It’s said a lot in sports, but Sunday at Gillette Stadium was really a tale of two halves. The Patriots barely pulled out the 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins after Jimmy Garoppolo exited the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Garoppolo was lights out in the first quarter including a perfect 5 for 5 for 64 yards and a 12-yard touchdown to Danny Amendola on the first drive of the game. After the Patriots defense forced a punt, Garoppolo led the offense down the field again and capped off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown throw to Martelleus Bennett.
A third touchdown pass from Garoppolo put the Patriots up 21-0 in the second quarter. All was right in New England. The quarterback controversy would start up on October 3rd. Nothing could derail the Patriots. And then the tide turned with 4:20 to play in the first half…
It’s easy to say now, but it appears Garoppolo hadn’t learned how to take a hit correctly and it resulted in an injury on the tackle from the oft-injured Kiko Alonso. A separated shoulder would cost Garoppolo about 6-8 weeks.
As of 5:00 on Sunday, the status of Jimmy Garoppolo is unknown but speculation is that it will be a good chunk of time.
In his place came rookie Jacoby Brissett and the offense just did not look the same. Despite leading the team to another touchdown in the beginning of the second half, the offense began looking very bland. LeGarette Blount got carry after carry and mixed in one impressive jump over Byron Maxwell.
As the offense began stalling toward the end of the third quarter, the defense followed suit. Malcolm Butler got trucked by Jarvis Landry on the last play of the third quarter and it gave Miami a little life. Jordan Cameron caught a touchdown on the next play as Jamie Collins collided with Pat Chung in a play that symbolized the second half for the Patriots. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill continued to orchestrate the no-huddle offense and the Patriots defensive backs looked lost as Landry carved up the field. Landry ended the day with 10 catches for 137 yards while DeVante Parker finished with eight catches for 106 yards.
Miami slowly climbed back into the game and were in place for a game-tying touchdown drive after a rare missed field goal from Stephen Gostkowski late in the fourth quarter left the Patriots clinging to a one-score lead at 31-24. I want to say Gostkowski is completely over the extra point miss in last year’s AFC Championship, but I still think the memory of it creeps back into his mind on short field goals in pressure situations.
Duron Harmon ended the chance of a Miami comeback as he picked off Tannehill in the end zone to seal the Patriots victory, but it didn’t feel like a victory after seeing how poorly the team played when their starting quarterback went down.
Brissett will most likely be the starter on Thursday night against Houston, but the Patriots offense will have to revamp the playbook. It’s a lot to ask a rookie quarterback to learn three years worth of material in three days. It would’ve been helpful if Brissett got more snaps in the pre-season over Tom Brady, but again, that’s easy to say now that the Patriots are onto their third string quarterback.
It was a Patriots victory, but it was a weird day in Foxboro. A lot of fans are still uneasy as it now looks like the team will try and “survive” these last two games without Brady.
Other notes and random thoughts from Week 2:
- Trent Green is an awful color commentator
- Ryan Allen needs to work on his punting
- Marcus Cannon needs to work on everything
- The officials had a tough day once again with too many flags and an injury
- Chris Long is a beast
- Rob Gronkowski needs to make it onto the field for Thursday night
- I forgot to start a wide receiver in my fantasy league
- Darrelle Revis still sucks