Patriots Run Roughshod Over Dolphins in 38-7 Win

Sony Michel runs for first career TD, 100-yard game, James White picks up 2 TDs & Patriots defense smothers Ryan Tannehill.

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FOXBORO — The Patriots weren’t perfect Sunday but the undefeated Dolphins were awful. And the Patriots took full advantage in a 38-7 rout on a perfect day at Gillette Stadium. In other words, just what the doctor ordered.

The Patriots avoided their first 3-game losing streak since 2002 and Tom Brady improved to 15-1 lifetime against Miami at Gillette Stadium. Rookie Sony Michel recorded his first career touchdown and 100-yard game and powered the Patriots early, while James White had pair of touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing.

And Josh Gordon finally made his debut, catching two passes on two targets for 32 yards. The Patriots held the Dolphins to 97 total yards and just six first downs before the Brock Osweiler replaced Ryan Tannehill with nine minutes to go in the game.

The Patriots picked up 449 yards of offense on the day while holding the Dolphins to just 172. The win was also the 300th of the Robert Kraft ownership, making the Patriots owner the fastest to 300 in NFL history.

The Patriots are now level again at 2-2 and stand just a game back of the 3-1 Dolphins in the AFC East, with the Colts coming to town Thursday night on a short week.

Click here for a full box score.

There was one bit of concerning news as Rob Gronkowski left with an ankle injury and did not return after making a record-setting catch in the third quarter. Gronkowski’s 9-yard catch with just under 10 minutes left gave him 491 for his career, passing Ben Coates for the most by a tight end in Patriots history.

The opening drive featured a commitment to the run game as Josh McDaniels called runs on six of the first seven plays, including back-to-back runs of 13 and 14 yards by Sony Michel. The strategy appeared to be an early attempt to get the Dolphins to bite on the play action.

The biggest cheer from the sun-splashed Gillette crowd came when Brady fired a bullet to Josh Gordon for his first reception in a Patriots uniform. The slant was good for 13 yards down to the Miami 3. But the drive stalled there as passes for Gordon and Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone fell incomplete. The Patriots had to settle for a 20-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal.

Brady was not at his best early on in this one. On the next drive, Brady forced a pass over the middle to Phillip Dorsett and Bobby McCain easily undercut the route and picked off the pass.

With the Patriots defense continuing to get consistent pressure on Ryan Tannehill, the Patriots badly needed a boost from a big play. They got it when two Miami defenders bit on a dig from Patterson. Patterson blew by both and he was wide open down the left sideline. Brady found him all alone and Patterson made a bit of an acrobatic spinning catch, collected his feet and then cut back to the middle of the field for an untouched 55-yard touchdown scamper.

It was the 70th different touchdown target of Brady’s career, tying Vinny Testeverde for most in NFL history.

The Patriots capitalized on yet another Miami self-inflicted wound. In shotgun, a snap hit off Tannehill’s shoulder and the fumble was recovered by Kyle Van Noy at the Miami 22. On the next play, James White ran into the middle of the field and then cut to his left and found a seam at the numbers for a touchdown to make it 17-0.

The Patriots closed out the first half with their best drive of the game. Brady marched the Patriots 85 yards in 15 plays, capped off by a perfect Brady-to-Dorsett somersault in the left side of the end zone for a 9-yard TD, making it 24-0 at the half.

How one-sided was the first half? The Patriots had 16 first downs in the opening half. The Dolphins had four. The Patriots were 6-for-9 on third down while the Dolphins were just 1-for-6. The Patriots had 272 total yards to Miami’s 75, including a 118-14 advantage on the ground.

The second half only featured more of the same. Tom Brady lofted a perfect pass of 14-yards to the left back of the end zone for a 31-0 lead. Rookie JC Jackson picked off Tannehill at the New England 19 to give the Patriots another possession.

The Patriots drove the length of the field and finished it off when Michel went around the left side from 10 yards for his first career TD and a 38-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

Osweiler found Frank Gore in the right flat from six yards out with under three minutes left to end the Patriots’ shutout bid.

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