It feels forever since the New England Patriots played a game, but returned to Gillette on Sunday, receiving no fans. The team also managed to get out of there with a victory. In this article, I will break down a few things I saw during the 21-11 victory.
The first is the violation. With the departure of Tom Brady and the entry of Cam Newton, there have been many questions about what the Patriots’ offense will look like this season. He started slowly, but really turned it on in the second half. Newton tried only 19 passes, but the offense went straight through him.
While Newton stole most of the titles, it’s no surprise that he wasn’t the only player on both sides of the ball to show promise in Week 1.
Julian Edelman, for example, looked pretty good, beyond a bad drop. N’Keal Harry played hard and made a difficult catch, but his mess as he tried to reach the goal line was a killer of momentum and probably a 15-point swing. He would talk to him after this game, as it was working to the range, and after the mess and subsequent contact of the Dolphins, the Patriots were only three. On the better hand, JJ Taylor received a few touches and looked explosive with the ball in his hands. He is already striving for the status of a favorite fan. In addition, despite all the hatred of Sony Michel, he worked very hard and had a pretty good game, including a touchdown on the goal line.
On the defensive side, Stephen Gilmore and the second team played extremely well and although they were hit a little in the game, the previous seven also played well. The linebackers are very exhausted, but still performed. Adrian Phillips also stood out, leading the team with nine games and invading a good catch against Ryan Fitzpatrick at the end of the first half.
Another man who stepped up was Joejuan Williams: Mike Gesicki isn’t exactly George Kittle, but he did a great job covering him today, and he was there when JC Jackson picked Fitzpatrick in the end zone to seal the win. If the former second-round pick continues his strong game, he could become a big figure in New England’s defense this year.
Derek Rivers had the only bag of the day, but Chase Winovich also played extremely well – he came out after the quarterback for a few pressures and also appeared in the running game.
It should also be noted that the Dolphins are becoming an extremely well-trained football team. They had several plays – the play in which the gunner pushed Jackson into Damiere Byrd to force a muffled blow, trying to grab the blow that the Patriots had hit, but not shot down, and a great game of Edelman’s fall to hit the ball just as he was trying to secure the catch. Brian Flores is a great coach and it is clear that the Dolphins know the rules extremely well and play technically sound football.
Overall, it’s always good to win a win in week 1. 1-0 feels much better than 0-1. So, while there are many questions moving forward, there were some very encouraging signs of possible things to come. It will be a fun season and the Patriots are already on a big test next weekend against the Seattle Seahawks. But let’s enjoy this victory over Miami for a few days before we worry about it …
Pat is the host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats