Patriots Melt Down In The Third Quarter
It got worse for the Patriots in the third quarter.
The Patriots closed the gap to 17-10 in their first drive in the second half, thanks to a Nick Folk 43-yard field goal at 8:27 of the third quarter. The defense responded by letting the Dolphins run all over them and Miami extend its lead to 24-10.
On the first snap of Miamis ensuing series, Duke Johnson took off for a gain of 27. That put the Dolphins near midfield. Officiating came into play in this drive as well. On third-and-7, Jalen Mills was flagged for defensive pass interference in the end zone. The cornerback protested, but Miami had the ball at the 1-yard line. Johnson ran in for a touchdown on the next play at 4:31 of the third quarter.
Bill Belichick was so mad after the score, he was seen following and yelling at field judge John Jenkins down the sideline.
On offense, the Patriots continued to blow golden opportunities and on the ensuing series, it got worse. Following a 19-yard run by Bolden , the offense was at the 22-yard line. On the next play, Jones fumbled the snap and Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips recovered at 2:29 of the third quarter.
Ted Karras was in for center David Andrews on that play.
“Just get the ball from the center. It doesnt matter who the center is. It wasnt Teds fault. It was my fault, Jones said. Ive gotta get the ball and hand it off to the running back. Its not like it was some giant play the required a bunch of things.
Patriots Offense Couldnt Take Advantage Of First
The Patriots stopped the bleeding with a touchdown drive in the middle of the second quarter. Jones connected with tight end Hunter Henry on a 35-yard pass to set it up and Bolden did the rest. On third-and-1, Bolden took a handoff, made multiple defenders miss, cut to the right and ran 15 yards for a touchdown.
The Pats trailed 17-7 at 7:36 of the second quarter. The Pats started their fourth series with solid field position. On the first play, Jones hit Damien Harris for 13 yards and the Pats were 45 yards away from the end zone but that was as close as they got. The quarterbacks next three passes were incomplete. Before the final third-down play, the Pats called a timeout with Jones looking visibly upset. Out of the timeout, at 4:34 of the second, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor ran into each other and Jones third-down pass went nowhere and the Pats punted despite the solid field position.
On the next drive, the Pats made it to midfield. The offense lined up on fourth-and-1, but it turned out the Pats were just trying to draw Miami offside and when it didnt happen, Jones was called for the false start. Instead of being aggressive, with 1:08 left in the half, the Patriots punted.
Patriots Week 18 Predictions Vs Miami Dolphins
4. New England does not rest anyone
The Patriots have already locked up the playoff berth. The division title is not out of the question, but the Buffalo Bills play the New York Jets at the same time Sunday. If the Bills beat the Jets, Buffalo wins the AFC East. That led many to wonder if the Patriots might rest some starters, whether that is for the entire game or during the 2nd half.
For more insight on the Patriots Week 18 matchup against the Dolphins, listen below:
Thats not the Bill Belichick way. His philosophy has always been to play to win. If injuries happen, so be it. During the 2009-2010 season, during Week 17, that philosophy caught up with Belichick. The Patriots had the division locked up, but put everyone on the field against the Houston Texans. Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker once tore his ACL and MCL, missing the rest of the year.
That has not deterred Belichick. He has stuck to this philosophy. Given his track record of playoff success, its hard to argue with.
3. Rhamondre Stevenson goes over 100 yards, 1+ touchdowns
Patriots running back Damien Harris is still dealing with a hamstring injury. He played last week, scoring twice vs the Jacksonville Jaguars, but only rushed nine times in the win.
Meanwhile, rookie tailback Rhamondre Stevenson has been blowing up lately. He rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars.
2. The Patriots defense shuts down Tua Tagovailoa
2. New England wins late-season game in humid Miami
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Undrafted Signing Gets First Start In Shorthanded Secondary
The Patriots traveled to Miami Gardens without starting sophomore defensive backs Myles Bryant and Kyle Dugger, who both intercepted passes the weekend prior. The former remained on the Covid-19 reserve list while the latter had been ruled out due to a hand injury.
In their absence, New Englands secondary called upon elevations from the practice squad in DAngelo Ross and Sean Davis.
Ross, a 2019 undrafted free agent, would make his first career start. The transfer from Fullerton College to New Mexico had played 14 defensive snaps before joining the incumbents in Sundays secondary. He worked between the slot and safety while Davis, a veteran of 42 NFL starts with the Pittsburgh Steelers, exited with a shoulder injury early on.
Loser: Lb Matthew Judon
The Patriots edge rusher has not picked up a sack since the Patriots win in Buffalo over a month ago. Of course, sacks are not the only thing that matter, but Judon has had a tough time making the same impact he did in the early part of the season.
The 29-year-old has been a victim of a few non-holding calls all year but his lack of pressure off the edge has allowed for some of these mobile quarterbacks such as the Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa to give New England problems over the last month. The one time Judon was getting near the Dolphins QB on Sunday, he was flagged for roughing the passer.
If the Patriots want to make a deep postseason run, they will need No. 9 returning to the same levels of play he showed earlier in the season.
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New England Injury Report
On the other side, the Patriots ruled out safety Kyle Dugger, who didn’t practice all week because of a hand injury.
New England also listed nine players as questionable and removed wide receiver Nelson Agholor from the injury report after he was limited Wednesday and Thursday because of a concussion.
The nine players listed as questionable include starting center David Andrews , rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore , kicker Nick Folk , running back Damien Harris , linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Adrian Phillips .
The others were DB Cody Davis , WR Jakobi Meyers and T Isaiah Wynn .
All the players were listed as questionable were limited in practice Friday.
Because New England is playing only for playoff seeding Sunday and they’ll be locked into a first-round road game if Buffalo defeats the Jets in a late game Sunday afternoon it’s hard to tell how cautious the Patriots are going to choose to be with their injured players.
Patriots Were Plagued By Slow Start
In Hard Rock Stadium, a place where they historically struggle, the Patriots got off to a brutal start as they fell behind, 14-0, less than nine minutes into the game.
First, the Dolphins took the opening kickoff and marched 77 yards for a touchdown. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed all seven of his passes for 54 yards. That included a 7-yard touchdown to Jaylen Waddle at 7:34 of the first quarter.
When the Pats got the ball back, things got worse. Facing a third-and-1, Mac Jones dropped back and threw a pass intended for Jakobi Meyers. Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard intercepted the ball and ran it 37 yards into the end zone to put Miami up 14-0. It was Jones first passing attempt of the day and just the third offensive snap for the Patriots.
I knew what coverage they were playing. I just didnt see the outside guy, Jones said. I threw it too wide and it was my fault. But its just Cover 2. Theres nothing to it. Its simple.
When it looked like the Patriots defense had its first stop, the officials stepped in. With 53 seconds left in the first quarter, the Dolphins ran a fake punt on fourth-and-3 with punter Michael Palardy rushing. Brandon Bolden made the stop for a gain of one yard. But he was flagged for unnecessary roughness, giving the Dolphins 15 yards and a first down. The replay showed that Bolden grazed Palardys shoulders with his hand and not his head, making it a missed call.
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Poor Starts Are A Huge Issue
The Patriots were outscored 38-7 in the first quarter over their last four games. They trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter in two of those matchups — Week 15 vs. Colts and Week 18 vs. Dolphins.
The only game during that span in which New England had a lead after the first quarter was in Week 17 versus the Jaguars. The Patriots led 7-3 en route to a 50-10 victory. Aside from the Jaguars game, the early deficit was too much for the Patriots to overcome each time.
The Pats fell behind by two scores just nine minutes into Sunday’s game when Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard intercepted Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and ran it back for a touchdown.
OH MY, ! â
Bad starts are a huge concern for the Patriots entering the playoffs, whether they play the Bills or Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card Round. Each team has a star quarterback and an elite wide receiver as part of an explosive offense.
New England, as a run-first team with a rookie quarterback, is not built to overcome large deficits and beat quality opponents. If the Patriots have another lackluster start next weekend, their season will come to a disappointing end.
Playoff Berths Under Kraft
New England has qualified for the playoffs 28 times in the team’s 62-year history. The Patriots have earned 22 of those playoff berths, including an NFL-best 19 division championships, in the 28 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England has won 22 division crowns overall and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions . The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players’ strike.
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Why The Dolphins Won
The Dolphins had an impressive opening drive where Tua Tagovailoa and the offense marched 77 yards down the field to quickly take the lead. The quarterback completed all seven of his passes on the drive for 54 yards, which included a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle in the left corner of the end zone where the rookie receiver was able to sneak behind the New England secondary. That opening touchdown drive and the pick-six by Xavien Howard allowed Miami to play with a lead throughout the day and their success running the football kept the ball out of the Patriots hands to further prevent a possible comeback. While that final fumble recovery as time expired was inconsequential to the outcome, the Dolphins did score 16 points off turnovers . That’s enough to put you in the driver’s seat in any game.
Week 1 Of 2020 Stands As Folks Last Missed Field Goal Inside 50
At the 8:31 mark in the third quarter, Patriots kicker Nick Folk headed on to attempt a field goal from 43 yards away. It split the uprights.
He has not missed a field goal from under 50 yards since Week 1 of 2020.
That miss came from 45 yards out against the Dolphins. From all distances, the Alliance of American Football alum has gone 62-of-67 on field goals over the past two seasons and stands with a career-high 36 this season.
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Johnson Eclipses Century Mark For Miamis Ground Game
Pass interference on Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills sent the Dolphins to the doorstep of the end zone in the third. Duke Johnson punched it in untouched from there to make it a 24-10 score that would ultimately become 33-24.
The Miami Hurricanes standout, signed to the practice squad in October, continued his resurgence with 117 rushing yards on 25 carries. Among them were breakaways of 10, 11 and 27 yards against a New England defense losing containment off the edge.
Running back Phillip Lindsay also spelled in for 40 yards on 11 handoffs before his quarterback scrambled for a third-and-8 conversion. Laterals followed with three seconds remaining. To the end zone Miami returned on a turnover as time expired.
Dolphins Stats And Trends
- Against the spread, Miami is 9-7-0 this year.
- The Dolphins have been underdogs by 6.5 points or more three times this season and covered the spread once.
- Miami’s games this year have eclipsed the over/under in 37.5% of its opportunities .
- The Dolphins rack up just 2.4 more points per game than the Patriots surrender .
- Miami is 9-4 against the spread and 8-5 overall when the team scores more than 16.9 points.
- The Dolphins collect just 4.0 fewer yards per game than the Patriots allow .
- Miami is 5-2 against the spread and 4-3 overall when the team amasses over 311.6 yards.
- The Dolphins have 26 giveaways this season, while the Patriots have 30 takeaways.
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Patriots At Dolphins Odds Spread And Lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 7:26 a.m. ET.
- Money line: Patriots -300 | Dolphins +230
- Against the spread : Patriots -6.5 | Dolphins +6.5
- Over/Under : 39.5
Former Alabama Quarterbacks Meet Again 17 Weeks Later
The season opener marked the last time Alabama products Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones crossed paths. That win went to the quarterback drafted 12 months and 10 picks before the other. On Sunday, the result remained the same.
Tagovailoa completed 15-of-22 passes for 109 yards with one touchdown in his third consecutive win over the Patriots. It began with seven consecutive completions on the opening drive, with the last of which finding former Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle unaccounted for in the end zone.
Jones stepped onto the field and had his first throw returned 37 yards for a touchdown by Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard. It came with trap coverage on an out route by wideout Jakobi Meyers. Jones would later scramble to hit tight end Hunter Henry on routes of 32 and 36 yards and went back to Meyers for diving fades that picked up 28 and 39 yards. But the missed opportunities had compounded. No. 15 overall finished the evening 20-of-30 for 261 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a fumbled snap from interim center Ted Karras.
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New England Patriots Vs Miami Dolphins: Betting Odds Analysis And Prediction
J Pat Carter/Associated Press
New England has owned Miami over recent seasons, winning seven of the last eight meetings in this rivalry, going 5-3 against the spread.
The Pats have won 10 straight Week 1 games but only covered half of them.
Patriots Dolphins Point spread: The Patriots opened as 1.5-point favorites but were -4.5 by midweek at most sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. The total was 46.5 .
Odds Shark computer prediction: 26.9-19.8 Patriots
Why the Patriots can cover the spread
The Patriots got within a game of the Super Bowl again last year and have every intention of making at least one more run with the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady combo.
New England can still move the ball with the best of them, ranking seventh in total offense last year, averaging 28 points per game. And while defensively the Patriots only ranked 26th overall, some of that had to do with opponents playing from behind so much.
And while they lost cornerback Aqib Talib, they added Darrelle Revis. Finally, New England went 5-2 ATS last year when favored by less than a touchdown, so it’s very good at covering short spreads, even if it struggled to a 1-5 ATS mark as road chalk.
Why the Dolphins can cover the spread
New England Patriots Vs Miami Dolphins Prediction And Preview
Playoff-bound Patriots can clinch AFC East title with win and Bills loss
The New England Patriots will be marching right back into the playoffs after a one-year hiatus in 2020, and they still have a chance to accomplish yet another familiar feat: win the AFC East. In order to do so, they’ll have to take down the Miami Dolphins, whose own playoff hopes were dashed last week but who have grown accustomed to playing “spoiler” during the Patriots’ trips down south in the later stages of the regular season.
Miami’s dismal 34-3 loss at Tennessee last week brought to an end not only the team’s chances at a trip to the postseason but also a historic streak that saw the Dolphins bounce back from a seven-game losing streak with seven straight wins. No NFL team had ever followed seven straight losses with seven straight wins before Miami did so this season, but not even the remarkable turnaround was enough to save the Dolphins after the miserable start.
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Agholor Returns Out Wide As Bourne Reaches 800
Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor missed six practices and two games while in the NFLs concussion protocol before making his return against the Dolphins.
With it came the start as well as a trio of targets for Agholor, who was hit from the far hash marks for 23 yards at the two-minute warning before intermission. He later drew pass interference in the end zone.
But fellow March signing Kendrick Bourne, who entered eight receptions and 24 receiving yards shy of a pair of $250,000 incentives, finished with three receptions for 24 yards to cap off a career year at exactly 800.