On a day where they outgunned their opponents by 134 yards and experienced revelations at the quarterback and tight end positions, the New England Patriots fell to the Miami Dolphins by a score of 17-16. A combination of strong play by Miami’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, backbreaking mistakes in key spots, and an inability to finish in the red zone spelled doom for the Patriots, who fall to 0-1 on the year. A matchup with the New York Jets this Sunday in New Jersey is up next on the agenda.
September 12, 2021 @ 4:25 pm ET | Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA | Broadcast Info
The inactive lists for Sunday’s matchup were released 90 minutes before kickoff.
Patriots rookies Quinn Nordin and Ronnie Perkins will wait to make their debut’s. Dolphins starting tackle Austin Jackson is ACTIVE after spending the majority of the week on the COVID-19 list.
Patriots Inactives: RB J.J. Taylor, LB Ronnie Perkins, TE Devin Asiasi, OT Yodny Cajuste, CB Shaun Wade, K Quinn Nordin
Dolphins Inactives: CB Trill Williams, CB Noah Igbinoghene, WR Preston Williams, DB Elijah Campbell, OT Greg Little
Heads was the Dolphins call for the opening coin toss. They chose correctly and decide to defer their choice to the second half. Mac Jones starts with the ball.
Following a touchback, Mac Jones strolled onto the field to a roaring applause from the Foxborough Faithful. On the first play of the game, he handed the ball to Damien Harris who jaunted down the field for a 35-yard gain. After a few more short runs that resulted in another first down, Jones got his first pass attempt but was pressured by an all out blitz from the Dolphins front and fumbled trying to get the ball to tight end Jonnu Smith. That set up a 2nd-and-23 in which the Patriots could not recover. Jake Bailey came out to punt, dropping one into the end zone for a touchback.
The Dolphins first play went for 17 yards as rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle sliced through the Patriots defense for a nice gain. They picked up another first down, moving into Patriots territory, on a pair of Myles Gaskin runs. Miami ran their plays up-tempo throughout the opening drive, catching the Patriots out of position on a few occasions. They slowed down once they got into the red zone, choosing to play a matchup game. Two rushes later, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa strolled into the end zone from 3-yards out. [Patriots 0 : 7 Dolphins]
An unnecessary roughness penalty was called on defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. following the touchdown run by Tagovailoa. The penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff. Gunner Olszewski returned the ball to the 25-yard line.
New England opened up their second drive with Justin Herron at right tackle, replacing Trent Brown. A quick pass to Nelson Agholor, short Rhamondre Stevenson run, and pass to Jakobi Meyers picked up a first down. Stevenson stayed on the field, catching a check down from Jones but fumbling as he went to the turf. The officials reviewed and upheld the turnover.
Miami took over around midfield. An incompletion and run stuff —both influenced by Kyle Dugger— forced a 3rd-and-11 where Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower would combine for a 10-yard sack of Tagovailoa. Miami punted it back to New England, where Olszewski would return it for 8-yards back to his own 26-yard line.
Damien Harris returned to the game, ripping off a 10-yard gain on the first play of the series. They fed Harris, who picked up yet another first down on three carries. One short completion later, the quarter ended. [END Q1 – Patriots 0 : 7 Dolphins]
On third-and-2, Jones connected with Jakobi Meyers on a short crosser for a first down. Jones and Meyers connected on another catch and run, this time for 22-yards to get the Patriots into the red zone. A holding penalty on Isaiah Wynn negated a 14-yard run, pushing the Patriots back into a 2nd-and 20 from the 25 yard line. The Patriots were unable to gain a first down, leading to a 27-yard field goal from Nick Folk. [Patriots 3 : 7 Dolphins]
The Dolphins went to the air on their ensuing drive, as Tagovailoa connected with DeVante Parker on a dig route for a first down. They went back to that same concept on two straight plays, both going for incompletions. On 3rd-and-10, Jaylen Waddle dropped a perfect pass that would have been a first down. Miami punter Michael Palardy kicked the ball into the end zone for another touchback.
The Patriots started their next drive going pass-run-pass-pass. Picking up a single first down before stalling out due to a pair of incompletions. Old pal Jason McCourty broke up a potential big gainer from Jones to Meyers on the second pass attempt of the drive. Jake Bailey came on to punt the ball away.
The Dolphins went three and out on their next drive, with current pal Devin McCourty almost intercepting Tagovailoa on third down.
Starting with the ball at their own 37-yard line, the Patriots picked up a pair of first downs, moving them into Miami territory. They stayed in the air throughout the majority of the drive, with Jones connecting with Agholor and Harris to get down into the red zone. Three plays later, Jones throws his first NFL touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. [Patriots 10 : 7 Dolphins]
The Dolphins quickly entered New England territory on their ensuing drive when Tagovailoa delivered a beautiful ball to Jaylen Waddle for 36 yards. The Patriots are caught lined up in the neutral zone on the following play but the Dolphins cannot capitalize because the play is called dead. That leads into the 2:00 warning. Jacoby Brissett entered the game on 3rd-and-1, a known QB sneak specialist, he picks up the first down. He stayed in the game on the following first down where Miami was called for a false start. Tagovailoa returned to the game following the penalty. Jalen Mills made a spectacular deflection on a deep pass into the end zone to save a touchdown, leading to a 3rd-and-5, where Josh Uche gets the sack to pull Miami back to the 30 yard line. Jason Sanders came in and connected on a 48-yard field goal to tie the game at halftime. [HALFTIME – Patriots 10 : 10 Dolphins]
After deferring their choice to the second half, Miami opened up the third quarter with the football. DaVante Parker made a tremendous grab along the sideline to continue their drive on a third-and-8. Running back Myles Gaskin picked up two straight first downs, one through the air and another on the ground, to move the Dolphins into the red zone. That’s when they pulled out the wildcat and picked up another first down. Tagovailoa and Waddle connected on a 3-yard touchdown on the next play to give Miami the lead. [Patriots 10 : 17 Dolphins]
The Patriots were penalized on the ensuing kick, setting them up at their own nine yard line. Despite three offensive penalties that pulled back a number of big plays, Jones was able to keep the offense going with perfect ball placement, setting his receivers up to make plays. Ultimately things stalled out at the Miami 24-yard line, where Nick Folk connected on another field goal to cut the lead to four. [Patriots 13 : 17 Dolphins]
The Patriots defense came out firing on the next drive, as safety Adrian Phillips made two tackles for negative yardage and forced a Dolphins three-and-out. Following a 14 yard Olszewski punt return to the New England 43-yard line, Matt Judon was penalized for uneccesary roughness, pushing the Patriots back to their own 28-yard line.
Newcomer Yasir Durant entered the game for Justin Herron on the Patriots second drive of the third quarter, serving as their third right tackle of the game.
Another uneccesary roughness penalty (the Patriots third of the game) forced the New England into a 1st-and-8, wiping out a long Kendrick Bourne reception on their first play of the drive. Another completion, this time to tight end Hunter Henry, Brought the third quarter to a close. [END 3Q – Patriots 13 : 17 Dolphins]
The Patriots continued to attack Miami through the air, with Jones connecting on six straight passes to get New England inside the Dolphins 30-yard line. They continued to matriculate the ball into the red zone, going run-pass-run-pass, before Meyers dropped a low throw from Jones to force a field goal attempt. Folk connected on his third field goal of the day, cutting the Miami lead to one. [Patriots 16 : 17 Dolphins]
On Miami’s next drive, the Patriots forced the Dolphins into a third-and-long. Again, the Patriots were able to dial up pressure and forced an off balance throw from Tagovailoa that was intercepted by Jonathan Jones. Setting New England up in Miami territory.
Miami dialed up the pressure on the next drive but Mac Jones was able to distribute the ball to his receivers without incident. Another 3-play stretch of nothing but Damien Harris runs led to another first down that moved New England past the Miami 30-yard line. Two plays later, Jones delivered a strike to Jonnu Smith to set them up at the Dolphins’ 10-yard line. On the next play Damien Harris fumbled the ball, Miami recovered and took over at their own 9-yard line with 3:31 left in regulation.
A Miami holding call pushed them to their own 4-yard line, on a 1st-and-14, Tagovailoa connected with Parker again on a quick hitter that went for 13 yards. With 2:30 left in regulation and Miami content to run the ball, New England started to burn their timeouts in an effort to get the ball back with a chance to score. On 3rd-and-1, Jacoby Brissett entered the game and picked up the first down, essentially sealing things for Miami, who entered their victory formation. [Final Score – Patriots 16 : 17 Dolphins]