The Patriots didn’t wait to take a lead over the Dolphins to start trying to run out the clock on Sunday afternoon.
New England’s offensive game plan has been heavy on the ground game through the first two quarters with 20 rushing attempts against just five passes for Tom Brady. That made for a quick first half, but it hasn’t helped the Patriots move closer to a win that would cinch up home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Dolphins lead 10-3 after Ryan Tannehill and DeVante Parker hooked up for a 14-yard touchdown with 36 seconds left to play in the second quarter. The score came after a rare missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski cost the Patriots a chance to grab the lead for the first time in the game. The Dolphins also missed a field goal in the first half, which kept them from doing more with a 193-83 edge in offensive yards.
Steven Jackson, Brandon Bolden and James White have all gotten carries for the Patriots, who had a bit of a scare in the second quarter when Brady came up flexing his ankle after an awkward shot from Ndamukong Suh. Jimmy Garoppolo warmed up briefly on the sideline, but Brady didn’t miss a play.
Give the run-heavy game plan and the consequences of a Brady injury, that was a bit surprising so we’ll see if Bill Belichick sticks with the starter in the second half or if Garoppolo will get a chance to hand the ball off.