Super Bowl MVP became the 11th NFL QB to reach the milestone and the quickest ever. He did it in 131 starts, surpassing the mark of his boyhood idol Joe Montana, who needed 139 games to reach the century mark in victories.
Chad Henne finished 29-of-39 through the air for 302 yards with two TDs and three interceptions, two of those going to linebacker Rob Ninkovich. Davone Bess caught nine balls for 93 yards and a score for the Dolphins (2-2).
If the NFL only involved plays from scrimmage, things might be going slightly better for the Dolphins on Monday night against the Patriots.
The Dolphins had already surrendered two special teams touchdowns when Miami lined up for a 54-yard field goal to narrow the New England lead to 27-17, but Patrick Chung sprang through the line to block the attempt. It was the second block Chung has made tonight, the first coming on a punt earlier in the second half that led to a BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown run.
This time, there would be no plays from scrimmage. Kyle Arrington scooped it up and dashed to the end zone to keep the party going on what ESPN announcer Mike Tirico exuberantly described as a "special teams fiesta" for the Patriots. Conversely, it could also be termed a special teams siesta for Miami.
The Dolphins are being made to regret not making the most of their foiled opportunities in the first half. On the opening kickoff of the second half, Brandon Tate took it 103 yards to the house to give the Patriots their first lead of the evening and also their first touchdown.
Miami went three and out on the following drive, but the punt was blocked by Patrick Chung and recovered by the Patriots. plays later BenJarvus Green-Ellis took it into the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown run. So, after dominating much of the first half, it took not even three minutes in the second half for Miami to find itself in a huge hole.
Of course, don't count Miami out just yet. The Dolphins responded with a scoring drive of their own, capped by a short pass to Ricky Williams that went for a 28-yard touchdown.
The Patriots are reaching deep into their bag of tricks against the Dolphins. In a game in which Miami might hold a decisive lead if it were not for two Rob Ninkovich interceptions to halt Dolphins drives, the Patriots have to capitalize with the opportunities they get in case Miami stops shooting themselves in the foot.
With less than a minute remaining in the first half inside Miami territory, the Patriots threw a screen to Wes Welker to advance to the 12 yard line. When it appeared as though Tom Brady would spike the ball with fewer than 20 seconds remaining, he made a signal to Randy Moss with his facemask. Brady then faked the spike, a la Dan Marino's famous ploy to beat the Jets in a 1994 game.
Unfortunately, Brady's fake didn't go quite as well as Marino's. While the fake caught Miami off-guard, the throw was slightly behind Moss, who couldn't haul the pass in for a touchdown.
For comparison's sake, here is video of Marino's fake spike:
The Patriots, for one drive at least, were willing to play the Dolphins' brand of offense. After Chad Henne was intercepted by Rob Ninkovich, New England ran 15 plays before settling for a field goal inside the Miami 10.
The Patriots happened to run an uncharacteristic 10 running plays on that drive, including seven rushes in a row. The drive stalled with goal to go when Cameron Wake came off the end to sack Tom Brady on first down, pushing the Patriots back to the 15 needing to get into the end zone.
Davone Bess was the star of the Dolphins' second offensive possession, returning a Patriots punt 13 yards, then catching two passes for 40 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown toss from Chad Henne. Bess caught the touchdown throw near the right sideline at about the 10, shook by safety Patrick Chung and dove into the end zone.
The Patriots youthful defense has struggled so far this season and can nary afford to allow lengthy drives to the Dolphins, who would love nothing more than to eat the clock and rack up points while limiting opportunities for Tom Brady to counteract. Through most of the first quarter, that strategy is proving effective.
What must be taken into account is the play of the Patriots, specifically QB Tom Brady, on the road.
The Patriots have been awful on the road over the past couple seasons, for no real reason. Mike Reiss of ESPN breaks down some numbers that aren't very flattering. The team has been outscored 116-41 in the 2nd half of their past 8 road games. Quarterback Tom Brady has been the worst 4th Quarter quarterback on the road in the NFL since 2009- bar none.
This is a Dolphins team that took the Jets to the wire so the Patriots should understand the quality of opponent they're dealing with.
Check out Pats Pulpit for four more keys to the game.
A win tonight is the difference between optimism and pessimism; between excitement and dejection. Not just for us fans, but for everyone within the Miami Dolphin organization.
A win would mean 3-1 and tied for the second best record in the conference. It would give the Dolphins a healthy 1-1 split between one of their toughest stretches -- Jets and Patriots -- and still part of the AFC East race.
More practically, 3-1 simply looks and feels far better than 2-2 - especially with a trip to Lambeau Field looming when this team returns to action. Under Tony Sparano, though, the Dolphins have played well coming off the bye. Back in 2008, the Dolphins made a big statement by knocking off the favored Chargers. Last year, the Dolphins played an outstanding two and a half quarters before the defense collapsed against New Orleans.
If the Dolphins don't win this game, they're 2-2, behind both the Patriots and Jets in the AFC East so it's a big deal.
Check out The Phinsider as the Dolphins prepare for Monday Night Football.
(Sports Network) - Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be gunning for his 100th career regular season victory on Monday night, and will be doing so in a pivotal AFC East matchup against the rival Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.
If the first three weeks of the year are any indication, the Patriots are going to need plenty of Brady heroics in order to pull off the victory.
New England entered Week 4 ranked a distant 28th in the league in scoring defense, 27th in yards allowed, 25th in passing defense and 20th in rushing defense. Those represent some of the most grisly defensive numbers of the Bill Belichick era in New England, and enhance the suspicion that the season-ending injuries suffered by end Ty Warren and top cornerback Leigh Bodden in the preseason have had a profoundly negative impact on this group.
Luckily, Brady and the Patriots offense continue to run at a high clip, as in last week's 38-30 win over the Bills, when the attack scored 38 points for the second time in three contests and rolled up a season-high 445 yards of total offense.
Brady (21-of-27 passing, 252 yards, 3 TD) bounced back from a weak showing at the Jets in Week 2, not turning the ball over and complementing a running game that racked up 200 ground yards, including 98 and a touchdown on 16 carries from BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Brady is 99-31 in regular season games lifetime heading into Monday's matchup.
Tony Sparano's club racked up 436 yards of offense - its best showing of the year by a wide margin - but still found itself on the business end of a 31-23 loss to the Jets thanks to the regression of a defense that allowed more than 400 yards and didn't have enough of an answer for Mark Sanchez (256 passing yards, 3 TD), who was not sacked or forced into a turnover all night.
A microcosm of the Fins' night was an early third-quarter sequence which saw Dolphins QB Chad Henne (26-of-44 passing, 363 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) lead a 12- play, 73-yard drive covering 6:13 of the clock, culminating in an 11-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall (10 receptions, 166 yards) that ignited the crowd and put Miami ahead, 17-14.
Then it was all gone, in one play, as Dolphins cornerback Jason Allen fell down while in one-on-one coverage against Jets receiver Braylon Edwards, and watched as Edwards sprinted 67 yards for a touchdown that put the visitors on top to stay.
The Dolphins have 40 wins on Monday night all-time, the most in the AFC and second to only the Cowboys (42) in league annals.
The Patriots, meanwhile, are 10-5 on Monday night under Belichick.
Miami holds a 49-37 lead in its all-time regular season series with New England, including a conventional home-and-home split of last year's series. The Dolphins were 27-17 road losers when the teams met in Week 9, but returned the favor with the aforementioned 22-21 triumph in the return match in South Florida in Week 13. The clubs embarked on an unconventional split of the 2008 home-and-home, including a 48-28 win for New England at Sun Life Stadium.
In addition to the regular season series, the teams have met three times in the postseason, with New England holding a 2-1 advantage there. The Patriots' most memorable postseason victory over Miami came in the 1985 AFC Championship, when New England escaped with a 31-14 triumph en route to its first-ever Super Bowl appearance. The clubs also met in AFC First-Round Playoff matchups in 1982 and 1997, with Miami winning the former (28-13) and New England taking the latter (17-3).
Belichick is 11-11 against Miami in his head coaching career, including 11-9 while with New England. Sparano - a native of West Haven, CT - is 2-2 versus both Belichick and the Patriots as a head coach.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL
Brady's fleet of targets in 2010 has included a couple of old standbys, and a couple of new faces. Randy Moss (9 receptions, 3 TD) and Wes Welker (18 receptions, 3 TD) continue to represent New England's most dangerous threats, with the duo having combined for six TD catches already, including two from Moss last week. Meanwhile, rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez (13 receptions) and Rob Gronkowski (5 receptions, 2 TD) have been making plenty of noise as well, and should continue to represent viable middle-of-the-field targets for Brady (758 passing yards, 8 TD, 2 INT). The running back situation remains fluid. Green-Ellis (139 rushing yards, 1 TD) was the Pats' lead back last week, with a toe injury to veteran Fred Taylor (98 rushing yards) helping to influence that circumstance. Taylor is questionable for Monday, and his absence would likely lead to more carries for ex-Dolphin Sammy Morris (21 rushing yards) and/or the recently signed Thomas Clayton. A New England offensive line still missing disgruntled guard Logan Mankins has allowed just two sacks on the year to date. The Patriots lead the league in third-down conversion percentage (58.3).
The disconcerting element of the Dolphins' defensive showing against the Jets, and perhaps the silver lining, is that it came after the team had played extremely well on that end of the ball over the first two weeks. They allowed just nine first downs in Week 1 win at Buffalo, then forced four turnovers to fuel an upset victory over the Vikings in Week 2. Mike Nolan's unit will be trying to get that type of mojo back against Tom Brady and company. That said, Miami is dealing with some absences as it takes the field on Monday. Linebackers Channing Crowder (groin), Ikaika Alama-Francis (illness) and defensive lineman Jared Odrick (leg) are all questionable to return to the lineup, and defensive lineman Tony McDaniel (3 tackles) will miss the game while serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. Cornerbacks Allen (22 tackles, 2 INT) and Vontae Davis (9 tackles, 1 INT) will have primary responsibility for defending Moss and Welker, with safeties Yeremiah Bell (29 tackles) and Chris Clemons (14 tackles) lending support over the top. Cameron Wake (8 tackles, 2 sacks) and Koa Misi (8 tackles, 1 sack) fuel a pass rush that was quiet last week. Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby (25 tackles, 1 sack) has been among the Fins' most consistent pass rushers.
WHEN THE DOLPHINS HAVE THE BALL
Henne (659 passing yards, 3 TD, 1 INT) brings a credible 88.5 passer rating into Monday's game, and will be attempting to build on his prolific passing performance against the Jets. Marshall (22 receptions, 1 TD) has looked more comfortable within the offense with each passing week, and wideouts Davone Bess (13 receptions) and Brian Hartline (8 receptions, 1 TD) have made their contributions as well. Bess and Hartline both posted 80-plus yards against the Jets, and tight end Anthony Fasano (5 receptions, 1 TD) hauled in a touchdown pass from Henne. The running game was a disappointing 15th in the league as Week 4 began, with neither Ronnie Brown (199 rushing yards, 1 TD) nor Ricky Williams (120 rushing yards) doing much damage against the Jets last week. Henne has been sacked seven times through three games, something both the quarterback and his offensive line are gong to have to tighten up.
The New England defense, which apart from nose tackle Vince Wilfork and safety James Sanders bears no resemblance to the group that quietly ranked in the Top 10 in most NFL categories back in 2007, needs to begin jelling. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did throw a couple of picks - with safeties Pat Chung (29 tackles, 1 INT) and Brandon Meriweather (13 tackles, 1 INT) coming down with INTs - but he was also an efficient 20-of-28 passing for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and was sacked just once despite the presence of a below-average offensive line. Youngsters Devin McCourty (12 tackles) and Kyle Arrington (4 tackles) at corner will have their hands full on Monday, as will veteran newcomers Jarrad Page (1 tackle) at safety and defensive lineman Gerard Warren (4 tackles, 2 sacks). The pass rush, led by outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (13 tackles, 1.5 sacks), will try to get to Henne. Inside linebacker Jerod Mayo (26 tackles, 1 sack) remains among the Pats' most credible run- stoppers. New England has allowed a league-worst 4-of-4 fourth-down conversions on the year.
It's the same as it ever was with the New England offense - Brady, Moss and Welker are locks to start. Tight ends Hernandez and Gronkowski are interesting too, but are rookies and don't figure to be consistent. Green-Ellis could work well as a flex play, and Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski will also contribute something.
Henne might not seem like a front-line fantasy option, but his performance last week and the weakness of the Patriots defense make him a good bye-week replacement, at the very least. Marshall is a must-start at wideout, and Brown is a decent play in the Miami backfield. Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter is a strong play, but steer clear of the Dolphin defense.
Both the Dolphins and Patriots have displayed plenty of flaws on defense, and these teams tend to find ways to score against one another anyway, so expect the scoreboard operator to be somewhat busy here. The game will probably come down to who can make the most stops, and a three-game sample tells us that team will probably be Miami. The Dolphins are just two weeks removed from shutting down Brett Favre and a dynamic Vikings offense, while the Pats have yet to stop anyone consistently. That, coupled with the fact that Miami is desperate not to lose back-to-back division games at home, gives a slight edge to the Dolphins.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Dolphins 27, Patriots 24
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