They finished with a win, 9–8 record.
But it would be asking: How big would this game be if they played like this in Tennessee last Sunday,
it was a no result game, The Dolphins season still ended after beating New England 33–24. The Patriots still reached the playoffs with their 10-7 record.
Here are 10 thoughts on the game:
1. Game Conditions: The Dolphins had a season-high of 195 yards running on 43 carries. He averaged 85.8 rushing yards as he entered Sunday, placing him 31st in the league. Duke Johnson (see number 6) ran 24 times for 117 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins switched the offensive line with undeclared rookie Robert Jones starting in place of Jesse Davis on the right tackle. The Patriots didn’t have a great fast defense, dropping the game for 119.3 yards on the ground entering Sunday and finishing 21st. Still, that total race?
2. In Sunday’s only game As a result for the Dolphins, San Francisco rallied down 17–0 to defeat the Los Angeles Rams. This was unfortunate, considering the Dolphins were the likes of San Francisco and it going into the playoffs. So depending on how the playoffs play out, the 49ers’ first round pick will be no less than 19th. The Philadelphia-owned Dolphins are a first-round pick in 15th place. All of these changed picks were from the Dolphins, which were traded down from No. 3 to No. 12 last spring, before being traded to No. 6 to Jaylen Waddle. Who are you talking about…
3. Jaylen Waddle breaks Ankan Boldin’s record 101 to the Cheater Reception With his third catch on the first drive, His fourth catch was for AA TD. Bill Belichick then looked after him, changing coverage so Waddell had one catch for the rest of the day, ending with five catches for 27 yards. The NFL has never been big at defining numbers in the way baseball does, so the move to a 16- to 17-game season isn’t some asterisk-maker on the numbers to me. Waddle had, by all accounts, a great rookie year. Now for the advanced conversation: is he the No. 1 receiver? And, yes, it matters when you pick him No. 6 in the draft. Boldin was a great slot receiver, but Larry Fitzgerald was the No. 1 receiver. Waddles can be a great slot receiver – a crucial position. But the classic No. 1 receiver is the one who opens the offenses. Ja’Marr Chase is a rookie with a quarterback two-match in Cincinnati. We’ll have to see how Weddle’s career holds up in the years to come.
4. Status of Game II: Tua had 54 yards on the opening touchdown drive, including 7 for 7 passes. For the rest of the game, he completed 15 of 8 passes for 55 yards. The good news was that the Patriots dropped the two interceptions they threw. Bad news: Waddell dropped an 85-yard touchdown on a quick slant. Tua, however, ran for two crucial first downs, with less than two minutes to play on third and -8.
5. Patriots quarterback Mack Jones’ first pass Sunday turned into a pick-6 for Xavian Howard. This gave the Dolphins a 14-0 lead in the middle of the first quarter. It also added to why Howard was my choice for team MVP. Waddle won. Again, they had a great season. But Howard continues to take top receivers face to face, allowing the rest of the defense to do offensive things. Sure, he beat something. Every cornerback does. But he won the first Patriots game by overtaking Damien Harris at the 9-yard line and falling to the ground when he could kick a field goal for the win. He also had five interceptions and another extortion and recovery (a big play in the Baltimore win).
6. Easy Decisions This Season: While working on a long-term deal, pick up defensive tackle Christian Wilkins’ fifth-year contract option. This year he was praised. It was not enough. He had seven tackles, a sack and a tipped pass on Sunday. But here’s the question: When was the last time a defensive tackle nearly took the team to a tackle? He finished second with 89 tackles. It is worth mentioning that. Come on, a defensive tackle? Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald was fourth at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday with 77 tackles. Wilkins has stepped up every year, and he has taken an advanced step this season to become a force in the line. Give the man some money.
7. The Good Story of Duke Johnson Both answer how much a difference a running back can make and why teams don’t invest more in them. He ran 24 times for 117 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, which included a long run of 27 yards. This has given him two games of over 100 in the last four – meaning, since he debuted for Miami. He had 70 carries for 330 yards. That’s a 4.7-yard average. Starter Miles Gaskins averaged 3.6-yards for most of the season. Does anyone think interception was that much better for Johnson? That’s the difference a good back can make. It also reveals how poor personnel decisions have been over the years. In the end, it explains why teams don’t invest more in backing back. Among the top five in the league this year, only Pittsburgh’s Nazi Harris was in the first round. Last week, Tennessee’s D’Onta Foreman ran 132 yards against the Dolphins after being signed in November. Johnson, a third-round pick by Cleveland in 2015, was cut by Houston this year. He was placed in the Dolphins practice squad in November. Now he is doing his best.
8. Tua vs. Mac Jones. This is one of the interesting stories of this season. It’s not certain yet who that will be. Tua completed his second year on Sunday. Jones made the big mistake of the game with a pick-6 by Howard and completed 30 of 20 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown. Here was the comparison to enter Sunday:
* Tua played 12 games, throwing for 2,544 yards with a 7.0-yard average, 67.8 completion percentages and 15 touchdowns against 10 interceptions;
* Jones played 16 games, threw for 3,540 yards with a 7.2-yard average, 67.6 completion percentage, and 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
9. Quick Hits on a Weird Last Sunday Of regular-season games:
* Mike Gesicki entered Sunday requiring three catches and 34 yards to set the team record for tight ends in a season. He took two catches from 22 yards. Their upside-down use is one of this year’s secrets;
* The big result of Sunday’s game for New England was a defensive tackle Christian Barmore had to help off the field at the end with a leg injury. They go to the playoffs without their fair share of defenses;
* Indianapolis blew its playoff berth in a game with a loss to lowly Jacksonville, stating that the Colts are no threat to anyone with Carson Wentz at quarterback;
* Buffalo won AFC East with a win over the Jets. But do they look reliable in the playoffs?
10. My Column Sunday Feather Patriots schooling dolphins on reconstruction Brought some surprising responses. One trend was the Patriots didn’t rebuild, as they had eight players out of COVID last season and were relegated this year.
Let’s tell what happened. Of those opt-out players, only two are back with the Patriots: linebacker Donta Hightower, a star, and Brandon Boldin, a third-string running back and special-team player. The Patriots have two starters who were in the squad in 2019 – center David Andrews and guard Shaq Mason (I’m not counting Ted Karras, a center on 2019 when Andrews was injured. He played for the Dolphins in 2020 and are back with the Patriots as a guard this year).
Also: There were some starting backups like Damien Harris (out on Sunday) and running back receiver Jacobi Meyers. On defense, the Patriots have two starts from 2019: Hightower and security Devin McCourty. If you want, you can add linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who was the Dolphins in 2020 and is now listed as backup for the Patriots.
Bottom line: The Patriots made extensive rebuilds as the Dolphins, but didn’t trade talent for draft picks. When you look at it they really didn’t have a lot of talent to do business with. Still, they were out of the playoffs a year and were in two Super Bowls (winning two) since the last time the Dolphins made the playoffs was in 2016.