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Miami Dolphins defeat New England Patriots, 17-16 in season opener

The Miami Dolphins came into Foxboro and pulled out a thrilling 17-16 win over their AFC  East rival New England Patriots in the 2021 season opener. This was the Dolphins first season opening victory since 2018 and they now lead the all-time series against the Patriots, 59–54.

The Dolphins started fast on their opening drive going the length of the field on 10 plays for 80-yards, capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by Tua Tagovailoa.


New England answered with 10 points before Jason Sanders connected on a 48-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half to tie things up 10-10.

The Dolphins continued their fast start on opening drives in the second half with rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle catching his first career NFL touchdown on a three-yard pass from Tagovailoa, pushing the Dolphins lead to 17-10. Waddle ended his first NFL game with four catches for 61 yards and the one score.

After two made field goals by the Patriots, Dolphins redzone defense came up big with a forced fumble and recovery by Xavien Howard to preserve the victory.


Offensively, Tagovailoa went 16-of-27 passing for 202 yards with two total touchdowns (one passing and one rushing) and one interception. Devante Parker led all receivers with four catches for 81 yards.

Defensively, Miami forced two turnovers, extending their turnover streak to 23 games - the longest active streak in the NFL. Jerome Baker led all players with 12 total tackles (8 solo tackles).

Table inside Article
Stat Dolphins Patriots
Total Yards 259 393
Rushing Yards 74 125
Passing Yards 185 268
3rd Down Conv. 4-11 11-16
Sacks For 2 1
Penalties 5/28 8/84
TOP 23:17 36:43

The Dolphins now shift their preparations to the home opener against the defending AFC East divisional champions Buffalo Bills. Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm, Sunday, September 19 at Hard Rock Stadium. Tickets can be purchased at

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