The #1 story heading into New England’s week 2 match-up against the Miami Dolphins was how newly acquired Antonio Brown would do in his Patriots debut. Tom Brady found Antonio Brown early by giving him four targets on the first drive. On that opening drive, Brown caught 3 passes for 36 yards, while also drawing defensive holding on his fourth target.
Brown finished the day with 4 catches on 8 targets for 56 yards, while also hauling in his first touchdown as a Patriot. Brady targeted Brown three times early in the third quarter, and they missed on all three. Clearly Brady and AB need to grow their relationship, but that will come as both men get more reps together in the coming weeks.
Antonio Brown will get most of the attention from this game, but the defense’s performance should not go unnoticed. New England shut out the Dolphins’ offense, and Miami never came close to getting points on the board. The furthest Miami got down the field was the New England 38-yard line.
The Patriots’ defense balled out in all facets today. The pass rush combined for 7 sacks, while rookie Chase Winovich picked up 1.5 sacks as well as a TFL. The defensive line simply overpowered the Dolphins’ offensive line, and got pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick as well as Josh Rosen throughout the entire game.
The pass coverage played just as well as the pass rush by only allowing 142 yards through the air. The most impressive part about this defensive performance was the two pick sixes on consecutive drives by Stephon Gilmore and Jamie Collins Sr. Gilmore finished the day with 3 PDs, with one of those leading to an interception that Devin McCourty caught. Jamie Collins also had an impressive day with 5 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 TFL, as well as 2 INTs.
The Miami Dolphins are by far and away the worst team in the NFL this season, so this 43-0 beatdown by New England might not be completely telling of what this team can do, but the Patriots look poised for their 7th Super Bowl. With the addition of Antonio Brown, and with the way the defense has played in the first two weeks, this 2019 team looks better than the Super Bowl Champions from last year.
Next week’s match-up is at home against the 0-1 New York Jets who play the Cleveland Browns tomorrow night. The Jets will be without QB Sam Darnold, which has led the Patriots to open as -16.5 favorites for next Sunday’s 1pm game.