Best and Worst: Patriots 36, Dolphins 7
BEST Bill Belichick impression
Whoa. Maybe we should take Dan Campbell serious after all? The Dolphins interim head coach out-Belichicked Belichick himself before the kickoff. The Dolphins won the coin toss -- which the Patriots usually win -- and chose to defer. Absolutely preposterous move by Campbell. Nobody comes into Bill's house and defers. Nobody. You're gonna pay for this, Danny.
BEST New England Tradition
Well, here we are in late October. The leaves are all kinds of colors -- some on the trees, some on the ground. The Halloween decorations are out in full force. Probably got Hocus Pocus on one TV, and on the other . . . the Patriots game, duh. You sit by the fire, sip on one -- OK, two (but that's it!) -- of those pumpkin beers, and watch as Tom Brady steps back, fires, and hits -- who else? -- Rob Gronkowski in the open field. Let's be real, nobody wants any part of Gronk when he gets going. And sure enough, every Dolphin ducked back under water as the mammoth human being rumbled into the end zone. Say a prayer for the moon, because I'm pretty sure he spiked that football into outer space.
I know, I know . . . which one, right? Originally I was going to give this to the non-call on what should have been pass interference late in the first quarter when Rob Gronkowski had his left arm held down the sidelines on a third-and-long toss from Brady. No question he makes that catch if his arm isn't held. But in the second quarter, an even more blatant pass interference wasn't called. Brandon LaFell was mugged down the sideline on a second-down play . . . and right in front of the referee, too. No call. Next play, Brady got sacked and the Pats punted. It's just not fair!
WORST time for a snap
Hey, Dolphins snapper dude. Sup. It's Jimmy. First thing's first -- I'm not a coach. Never have been. And I've never been a snapper, so who am I to tell you how to do your job? But just a suggestion -- and I know, I know . . . you already know. But JUST a suggestion. Wait for your quarterback to look at you before you snap him the football. Wait for him to say hike, too. Let me guess; easier said than done? Either way, I'm just here to help. Snapping it into your own end zone and taking a safety seems like the wrong thing. It just seems off.
BEST way to end a completion streak
Man, oh man, I'm glad we won't have to talk about some bogus completion streak by Ryan Tannehill anymore. I mean, technically he completed a pass. But it was right to Logan Ryan. And I mean RIGHT to Logan Ryan. Almost as if Logan Ryan was the receiver. But he wasn't. Rishard Matthews was the receiver. Whoops. Pats would go on to kick a field goal off that turnover. Costly mistakes . . .
BEST guy off the streets
I know you know this, but it's worth repeating: Dion Lewis was without a job last year. Not one football team wanted him. The Patriots picked this guy up off the street, and he's now basically their best offensive player (well, that's debatable). How can a guy just go from being without a job to being an NFL star? It's madness. And it makes me think I can do it, too. Hey, we're all just undrafted free agents, aren't we? But seriously, Lewis is coming off a week in which he couldn't play due to abdomen injury. He sure looks healthy. Six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown at the half. He also laid one of the most lethal shoulder fakes on 'Fins linebacker Koa Misi that I'm not sure Misi will ever recover from, nor should he. It was magic.
WORST "hottest" team
Just a quick recap . . . the Dolphins were the HOTTEST team in the NFL heading into this game? I guess when you beat the Titans and the Texans (who can't even get their players to make the team flight) you're the cream of the crop all of a sudden. I guess when your interim head coach seems like a bit of a nut, you're the wild child. Well, no. It's halftime, and your only scoring play -- and really, it wasn't even that -- was a 62-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the half. Not even close either. Your quarterback threw a hilarious interception. Your snapper snapped into the end zone. You fielded a punt right in front of Matthew Slater -- the best special teamer in the league. You left the biggest guy wide open to score a touchdown, and then left the littlest guy wide open to score a touchdown. I'm done with you, Miami.
BEST way to make me look like an idiot
Lots of ways, but the Dolphins can do it by winning this game. Of course, that's not actually going to happen. But they did score. So that's at least a start. It looked like the Pats were going to shut out the 'Fins, but Miami actually put together a nice drive to open the third quarter: Eighty yards, capped it with a Lamar Miller one-yard touchdown. Two big passes by Tannehill before that TD run: a 23-yard completion to Kenny Stills and a 29-yard completion to Jordan Cameron. They have a pulse.
WORST injury news for the Dolphins
We make fun of the Dolphins here, but the truth is they actually have a very SCARY -- Halloween pun intended -- defensive line. Well, that scary line just took a scary loss as Cameron Wake was helped off the field in the third quarter with a left leg injury. He couldn't put any weight on the leg whatsoever and then once he got to the sidelines, got on a cart and left the field. Hopefully it's nothing too serious, but it doesn't look good.
WORST injury news for the Patriots
Not too long after Wake went down with the Achilles injury, Patriots offensive lineman Tre' Jackson went down with a left knee injury. He walked off though - no cart. Still, this is very bad news for a Patriots team that just barely had enough healthy offensive lineman as it was. Bryan Stork is hopefully set to return soon, but they won't rush him and risk further injury. Are you over 300 pounds? Do you hate your job? Do you want to block for the GOAT Tom Brady? Then send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julian Edelman dropped a pass two games ago that led to Tom Brady's only interception of the season, a pick-six. Against the Jets, he dropped another pass - this one in the end zone. Well, there will be no dropped pass talk after this game. Instead, the talk will be about the two touchdown passes he caught in the fourth quarter. The first one was a 10-yard touchdown pass by Brady, caught by Edelman at the four-yard line. As he was hit at the four-yard line, he reached out for the end zone and the score. The second one came from 16 yards out, as Edelman split a safety and a linebacker and then took a hit on his way into the end zone. Spike. 36-7.
I gotta say, not a lot of weak spots tonight. The defense shut down Miami basically all night, save for one drive. The offense, albeit a little sloppy at times, did lead by 19 at the half - and Brady tossed two touchdown passes just for fun in the fourth quarter. This game went just about how everybody thought it was going to go. We say it a lot around here, and it almost has lost all meaning, but "big division win". To beat two division teams in five days is fun. Now the Patriots will get some well-deserved extra rest before they head to Denver to play the Broncos, led by the shell of Peyton Manning . . . and yes I know there are three games between now and then.