The Patriots bounced back from back-to-back loses to defeat the Dolphins 38-7 in Gillette Stadium. It was the Patriots debut of receiver Josh Gordon, whom New England traded for from Cleveland two weeks ago. A 2018 season highlight came in the 3rd quarter when Tom Brady lobbed a perfectly timed floater into running back James Whites’ hands for a touchdown.
Six Observations from Game Four
1. Tom Brady’s pass catchers helped him out in the 2nd quarter when Brady’s accuracy was up and down. Cordarrelle Patterson reached up to pull in a high pass thrown behind him and then raced the Dolphin defenders to a 55-yard touchdown. On the following drive, Brady overthrew Patterson in the right flat on a developing screen play. Two plays later, Phillip Dorsett pulls in an off target pass on a comeback along the right seam. At the end of the quarter, Dorsett made an acrobatic catch for a touchdown on an out pattern.
2. With New England corner back Jason McCourty starting for Eric Rowe (medical scratch), second year defensive back Jonathan Jones moved up the depth charts and was on the defensive field for most of the game (snap counts by pro-football-reference.com). Jones was caught holding receiver Danny Amendola in the 1st quarter, but in the 2nd he disrupted – and nearly picked off – a pass intended for running back Frank Gore. Later in the 2nd Jones shook off a receiver’s block to tackle receiver Jakeem Grant short of the sticks, bringing up fourth down. Rookie JC Jackson – in for about one fourth of the game – intercepted a pass intended for receiver Albert Wilson on a go route up the right sideline in the 3rd.
3. This observer noted some good linebacker play from Kyle Van Noy against the Dolphins. On a third down in the 1st quarter, Van Noy quickly spotted a tunnel screen developing, and forced Albert Wilson to the sideline where Johnathon Jones and Jason McCourty were waiting for him short of the sticks. Midway through the 2nd, Van Noy hustled to recover a loose football after a bad snap from center Travis Swanson. On New England’s next official defensive play, Van Noy sped around right tackle Ja'Wuan James to force running back Kenyan Drake back into the center of the line for loss on the play. Fellow linebacker Dont’a Hightower flashed in the 1st quarter when he ran past pulling guard Ted Larsen and knocked down Kenyan Drake for no gain.
4. It was a better showing from the defensive line than last week’s beat down by the Lions. Recently signed defensive end John Simon pushed past lineman Ted Larsen to notch a third-down sack of Ryan Tannehill in the 4th quarter. Simon nearly got a second sack when he looped inside on a stunt and got past center Travis Swanson. Defensive lineman Adam Butler got a third down sack working against Swanson in the 3rd. Up until the start of the Dolphins’ final drive of the game, the Patriots had held Miami to only 16 yards on ten carries.
5. New England’s offensive blocking was also improved in game four. In the 1st quarter, running back Sony Michel picked up 13 yards running around left end behind strong blocking from Trent Brown and Joe Thuney. On the next play Michell picked up 14 on a sweep to the right with Rob Gronkowski blocking down on defensive end Cameron Wake and right tackle Marcus Cannon getting outside wide to block down field. In the 4th Michel got his first professional touchdown on a 26-yard run to the left behind tackle Trent Brown’s block on cornerback Xavien Howard. Brown was able to release downfield because at the snap receiver Phillip Dorsett caught Charles Harris off guard, knocking the defensive end to the ground.
6. Patriots’ rookie first round pick also created some gains with his own elusively. In the 2nd Sony Michel picked up 23 yards after juking a Dolphins’ safety about nine yards downfield. Later on the same drive, Michel picked up a third-and-one conversion by avoid lunging linebacker Kiko Alonso. In the 3rd, defensive end Robert Quinn broke through the line of scrimmage with a free shot on Michel, but the running back sped around Quinn for a seven yard gain. Fellow running back James White showed off his terrific vision and a fluid running style when he cut a power run to the right back to the left for a 22 yard touchdown. On that touchdown, White juked Robert Quinn out of his shoes and Shaq Mason maintained his weak side block on Kiko Alonso long enough for White to get completely free.
Originally posted on PatsPulpit.com