Led by a strong pass rush and a productive running game, the Patriots rolled up 24 unanswered second-half points en route to a 27-17 win vs. Miami on Sunday afternoon in Foxborough.
The victory moved the Patriots to 6-2 at the midpoint of their schedule. The Dolphins, meanwhile, fell to 3-4. They have lost four games in a row after a 3-0 start.
The Patriots’ offense sputtered in the first two quarters, gaining just 59 yards. However, the attack perked up after halftime. The running game played a big role, racking up 111 yards and two scores on 22 second-half carries. The Patriots needed their ground game to step up, what with quarterback Tom Brady throwing for just 116 yards on 13-of-22 passing.
Still, Brady, who appeared to have a right hand injury, did his part on a 14-yard third-quarter TD pass to Aaron Dobson, cutting Miami’s lead to 17-10.
Then, the Dolphins’ problems started to mount. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked by Patriots rookie cornerback Logan Ryan, with the Patriots recovering deep in Miami territory. The Pats would cash in on a Brandon Bolden two-yard TD run to tie the game.
The Patriots would take the lead for good on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal late in the third quarter, then add to their margin with a Stevan Ridley three-yard TD run with 7:14 left.
The Dolphins struggled on numerous fronts in the final two quarters. Tannehill was sacked six times and committed three turnovers in the second half, though the final turnover was a desperation heave with the game decided. The Dolphins’ special teams also had a tough half, with rookie Caleb Sturgis missing a 45-yard field goal off the right upright and having a 39-yard attempt blocked.
The Dolphins host the Bengals on Thursday night, with the Patriots playing the Steelers on Sunday afternoon.