1. The special teams were really ... special
The Patriots went into halftime last night trailing, 7-6.
Within 2:16 of the third quarter, they led, 20-7.
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Why? Simple: special teams.
Brandon Tate stunned the Miami crowd by running the second-half kickoff back 103 yards to paydirt. After the Dolphins went three-and-out on their first actual possession, Brandon Fields had his punt blocked. Before long, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was waltzing into the end zone for a 12-yard score and a big New England lead.
2. The pass defense was just OK
Credit Rob Ninkovich and the rest of the Pats for their interceptions. Then forget them.
Right now, the Patriots’ pass defense is not playoff-ready.
Chad Henne (hardly an All-Pro, given his career 77.4 passer rating) hit on his first seven passes, and picked the New England defense apart with the short game at times, especially early in the second half. Davone Bess, Ricky Williams, even a relatively underperforming Brandon Marshall — they all found space in the secondary way too many times.
Something needs to change here.
3. The ballad of Danny Woodhead
It’s going to be a banner week for the words “gritty” and “hard-working.”
Danny Woodhead, the backup Patriots RB who’s probably shorter than you and went to a college (Chadron State) that may or may not actually exist, scored another TD last night.
This guy’s rapidly becoming a valuable cog in New England’s offensive machine.
Nothing wrong with that.
Unfortunately for non-hyperbole lovers, he’s about one good week away from supplanting Wes Welker as football’s answer to David Eckstein.