One week after overcoming their first serious challenge of the season against the Jets, the Patriots made sure there would be no last minute drama against the Miami Dolphins.
Tom Brady and the New England offense battled through a sluggish start in the first half to cruise to a 36-7 win over the Dolphins (3-4) in Foxboro on Thursday night.
The 38-year-old continued his magnificent 2015 campaign by picking apart the Miami secondary, throwing for 356 yards and four touchdowns on the evening. Through seven weeks of action, Brady has thrown for 2,410 yards and 20 touchdowns with just one interception.
Julian Edelman caught a pair of touchdown in the second half to break the game open after the Patriots (7-0) headed into intermission with a 19-0 lead. Rob Gronkowski finished a game-high 113 receiving yards and a 47-yard touchdown reception as well. The sixth-year veteran eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for the 19th time in his career, tying him with Shannon Sharpe for the sixth-most 100-yard games by a tight end in NFL history at the young age of 26.
The defense was arguably the more dominant side of the ball for New England in the win. The steady unit limited the Dolphins to a season-low seven points after the visitors had posted a combined 82 points in their last two games.
Logan Ryan and Devin Harmon both intercepted Ryan Tannehill on drives in Miami territory, leading to a pair of easy scores for the New England offense. All six of the Dolphins first half drives resulted in punts or turnovers, allowing the Patriots to build an early double-digit lead that they rode to victory.
Three Things We Learned:
1. Chandler Jones is making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. One week after being credited with 2.5 sacks against Andrew Luck, the defensive end wreaked havoc yet again. Jones sacked Tannehill two times, leading an impressive pass rush by the Pats’ defense. The unit finished with five sacks, eight tackles for losses and 10 quarterback hits, humbling a Miami offense that looked unstoppable in the past two weeks against a pair of lowly opponents in Houston and Tennessee. Jones leads the entire league with 8.5 sacks through seven games, and is just three short of matching his career high of 11.5.
2. Dion Lewis looks healthy. In the midst of a magical start to the season, the absence of Lewis from the Pats lineup last week due to an abdomen injury was cause for concern. The speedy running back had been a sparkplug for the offense out of the backfield all season, serving as one of Brady’s favorite targets. Lewis returned to action Thursday night and looked no worse for the wear after his absence. He caught six balls for 93 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown strike just before halftime. Lewis also absorbed plenty of tough hits and showed no lingering effects from the injury while carrying a regularly workload, an encouraging sign for the team in its quest to stay undefeated.
3. Stephen Gostkowski adds his name to the record books once again. Weeks after setting a new NFL record for most consecutive made extra points, Gostkowski took aim at the record books one more time. This time around it was a new franchise mark, as the veteran kicker connected from 52 and 36 yards to give him 26 consecutive field goals made for New England. The impressive streak broke the old franchise record by Adam Vinatieri.