By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
Final: Patriots 36, Dolphins 7
The New England Patriots are 7-0 for the first time since 2007.
The Dolphins didn't stand a chance, as Tom Brady threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Dion Lewis returned and had 93 receiving yards (all in the first half) and 19 rush yards.
The New England defense played great in this one, surrendering just 270 yards of offense. They picked off Ryan Tannehill twice and sacked him five times. Running back Lamar Miller was held to 15 yards on nine carries and a meaningless touchdown.
The Patriots now get a few extra days of rest before hosting the Washington Redskins next Sunday. Stick with us throughout the night as we break this one down, and be sure to tune in to Patriots 5th Quarter on myTV38 and Patriots Postgame on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Marc Bertrand will be on until 2am talking about the latest Patriots win.
4th Quarter, 1:51: Nothing says victory cigar like Jimmy Garoppolo and James White.
They couldn't get a first down though, so the Patriots are forced to punt away as the time comes off the clock.
4th Quarter, 3:06: With Thriller playing in the background, it is indeed Jimmy time at Gillette Stadium.
4th Quarter, 3:06: That should do it for this one with just over three minutes to play. Maybe we'll even get a Jimmy Garoppolo appearance?
Facing a 4th and-23, Tannehill scrambled and went deep into the end zone for Landry. But there was a trio of Pats defenders waiting for it and batted it away.
4th Quarter, 3:26: The Patriots just picked up their fifth sack of the night, as Devin McCourty got in on the fun and took down Tannehill.
4th Quarter, 7:17 -- Patriots 36, Dolphins 7: That should be the final nail in the coffin, as Brady hits Edelman for a 16-yard score.
Vernon had sacked Brady on the play before, setting the Pats up with a 2nd-and-Goal at the Miami 16. No big deal, as Brady hit Edelman for their second touchdown of the evening.
Brady is up to 356 yards on the night, his seventh 300+ yard game against Miami. Brady has four more touchdowns tonight, giving him 20 on the season.
4th Quarter, 11:28: Miami had no chance on that drive, not with their offensive line acting like a turnstile. Tannehill hit Jonas Gray for a three yards on 3rd-and-28, and Miami had to punt the ball away.
It's time for LeGarrette Blount to run the clock out the rest of the way.
A few injury updates: Cameron Wake suffered an Achilles injury and is done for the night. Tre Jackson is questionable to return with a knee injury.
4th Quarter, 12:51: Not to be outdone, Dont'a Hightower just sacked Tannehill on second down for am eight-yard loss.
4th Quarter, 13:21: A 50-yard return by Landry had the Dolphins set up at midfield, but Rob Ninkovich sacked Tannehill for a 10-yard loss on first down.
4th Quarter, 13:29 -- Patriots 29, Dolphins 7: Well that didn't take long, and that should do it.
The Patriots turned Tannehill's interception into seven more points, as Brady hit Edelman for a 10-yard score. Edelman delivered a mean spike after that would make Gronkowski proud.
Brady is 23-for-34 tonight for 295 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots have now scored in 27 straight quarters.
4th Quarter, 13:37: Rookie offensive lineman Tre Jackson just went down with a leg injury, and it doesn't look good.
The Patriots were already thin on the offensive line with Marcus Cannon and Shaq Mason out. Ryan Wendell will take Jackson's place now.
The good news is center Bryan Stork is eligible to return next weekend.
4th Quarter, 14:15: A miscommunication between Tannehill and Matthews was very costly to the Dolphins, as Duron Harmon picked off the errant pass.
It's Tannehill's second pick of the game, and gives the Patriots the ball at the Miami 15.
End 3rd Quarter -- Patriots 22, Dolphins 7
The Dolphins end the third quarter by picking up a first down on a 3rd-and-3 Tannehill connection with Matthews. They have the ball at their own 23 when the fourth quarter comes around.
As poor as they've played, the Dolphins aren't out of this one just yet. It's a steep hill to climb, but crazier things have happened on Thursday Night Football.
3rd Quarter, 1:03: The Dolphins' secondary had all of Tom Brady's targets covered on a 3rd-and-12, and Brady had to flick it ahead to Lewis just to get rid of the ball.
Cameron Wake was hurt on the play and had to be helped off the team with what looks like a left ankle injury. That would be a huge loss to the Miami offense.
3rd Quarter, 2:25: Sealver Siliga just made his best play of the season, bursting through the line and throwing Lamar Miller back for a two-yard loss on a 3rd-and-1 run. The play forced a Miami punt, and the Patriots will take over at their own 20 when play resumes.
Miami had picked up a pair of first downs on the drive.
3rd Quarter, 6:09 -- Patriots 22, Dolphins 7
The Patriots drive stalled before they could reach the end zone, but that gave Stephen Gostkowski a chance to make some history.
His 36-yard boot was his 26th straight make, a new Patriots team record.
The. Guy. Doesn't. Miss.
3rd Quarter, 11:25 -- Patriots 19, Dolphins 7: The Dolphins have some life out of halftime.
Tannehill has a big 29-yard connection with Jordan Cameron, part of his 75 passing yards on a Dolphins touchdown drive. Lamar Miller finished it all off with a one-yard touchdown run to put the Dolphins on the board.
Tannehill had completions of 15, 23 and 29 yards, with the Patriots unable to defend the long ball on that drive. They made that 80-yard drive look too easy.
Lots of fun on the field right now as the Patriots are honoring Willie McGinest, who entered the team's Hall of Fame earlier this season.
During the ceremony, Robert Kraft grabbed the microphone and said "Nothing is more satisfying than saddling the Indianapolis Colts with a loss," adding that McGinest was part of 16 wins over the Colts during his Patriots career.
Whenever you can get a shot in at the Colts, you have to take it.
Halftime -- Patriots 19, Dolphins 0:
A 63-yard field goal attempt by Miami right before the half was wayyyyy off, but at least it wasn't blocked by Jamie Collins.
The Patriots have taken control of this one, all while not looking very great. They've been flagged for seven penalties for 64 yards.
But their defense has turned Ryan Tannehill into his old self, as the Miami QB is 9-for-15 with an interception. He also wasn't ready for a snap which led to a New England safety. The Patriots D has held Miami to just 76 yards of offense so far in this one (the Pats have 241). Lamar Miller has just 10 yards on five carries.
Brady started to see some pressure from the Miami front seven in the second quarter, but is 17-for-24 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Dion Lewis is leading all New England receivers with 93 yards, while Gronk has 55 yards on three receptions. Both have caught touchdown passes for the Pats.
It's Willie time at Gillette.
2nd Quarter, 0:24 -- Patriots 19, Dolphins 0: It looked like Brady added six points more with a nice touchdown to Edelman, but a PI on Gronk took the score off the board.
No worries, as Brady hit Dion Lewis for a 16-yard touchdown. He didn't even have to juke the entire Miami roster to find the end zone, as he went in untouched.
Lewis is making the most of his return with six catches for 93 yards. Brady now has a pair of touchdown passes on the night to go with 213 yards.
2nd Quarter, 1:41: Tannehill couldn't connect with Jordan Cameron on a deep pass thanks to a nice breakup by Patrick Chung. The Patriots get the ball back at their own 49 after a 19-yard punt return by Edelman.
2nd Quarter, 2:00: Two minutes to go in the half, and the Dolphins will face a 3rd-and-13 when play resumes.
2nd Quarter, 3:32 -- Patriots 12, Dolphins 0
Stephen Gostkowski boots a 52-yarder to give the Patriots a 12-0 lead. The kick didn't look good off his foot, destined to go wide right, but that guy knows how to play in the wind.
Gostkowski never misses, as that was his 25th straight without a miss. That ties a franchise record set by some guy named Adam Vinatieri.
2nd Quarter, 3:51: It wasn't going to be a Brady keeper, but it's not going to be a first down either as the Pats were whislted for a false start.
It didn't look like Blount was going to get the first anyways, so that flag might be a good thing.
2nd Quarter, 4:01: Another 4th-and-short for the Patriots, this one at the Miami 35. Wonder who gets this one???
2nd Quarter, 5:17: That Dolphins drive didn't last long, as Logan Ryan picked off Tannehill's first down pass. It's the corner's third pick of the season.
Miami has just 39 yards of offense.
2nd Quarter, 5:23: The Miami defense is showing some life, and putting some pressure on Tom Brady.
Penalties have also hurt the Patriots, as they were flagged twice on the last drive. An ineligible penalty on Cam Fleming wiped out a 22-yard reception by Julian Edelman and a Gronk false start cost them five yards on a 3rd-and-8.
2nd Quarter, 8:54: Chandler Jones is just a beast. There's no other way to put it.
Jones got to Tannehill on third down for his second sack of the evening, forcing another Miami punt. They got a first down on a Jarvis Landry reception, so it's not another 3-and-out for the Pats' D.
But they'll take it. Jones is up to 8.5 sacks of the season, and this is his third multi sack game of the season. We're only in Week 8.
2nd Quarter, 8:54: We have a Jonas Gray sighting!
He got a first down carry, but was met at the line by Pats rookie Malcom Brown. He then dropped a pass on second down.
2nd Quarter, 9:53: There's the Cameron Wake sack of Tom Brady that we knew would happen at some point tonight. It came on a 3rd-and-9 and forced another New England punt.
Brady went deep for Brandon LaFell on 2nd-and-9, but he couldn't come up with the pass as Jamar Taylor smacked him across the face before the ball arrived. It could have been flagged as interference, but it's Thursday night for everyone. It was also a smidge underthrown by No. 12.
Miami will take over at their own 27 when action resumes.
2nd Quarter, 11:52: The Patriots applied more pressure on Tannehill, and nearly got another safety out of it.
Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich nearly took Tannehill down in the end zone, but the QB got the ball out in time to throw an incomplete to Matthews as the Dolphins go 3-and-out after forcing one of their own.
The Pats will take over own their own 34 after a 10-yard return by Edelman.
2nd Quarter, 12:49: The Miami D forced a 3-and-out, as Tom Brady felt the pressure and couldn't connect with Brandon LaFell on a 3rd-and-7 pass.
But the Dolphins will take over at their own 6-yard line, as Matthew Slater delivered a great hit on the Miami punt returner. Not sure why he didn't let that one bounce into the end zone, but the Patriots will take it.
Guess that short week didn't hurt Slater too much.
2nd Quarter, 14:00 -- Patriots 9, Dolphins 0: Things are not going well for the Dolphins.
Tannehill wasn't ready for a third down snap from Mike Pouncey, and it went right into the end zone. Tannehill dove on it to give the Patriots a safety and a 9-0 lead.
The Dolphins are learning that things are a little different when it's not the Titans or Texans on the other side of the field.
2nd Quarter, 14:50: We have an incompletion by Tannehill, as Dont'a Hightower got some air and batted a pass down a first down attempt to Matthews.
End 1st Quarter -- Patriots 7, Dolphins 0
The Patriots will face a much longer fourth down when the second quarter starts, after Brady couldn't hook up with Gronk (with Reshad Jones all over him) on a 3rd-and-16 at the Miami 44. Gronk wanted a flag, and he may have had a case with Jones holding his left arm.
The drive was stalled by a Josh Kline clipping penalty on the first down following Brady's keeper. At least Brandon LaFell made a catch on second down.
1st Quarter, 2:21: The Patriots went for it on a 4th-and-1, and who do you think was tasked with getting that one yard?
Tom Brady of course. And he got it, of course.
1st Quarter, 3:32: Two quick passes to Dion Lewis have the Patriots in Miami territory already. Lewis had catch-and-runs of 19 and 18 yards to start this drive, setting the Patriots up at the Miami 48.
1st Quarter, 4:47: Miami almost made it to midfield, but were forced to punt when the Patriots' pass rush got to Tannehill on a 3rd-and-8.
Chandler Jones got to the Miami QB, giving him his NFL-leading 7.5 sack on the season. The Pats will now take over on their own 15 after a 43-yard Miami punt.
1st Quarter, 10:12 -- Patriots 7, Dolphins 0
It doesn't matter what night of the week it is, nobody can stop Rob Gronkowski.
Brady hit Gronk with a short pass, and the tight end took it 47 yards to the house to give New England and early 7-0 lead. Brandon LaFell had a nice block on the play to help spring Gronkowski.
Brady was a perfect 4-for-4 on the drive for 73 yards. Blount had four carries for 22 yards on the 8-play drive that ate up 4:48.
That Miami reality check came really quick.
1st Quarter, 12:07: Dion Lewis looks OK on his first play. With the Patriots facing a 3rd and 16, Brady hit Lewis with a short pass and the mini-back took care of the rest, taking it 17 yards to move the chains.
1st Quarter, 13:20: There's a pass play, as Brady hits Edelman for seven yards.
1st Quarter, 14:20: The Patriots start this one off with a pair of run plays, and LeGarrette Blount picks up the first down.
It may be the only time this season New England has been 100 percent with the run.
Pregame -- 8:21pm: The Dolphins won the toss and have deferred. The Patriots will get the ball to start this one.
Fans weren't happy the Dolphins won the toss, and they were even less pleased to learn the Dolphins deferred. Is Dan Campbell out-coaching Bill Belichick already???
Pregame -- 8:16pm: We're just a few minutes away from kickoff.
The New England offensive line will have their hands full in this one with Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake taking aim at Tom Brady.
It's looking like the Patriots will go with a line of Sebastian Vollmer-Josh Kline-David Andrews-Tre Jackson-Cameron Fleming. Without Marcus Cannon and Shaq Mason, Ryan Wendell will be the only lineman coming off the bench.
Pregame -- 8:02pm: We're all in for a long night, and will likely have an extra cup of coffee or two in the morning.
While Thursday Night Football games haven't been the best of the best, fans are still watching in record numbers. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft joined 98.5 The Sports Hub just a few minutes ago and said he is a fan of the Thursday Night games.
"I like watching NFL Football," he said with a laugh.
As for the short week of prep, he said both teams have to deal with it so it's a level playing field. But he understands players who voice their displeasure about the game, like Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater.
" As a player, the quick turnaround presents challenges. Not just in recovery, but mentally with the game-planning. You don't have that 24 hours to decompress mentally; you have to get right at it," he said. "But it's the same for both teams."
Pregame -- 7:45pm: Patriots head coach Bill Belichick just joined Scott Zolak on 98.5 The Sports Hub's pregame show and gave his breakdown of the Dolphins. He said it's pretty clear they're playing with a lot more energy under Dan Campbell.
"They played well the last two weeks," he said. "They've played good defense, turned the ball over and got a lot of sacks. They've run the ball well and scored a lot of points. They're playing with a lot of energy and confidence and we'll have to play well against them. We expect that anyways against a division rival. It's a big game."
While there has been a lot of talk about the defensive front of the New York Jets, the Miami defensive line has come to life over the last few weeks.
"This group is very active and they have good quickness. They're a little more quick and athletic than the Jets. The Jets are powerful, but these guys are athletic and get up the field quickly. It's a little bit of a different type of a challenge. They're both very good in a different type of style," said Belichick. "We have a lot of respect for their defense up front."
Pregame -- 7:05pm: The inactives are out for tonight's game, and the Patriots will have running back Dion Lewis back in the mix. We'll see how much of a workload he gets with that abdominal injury against a hard-hitting Dolphins defense. Fellow running back Brandon Bolden is also active for tonight's game.
Some notable inactives for New England are guard Shaq Mason (missing his second straight game with a knee injury), receiver Keshawn Martin and defensive lineman Trey Flowers. Mason's absence will put further strain on New England's offensive line depth tonight, as they'll have just six lineman. So don't expect that offensive line rotation we saw the first five weeks, and expect a lot of short passes.
Miami's Chris McCain, who had social media buzzing for his Twitter avatar earlier this week, is inactive. So he won't get a chance to crush Brady's head this evening. What a shame.
A much more important inactive for the Dolphins is corner Brice McCain, who is Miami's primary nickle corner. He was going to be tasked with slowing Julian Edelman tonight, but that will now fall on third-year corner Jamar Taylor.
As for fans at tonight's game, Halloween came a little early for these two:
Pregame -- 6:35pm: It's a short week for the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins, who clash at Gillette Stadium this evening on Thursday Night Football.
The Patriots look to improve to 7-0 on the season, and more importantly, 3-0 in AFC East play. The Dolphins have won two straight under interim head coach Dan Campbell, but those came against the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans, two of the worst teams in the NFL. Now Campbell will have to match wits with Bill Belichick with only three days to get ready. That's no easy task for a rookie head coach, but strange things can happen on Thursday Night Football.
Given the short week and another divisional matchup, the Patriots are likely in for another hard-fought game tonight.
It's been a while since the Patriots lost at home in the month of October. The last time they dropped a game at Gillette in October was back in 2005, a 41-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Since then, it's been 20 straight October wins for the Patriots in New England.
Tom Brady has also been pretty good in Thursday games throughout his career, going 8-0 with 20 touchdowns passes. In the last three seasons on Thursday night games during the season (not including this year's season opener, since he had a full offseason to prepare for that one), Brady has completed 57 of his 103 passes for 769 yards and seven touchdowns. All three agmes were wins against the Jets, including the infamous "Butt Fumble" game on Thanksgiving Night 2012.
Dion Lewis will reportedly play tonight (we'll know for sure around 7pm when the inactives are announced), and we'll see if the Patriots once again dismiss the run like they did Sunday against the Jets.
It hasn't really mattered what their approach is this season, the Patriots are scoring points thanks to Tom Brady's other-worldly play.
It should be a beautiful -- but windy night -- at Gillette. The Patriots will honor Hall of Famer Willie McGinest at halftime, a ceremony owner Robert Kraft spoke with WBZ-TV's Steve Burton about ahead of tonight's game:
Stick with us throughout the evening for all the updates, and be sure to full reaction and analysis on Patriots Postgame on 98.5 The Sports Hub and Patriots Fifth Quarter over on myTV38!
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