INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: New England Patriots Defeat Miami Dolphins 35-17

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New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis (33) gains yardage against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

In their first and only home game in the month of November, the Patriots faced off against the Miami Dolphins for the first time this season.

 

The New England Patriots (9-2) faced the Miami Dolphins (4-7) for the first time this season. While there were moments where the Patriots looked sloppy, all in all they cruised for the whole game. After cruising out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, New England never really looked back. Despite a fairly comfortable win, there is still work to do over the season’s final month.

 

  1. David Andrews/Ted Karras – For the second straight week, Karras had to fill in for Andrews at center. This week showed signs of unfamiliarity between Tom Brady and Karras. The two players didn’t seem have their timing down on snaps at some points. This is a situation that bears watching as the quarterback – center relationship is one of the more underrated dynamics in the game. If Andrews is going to miss more time, Brady and Karras need to get their timing down.
  2. Injuries – During the game, Nate Ebner, LaAdrian Waddle, Trey Flowers, and Kyle Van Noy all had to leave the game. Waddle was already filling in for the injured Marcus Cannon at right tackle. In his time, Waddle has filled in admirably. With both Flowers and Van Noy down, the Patriots defense will be missing significant pieces. If Flowers and/or Van Noy have to miss any time, then an already weak New England pass rush will suffer even more.
  3. Dion Lewis – With Mike Gillislee missing another game, the continued strong play of Lewis was a welcome sign. His shiftiness allowed him to just run away from Dolphins defenders at times. However, due to his size, the usage of Lewis should be monitored going forward to ensure that he will be healthy for the playoffs.
  4. Cornerback Play – With Eric Rowe still nursing a torn groin, the continued strong play of Johnson Bademosi and Jonathan Jones is a positive sign. Stephon Gilmore also played a strong game of his own. With the three of them continuing their strong play, it will allow the Patriots to take their time to make sure that Rowe is fully healthy for the playoffs.
  5. Defense – After having a poor showing in the first month or so of the season, the defense has rebounded very nicely during New England’s seven game winning streak. In that span, Matt Patricia’s unit has allowed 17 points or less in all seven games. In their first four games of the season, the Patriots allowed 30 or more points in every game. The defensive turnaround has been a big part of the seven game winning streak.
  6. Brandin Cooks – With a depleted receiving corp, the chemistry between Cooks and Brady has become even more important. Sunday’s game showed that the two have continued getting on the same page with each other. Cooks had six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Those six catches came on seven targets. His ability to get on the same page as Brady has allowed New England to get their receivers healthy instead of rushing them back on the field.

Extra Point

Since this was the first game of the season between the divisional foes, there is one game remaining between the two. Surprisingly, that game comes in two weeks. Due to that, it was important to make sure that there was no bad blood between the two teams with such a quick turnaround. That quick turnaround will also make things interesting game planning wise. Today’s game will still be relatively fresh on the minds of both teams so it will be interesting to see how each team strategizes for the second meeting.