The Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots have reached the mid-way point of their Week 17 showdown. The two teams head into the break tied, with both offenses still looking to find a rhythm on the day.
Dolphins 10 - Patriots 10
The Patriots won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Dolphins received the opening kickoff, starting the drive at the 25 after the touchback. On the first drive, it appeared the Patriots would sack quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, only to have shoved the ball through the middle of the line of scrimmage to running back Patrick Laird, who picked up 12 yards. A quick slant route to Albert Wilson followed, picking up another seven yards. Laird then ran for four yards, picking up another first down. The drive stalled, but Miami attempted a fake punt, with Matt Haack throwing a pass toward Deon Lacey but overthrowing it. Miami turned the ball over on downs.
New England started with a Sony Michel run for four yards, then Tom Brady throwing to N’Keal Harry for four yards. James White then lost three yards, leading to a punt on the three-and-out drive.
Miami started with a one-yard gain from Laird, then Fitzpatrick looked deep to DeVante Parker for a 28-yard gain. Laird then picked up another four yards before Isaiah Ford picked up 11 yards on a broken flea flicker. Fitzpatrick went to Parker again for 21 yards, followed by a Laird run for one yard, a Fitzpatrick pass to Durham Smythe for eight yards, and a Laird run for four yards. On 1st-and-10 from the New England 11, Fitzpatrick scrambled for one yard, then Laird picked up one yard. A 3rd-and-8 pass from Fitzpatrick to Ford fell incomplete and Miami settled for the 27-yard Jason Sanders field goal. Dolphins 3-0.
New England started with a six yard pass from Brady to Rex Burkhead, followed by a 14-yard run from Burkhead. Brady then threw three straight incomplete passes, with a defensive pass interference penalty included to give the Patriots a new set of downs. The Patriots then completed a 16-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu, but after a challenge the call was changed to an offensive pass interference penalty for a pick thrown by Ben Watson. After the end of the first quarter, Brady threw to Julian Edelman for 14 yards on a 3rd-and-20 play, leading to a punt.
The Dolphins then started with an 11-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Wilson, followed by a Samaje Perine run for nine yards. He then picked up three yards before a no-gain run. Fitzpatrick threw for five yards to Laird before an incomplete pass led to a punt.
The Patriots started at their own 31-yard line, with Brady throwing an incomplete pass. On 2nd-and-10, Brady looked toward Edelman, with Eric Rowe jumping the route and returning the pick for the touchdown. Dolphins 10-0.
New England looked to finally find a rhythm after two punts and an interception to start the game, though Michel lost one yard on the first play. Brady was incomplete on his next two throws, but a defensive pass interference penalty gave the Patriots a new set of downs. Michel ran for eight yards, then nine yards, then another nine yards on the next three carries, before Burkhead subbed in and picked up 14 yards, then one yard. Brady looked to Harry for 18 yards on the 2nd-and-9 play from Miami’s 25-yard line. Setting up at the Miami 7-yard line, New England would see a run from Michel for no gain, then Brady throw two incomplete passes before settling for the 25-yard Nick Folk field goal. Dolphins 10-3.
Miami started at their own 25-yard line after the touchback, with Fitzpatrick finding Parker for 18-yards on the first play. Perine then picked up one yard before an incomplete pass from Fitzpatrick as Wilson dropped the pass. On 3rd-and-9, the pass rush nearly reached Fitzpatrick, but he was able to find Wilson crossing the field but the receiver dropped the ball and Miami punted.
The Patriots quickly picked apart Miami’s defense on the next drive After a Michel run for two yards, Harry picked up nine yards, plus an unnecessary roughness penalty on Jerome Baker to give the Patriots a total of 24 yards on the play. Brady then unloaded a 50-yard bomb to Philip Dorsett to set up New England at the Miami six. After a Michel run for two yards, he finished the drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Tied 10-10.
Laird started the next drive with a run for no gain before the 2-minute warning. Fitzpatrick looked deep down the right sideline for Parker, but the pass was overthrown. Laird then ran for no gain on 3rd-and-10, leading to a Miami three-and-out punt.
Michel ran for a two yard loss on first down, then White picked up seven yards before the clock ran down to halftime.
The Dolphins are staying with the Patriots early. The offense is not in rhythm yet, but the defense is not taking anything the Patriots are trying to do.
That pick six was ridiculously easily. Brady advertised the throw and former Patriots cornerback Rowe could have walked in for the score.
Brady looks off today. He just does not look comfortable. It is not like the Dolphins are doing anything crazy - Brady just does not look like he is in rhythm or comfortable.
Then Brady looks like Brady. That touchdown drive featured the first throw in which Brady looked in rhythm, and it went for 50 yards. Wilson’s two drops on the Miami possession before New England’s score were painful.
Neither team looks fully in the game yet this week. Can Miami make adjustments at halftime to stay with whatever the Patriots breakout in the second half?