A disappointing start to the season as the Patriots travel to division rival Miami and lose their week 1 matchup 20-7. Their lone score came from one of their preseason standouts Ty Montgomery on a5 yard flat that literally saw Montgomery barrel roll into the endzone after he lost his balance making an athletic catch. Besides that one drive that came at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, there was very little to be happy about on the offensive side of the ball.
Mac Jones had a moderate game with 213 yards and a touchdown on 21 of 30 completions. Unfortunately he also had two turnovers which would lead to 10 point for the Dolphins. His one fumble of the game came after being sacked from a free, blindside blitzing Byron Jones, which was immediately scooped up and ran in for a touchdown as the Dolphins increased their lead to 10-0.
The first half mercilessly came to an end after another Dolphins touchdown that saw them drive 92 yards on 10 plays leaving only 10 seconds on the clock. This was the one drive that seemed to exposed the Patriots defense, who had a very good day as a unit for the most part. Linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley and Matthew Judon both picked up a sack and were the best players for the Pats on either side of the ball. The Dolphins offense was completely retooled and improved this offseason and is expected to have a great year, and the Patriots held them to 242 passing yards while getting 3 sacks and multiple pressures. As the Patriots continue on this year watch for the defense to continue this form and once they start causing turnovers it will be off to the races.
As for a deeper dive into the offense, there were mistakes that unfortunately were predicted through the preseason. Within the offense there is several smaller units based on position, and of these smaller units the receivers and offensive line were those that fell short. The offensive line has been dealing with several issues ever since coaching changes left the unit without a direction and leader Shaq Mason left for Tampa Bay this offseason. They allowed 4 TFL's, 3 QB hits and 2 sacks, while the Patriots would only rush for 3.5 yards per carry on 22 attempts. The receivers on the other hand only combined for 9 receptions for 138 yards and 0 touchdowns. Once-though-of #1 receiver Kendrick Bourne was sidelined for most of the game besides a 41-yard catch on a go route deep in the 4th quarter. Only two plays later however, fellow receiver Nelson Agholar would cough up the fumble ending what would be the final drive by the Patriots on the afternoon.
The offense was messy and made too many mistakes to beat a division rival on the road. Is the season lost for them? Absolutely not. This team is still talented they just need to play with more urgency and focus, and in a 17-game season they will surely find their groove and most likely sooner than later, especially with their defense starting so strong.
Next week the Patriots are on the road again as they travel to Pittsburgh in another tough and gritty game. Pittsburgh's offense is not as talented as the Dolphins but their coaching and discipline is one of the best in the league, right up there with New England's own.
To hear more about next game, tune into fansonlysportz.com on Thursday for Patriots Preview.
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