Tale Of Two Halves For Dolphins In 27-17 Loss At Patriots

Posted Oct 27, 2013

Miami drops fourth in a row after leading by 14 at intermission.

Concerns over how the Miami Dolphins would rebound from last week’s loss to Buffalo appeared to be solved in today’s first half at New England. But things quickly fell apart in a 27-17 defeat, the team’s fourth straight.

Now the Dolphins have to regroup fast as there is no time to dwell on this loss. The Cincinnati Bengals come to Sun Life Stadium on Thursday night for a Halloween game in primetime and this team will be trying to halt a four-game skid.

“Well, we’ve said it before. It’s a long season, we believe in the guys that we have in the locker room and it’s going to have to be a quick turnaround,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “Cincinnati defeated this football team so they’re very, very good and there’s not going to be a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves. We’re going to have to get to work right away.”

What started out as a promising display on the road against the Patriots behind an effective ground attack and sturdy offensive line was for naught in a pivotal AFC East clash. Second-year running back Lamar Miller rushed for 63 of his career-high 89 yards in those first two quarters and New England did not get to second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill one time after he had been sacked 26 times coming in.

Defensively, cornerback Dimitri Patterson kick started the Dolphins with his third interception of the season on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s first pass attempt, setting up Tannehill’s 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Gibson. The pressure created by Miami’s front seven got to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the first half, holding him to just 25 passing yards and a dismal 38.0 passer rating. His offense managed just 59 total yards in the first half. Tannehill found running back Daniel Thomas for a 5-yard score in the second quarter and rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis nailed a 52-yard field goal to allow the Dolphins to carry a 17-3 lead into the locker room.

“We started fast and we had them on their heels,” said defensive end Olivier Vernon, who had a sack for the fourth straight game and now has 4.5 on the season. “The second half came around and we just messed up a few times but that’s one thing we’ve got to do, we’ve got to learn how to finish. We’ve just got to keep working on it and keep chipping on that rock.”

Brady got the ball back early in the third quarter after the defense forced a three-and-out, with Odrick getting his second sack of Brady, and drove the offense into the red zone at the 19 before getting sacked for the first time back at the 28. Sturgis’ 46-yard field goal attempt bounced off the right upright and that’s where the game turned, as New England scored 24 unanswered points to improve to 6-2 overall.

Miami’s last victory at Gillette Stadium was on September 21st, 2008, a 38-13 decision that started a string of six wins in eight games and resulted in the team’s first AFC East division crown since 2000. The last time a win was in the Dolphins’ grasp in Foxborough was back in 2011 on Christmas Eve when they squandered a 17-0 halftime lead in a 27-24 loss and that was Odrick’s second season.

“We had a similar thing happen to us before and we knew we didn’t want that to happen again and we just didn’t execute enough in the second half to be able to capitalize on everything we wanted to do,” he said. “Some adjustments were made on both behalves but we didn’t execute good enough so when you don’t execute the way things are drawn up or just overall not being able to finish certain plays, it’s tough. But we’ve got to be able to finish games.”

Tannehill, who had been a key reason behind Miami’s 3-0 start, absorbed six sacks in the second half to raise his season total to 32 but he kept pulling himself off the turf and battling. An unlucky bounce in the third quarter when he went deep down the right sideline for speedster Mike Wallace resulted in his first interception, as New England’s Devin McCourty jumped in the air and tipped the ball volleyball style to teammate Marquise Cole. He managed to barely keep his feet inbounds at his own 18.

Brady turned that into six point to stretch a three-point lead to 10 points and Tannehill was left to fend for himself at the podium after the game trying to explain what went wrong.

“We didn’t make the plays that we needed to,” said Tannehill, who has made 23 consecutive starts since being taken with the eighth overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. “We found a groove in the first half – scored some points and then obviously [we] didn’t score any in the second half. We knew coming in facing a good team that’s going to put up some points – we didn’t execute well enough in the second half.”
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