“There are no moral victories, we lost the game,” said Jones, who finished with 10 tackles (all solo), the sack and interception, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit and one pass defensed. “I mean we played well on defense, but at the end of the day it is still a loss. We’ve got to get back and watch the film and correct the things we did make mistakes on.”
Most of the damage on New England’s final scoring drive came on the ground as running back Stevan Ridley discovered holes that were not there through the first three quarters. He rolled up 46 of his 64 rushing yards on that drive on 10 carries to help eat up 7:17 off the clock.
Granted, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez combined to catch 20 of Brady’s 24 completions for 200 yards and one touchdown, but after reeling in 10 passes for 89 yards and the touchdown in the first half. He was kept relatively quiet in the second half, while Hernandez caught five passes for 56 yards over the final two quarters, but three of the four sacks on Brady came in the second half.
“I thought we got good pressure on Brady,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said in his day-after press conference. “Obviously, if you take an opposing quarterback down four times that’s a pretty good afternoon’s work. There was a sudden change where I thought we did an excellent job. They got the ball on the 25 and gained zero yards and we held them to a field goal there. I thought that was excellent but we didn’t play well enough defensively in the fourth quarter.”
Early in the fourth quarter, after Brady methodically moved the Patriots from their own 20 all the way to the Miami 2, Jones and the defense rose up to keep him out of the end zone as he blitzed off the edge on first down and sacked Brady for a 5-yard loss. Brady was hurried on the next play and had to throw a ball intended for Welker out of the back of the end zone to bring up third-and-goal.
“I’m seeing a young player that’s becoming one of the better players at his position in the league right now,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. “He’s making plays in the pass game. The interception he made was exceptional and the run back was terrific. … He’s consistently starting to put one game after another together and he’s got a very high ceiling. I think he’s going to be a very, very good player for us.”
Being a part of a unit that forced New England to attempt four field goals and held Brady to his lowest passer rating of the season is something Wake was proud of, but his frustration with the outcome was very easy to pick up as well.
“It’s one of those games where we knew what we were getting ourselves into,” Wake said. “We had opportunities and we gave a couple plays away, yet even still, coming down to the end of the game we still had a chance and just didn’t capitalize. The defense always has a mindset, regardless o where you are, to keep them off the board. You have to draw that line in the dirt and make the plays.”
They’ll get another chance in six days at the San Francisco 49ers.