Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO -- Here are a few quick-hit impressions from Sunday's AFC East matchup between the Patriots and Dolphins...

PATRIOTS 31, DOLPHINS 24: Curran's Best and Worst

* Jimmy Garoppolo appeared to be in complete control of the Patriots offense while he was behind center. He was 18-for-27 for 234 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He appeared to make strides from what was an impressive Week 1 performance in Arizona, once again showing the poise that helped him lead the team to a win in their season-opener. One particularly impressive moment came on his second touchdown pass of the afternoon, when he looked left, held the free safety in the middle of the field, and then found Martellus Bennett up the right seam for a 20-yard strike. 

* That Garoppolo looked like a seasoned vet in his first ever start at Gillette Stadium made his injury in the second quarter seem even more deflating for the Patriots fans in attendance. At one point, they chanted "Jimmy! Jimmy!" while he was on a knee and being examined by team medical personnel. His right shoulder absorbed a lot of force when he was driven into the ground by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso, and it came as no surprise that he was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game. 

* In relief of Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett was more than adequate, especially given the situation. A third-round pick out of North Carolina State, Brissett put his physical skill set on display throughout training camp: He has the size, mobility and arm strength that give him the look of an NFL quarterback. And in his first game action, he showed good headiness to go along with those physical skills. Especially when he saw room to run, Brissett was mindful on two separate occasions to both get to the first-down marker and then slide to avoid contact. 

 

* Brissett made the most of his biggest target on the field early on. After a few early misfires -- which could maybe be chalked up to an elevated heartrate -- Brissett found 6-foot-7 tight end Martellus Bennett for a 37-yard gain. Three plays later, he hit Bennett again for a 15-yard gain. The Patriots would surely like Brissett to protect the football better than he did when he was sacked for 14 yards and lost the handle on the ball (which was recovered by James White), but it was not a bad first showing for the rookie.

* Bennett had a very different role in Week 2 than he did in Week 1 when he saw just five targets and caught three for 14 yards. Seeing more usage as a receiver, perhaps with left tackle Nate Solder back in the mix on the offensive line, Bennett posted his third-career game with over 100 yards receiving. He had five catches on six targets for 114 yards, including one catch-and-run where he dished out a punishing stiff-arm to Dolphins corner Byron Maxwell.