The Miami Dolphins hosted the New England Patriots to open the 2022 NFL season. The Patriots and Dolphins are becoming a tradition in the opening weekend, with today’s game marking the third straight year the AFC East rivals have faced off in Week 1.
The Dolphins fairly well controlled the game throughout the day. It was not a completely dominating performance, but they were able to create turnovers, continuously pressure Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, and the offense moved the ball effectively for most of the game.
There are plenty of things for the Dolphins to correct, but the Dolphins are 1-0 on the season with a win over a division rival. It is a good way to start the season.
Patriots 7 - Dolphins 20
First Quarter Reactions
The Dolphins won the toss and elected to defer. Miami had the family of Jason Jenkins, the team’s Senior Vice President of Communication and Community Affairs who recently passed away, out for the coin toss. Good move by the team and such a loss.
New England’s game plan coming into the day was likely to run the ball straight at the Dolphins defense and force them to stop it. That was definitely the plan on the opening drive, with Miami struggling to contain it early. The Patriots gained 25 yards on four carries but the drive ended when quarterback Mac Jones looked to throw a jump ball to former Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker, but Dolphins All Pro cornerback deflected the pass and safety Jevon Holland came away with the interception.
❌ to ⛄️— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) September 11, 2022
Miami’s opening drive began at the Patriots 28-yard line following the interception, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looking to wide receiver Tyreek Hill on the first play, but the pass falling interception. The offense felt unsteady on the rest of the drive, but did have some highlights including a 23-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Hill. The drive came to an end after a Tagovailoa sack in which he was stripped, but the ball bounced toward center Connor Williams, who fell on it and saved a field goal attempt for the Dolphins. Jason Sanders connected from 43 yards out and Miami took the early lead. Dolphins 3-0.
The Patriots again came out running the ball at the Dolphins to start their second possession. Rhamondre Stevenson picked up 19 yards on two runs to start the drive. The drive began to fall apart shortly thereafter, however, as a three-yard loss on a pass from Jones to Stevenson was then followed by a false start penalty two plays later then, after a 17-yard gain on a screen pass to Nelson Agholor, Jones was sacked by Emmanuel Ogbah. Christian Wilkins then stuffed a run from Ty Montgomery for a two-yard loss to end the first quarter.
Second Quarter Reactions
The Patriots faced 3rd-and-19 to start the period, picking up nine yards on a pass from Jones to Hunter Henry. New England punted on the next snap.
Miami began at their own six-yard line, and were able to get the ball moving but were not able to put together a scoring drive. After 10 plays picking up 45 yards, with the highlights being Tagovailoa passes to Chase Edmonds for 11 yards and Durham Smythe for 14 yards, the Dolphins were forced to punt.
Two plays later, the Dolphins scored, however. As Mac Jones dropped back to pass, a blitz from safety Brandon Jones confused the Patriots protection. Brandon Jones had a clear shot at Mac Jones, who fumbled and Melvin Ingram scooped the ball up at the Patriots two-yard line and scored. Miami’s defense is bending a lot today, but they are not breaking and they are forcing turnovers by New England. Dolphins 10-0.
Brandon Jones is so good on the blitz. He gets overshadowed by Jevon Holland’s ridiculous play, but this is a dynamic pair in the back of Miami’s secondary.— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) September 11, 2022
And welcome to Miami, Melvin Ingram!
Dolphins lead 10-0.
After the Miami touchdown, Brandon Jones nearly came away with a touchdown on the first play of New England’s next possession. Ingram then shut down a Damien Harris run on a three-yard run . Mac Jones connected with Jakobi Meyers on an impressive catch down the sideline, with the receiver keeping control of the ball even though cornerback Nik Needham had his hand on it, to goin 274th yards. The drive shut down after that thanks to a four-yard tackle for a loss from undrafted free agent cornerback Kader Kohou. The Patriots were forced to punt.
Edmonds started Miami’s possession with a one-yard run as the team looked to get out of the shadow of their goal line. On 2nd-and-9 from their own nine-yard line, Miami picked up 14 yards on a Tagovailoa to Hill pass. Edmonds then picked up another three yards before Tagovailoa was forced to throw away the ball. On 3rd-and-7, Tagovailoa threw to Jaylen Waddle, who caught his first pass for eight yards and a first down. After a false start penalty and the two-minute warning, Tagovailoa targeted Hill for a 26-yard one-handed catch. After an incomplete pass to Hill, Tagovailoa was sacked by Matthew Judon for a nine-yard loss. On 3rd-and-19, Tagovailoa threw to Cedrick Wilson for 12 yards, leading to a Miami 4th-and-7. Instead of punting or trying the long field goal, the Dolphins lined up and ran a slant pass for Waddle. And 42 yards later, Waddle was in the end zone and Miami extended their lead just before halftime. Dolphins 17-0.
4th and 7? That sounds like touchdown time!— The Phinsider (@thephinsider) September 11, 2022
The Patriots knelt to kill the clock after the kickoff.
- The Dolphins have not been great, especially on offense, but they are playing well. They need to clean up some things but they are solid at this point.
- The rushing attack is only averaging 2.1 yards per carry. With a 17-0 lead to start the half, the Dolphins will likely be looking to run the ball more in the second half. That average is not going to cut it.
- The Tyreek Hill-Jaylen Waddle combination is already making money for the Dolphins.
- The defense feel like it is in full bend-don’t-break mode, but they only allowed 108 yards so it was not as bad as it felt at times. The sacks and the turnovers are already starting, and that is the hallmark of this defense.
Third Quarter Reactions
Miami started the second half with the ball, but were not able to make it back-to-back scores. Tagovailoa threw to Waddle for seven yards to start the drive, but Edmonds was stopped after two yards on the next play and Hill was hit immediately for a one-yard loss on a pass in the flat. The Dolphins punted on 4th-and-2, with Thomas Morstead blasting a 58-yard kick and Justin Bethel timing it perfectly to make the tackle at the Patriots’ eight-yard line.
Starting deep in their own territory, the Patriots systematically moved down the field on the Miami defense. Mac Jones went 9-for-10 for 62 yards on the drive, including the six-yard pass to Ty Montgomery for the score. The Patriots were assisted on the drive by a defensive too many men on the field penalty and an illegal contact penalty. The second flag, called on Xavien Howard as he was defending against DeVante Parker in the end zone, gave the Patriots a first down after what appeared to be a failed fourth-down conversion attempt. Dolphins 17-7.
Tagovailoa came out throwing to start the next drive, finding Hill who turned a short slant into a 16-yard gain on first down, then throwing into the flat to Wilson for an eight-yard gain on the next play. After Raheem Mostert picked up three yards and the first down on the next snap, Tagovailoa rolled left, threw all the way back across the field to Mostert who broke a tackle and picked up 16 yards. Edmonds ran for four yards at the Patriots 36-yard line as the Dolphins continued the drive to answer New England’s score. Tight end Mike Gesicki caught his first pass on 2nd-and-6, but only picked up one yard. On 3rd-and-5, Tagovailoa threw incomplete on a pass targeting Hill on an out route. Jason Sanders then came in to connect on a 49-yard field goal. Dolphins 20-7.
The quarter ended after a Damien Harris run for six yards to start the Patriots possession.
Fourth Quarter Reactions
After the change of sides of the field, the Patriots were able to pick up a first down on a Meyers end-around. Harris ran for four yards on the next play, but Stevenson was stopped for no gain on the next play. On 3rd-and-6 an incomplete pass appeared to end the drive, but offsetting penalties were called on both teams, giving the Patriots another shot at the conversion. Jones again threw incomplete and New England punted.
The Dolphins could not convert a first down on their drive, holding the ball for 1:40 on a three-play, nine-yard possession. Miami punted for the three-and-out drive.
New England began the drive with an incomplete pass before Jonnu Smith bulldozed his way to a seven-yard catch-and-run. After Montgomery was stopped by Zach Sieler for no gain, the Patriots went for it on 4th-and-3. Undrafted free agent rookie Kader Kohou made his second big play of the game, breaking up the pass to force a turnover on downs from New England.
The Dolphins opened the drive with a run from Edmonds for seven yards, followed by an incomplete pass where Tagovailoa was lucky to not be intercepted. He rolled to his right on a broken play that looked like it was supposed to be a pass in the flat to the running back, but the intended target fell down and Tagovailoa tried to make a play. He badly missed Waddle and the ball hit Judon in the chest but he could not pull it in. Tagovailoa came back with a pass to Edmonds for seven yards to convert a first down. After Edmonds lost a yard on a run, left tackle Terron Armstead left the game with an injury. An eight-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Trent Sherfield appeared to set the Dolphins with a manageable 3rd-and-3, but a 12-yard sack of Tagovailoa led to a punt.
New England, trailing 20-7 with six minutes to play, started at their own five-yard line after Keion Crossen downed the ball on the punt. An incomplete pass on first down was followed by a pass to Smith for 11 yards on second down. The Patriots then went deep, with Jones targeting Kendrick Bourne for 41 yards. An incomplete pass was then followed by a pass to Agholor for five yards, with Kohou making another play and forcing a fumble. Jaelan Phillips jumped on the loose ball and the Dolphins took over.
Miami started the drive with a pass across the middle from Tagovailoa to Waddle for 12 yards. Edmonds picked up a yard before the pressure got to Tagovailoa on another pass attempt, with the quarterback throwing the ball into the dirt near Gesicki to avoid the sack. After a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty, Tagovailoa threw short to Edmonds, who bounced off a tackle and picked up 15 yards. Mostert then ran for no gain, but kept the clock running to force the Patriots to use a timeout. Mostert then picked up 11 yards on 2nd-and-10, giving Miami a first down as the clock ran to the two-minute warning. After an incomplete pass and a Patriots penalty, Tagovailoa knelt twice to kill the clock.
- It was not perfect, but it was solid and it was effective. Miami is 1-0 on the year with room to improve. That is plenty for Week 1.
- Tagovailoa joins John Elway as the only quarterbacks to go 4-0 against Bill Belichick.
- Kader Kohou had an incredible first game, coming in as an undrafted rookie to playing a big role in the opening weekend.
- On to victory Monday!