Miami took control early, thanks in part to a pair of first-half turnovers — an interception and a strip sack of Jones — that paved the way for a 10-0 lead. It appeared that despite a sluggish second quarter, the Patriots would be able to minimize the damage, but the quick-strike from Tagovailoa to Waddle with 18 seconds left in the second quarter made it 17-0 at the half.
New England was able to answer on its first drive of the second half, a well-executed 15-play, 92-yard sequence that ended with a six-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Ty Montgomery to make it 17-7.
A late third-quarter field goal from the Dolphins stretched the Miami lead to 20-7.
The Patriots looked to be putting together a fourth-quarter drive that showed some offensive spark, one that included a big pass play to Kendrick Bourne. But a Nelson Agholor fumble gave the ball back to the Dolphins.
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With the good comes some more bad — 3:41 p.m.
Receiver Kendrick Bourne, who hadn’t had any opportunities so far this afternoon, hauled in a 41-yarder on the drive to give the New England offense a bit of a spark in the fourth quarter. Bourne’s catch got the Patriots to midfield, but a fumble by Nelson Agholor gave the ball back to Miami.
Patriots have a long way to go — 3:35 p.m.
With 5:59 left in the fourth quarter, the Patriots take over on their own 5-yard line.
Patriots misfire on fourth down — 3:27 p.m.
After a holding penalty on Trent Brown and an incomplete pass, the Patriots have turned the ball over on downs — Miami takes over with 9:38 left in regulation, and the Dolphins lead, 20-7.
Patriots’ defense does in fact hold — 3:20 p.m.
The Patriots’ defense got its second 3-and-out of the game, and New England has good field position (its own 43-yard line) with 11:07 to go. A touchdown here could quickly change the complexion of this one. We’ll see what happens.
Patriots’ defense needs to hold — 3:15 p.m.
There’s 12:47 to go, and Miami has the ball at its own 10-yard line. The Patriots defense has a to pitch a shutout the rest of the way if New England wants a chance at winning this game.
We’re on to the fourth quarter — 3:05 p.m.
The Patriots are down to 15 minutes to try and flip the script on the Dolphins.
After three quarters, Miami leads, 20-7. Here’s a look at the stats leaders:
Patriots: Mac Jones: 17-21, 149 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Damien Harris: 8 carries, 44 yards; Jakobi Meyers: 4 catches, 5 targets, 55 yards.
Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa: 18-24, 220 yards, 1 TD; Tyreek Hill: eight catches, 11 targets, 94 yards
Dolphins add 3 more — 3:04 p.m.
Jason Sanders connected on a 49-yard field goal to give the Dolphins a 20-7 lead with 19 seconds to go in the third quarter.
It was nice to hold Miami to a field goal, but because of their first-half issues — particularly that ugly breakdown at the end of the second quarter — the Patriots have left themselves very little margin for error. They can’t afford to yield anything else the rest of the way.
Patriots on the scoreboard — 2:54 p.m.
A Mac Jones to Ty Montgomery pass play with 4:44 left in the third quarter cut Miami’s lead to 17-7.
This looks more like what the Patriots are looking for, and what the New England offense looked like in the early stages of the first half. A 15-play, 92-yard gut check of a series that took 8:21 made it 17-7 with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
The Patriots’ offense started the drive nicely, with plays of six yards, nine yards, and 12 yards. After New England went no-huddle briefly, Meyers followed with a big first down when he hauled in a 12-yard reception. The Pats were helped when Miami was flagged for too many men on the field.
Another Miami gaffe — a penalty for illegal contact on defensive back Xavien Howard (makeup call?) — kept the drive alive. Jones made the Dolphins pay, finding Montgomery a few plays later for a six-yard touchdown pass.
Patriots dig in to open second half — 2:42 p.m.
The Patriots got the ball back at their own eight-yard line with 13:05 left in the third quarter. A good defensive stand for New England — let’s see if the offense can do anything with it.
Halftime analysis: Dolphins 17, Patriots 0 — 2:29 p.m.
Two quarters are in the books in Miami, and the Dolphins hold a 17-0 lead on the Patriots. Here are a few quick notes:
Patriots stats leaders: Mac Jones: 9-12, 87 yards, 1 INT; Jakobi Meyers: 2 catches, 3 targets, 36 yards; Rhamondre Stevenson: 5 carries, 25 yards
Dolphins stats leaders: Tua Tagovailoa: 13-18, 179 yards, 1 TD; Tyreek Hill: 6 catches, 8 targets, 77 yards; Jaylen Waddle: 2 catches, 2 targets, 50 yards, 1 TD
• The Patriots played the game at a manageable pace throughout much of the first two quarters. But a 42-yard touchdown strike from Tua to Jaylen Waddle just before the end of the first half radically changed the look of this one, especially when you consider the fact that Miami will get the ball to start the second half. Just an absolutely deflating touchdown, given the circumstances.
• The New England offense looked good early, as the Patriots stayed away from negative plays and kept the chains moving on the first drive. If defensive pass interference was called on the first-quarter interception — Parker was held pretty clearly — maybe things are different.
• Miami did well to take advantage of some New England gaffes and scored its first 10 points off turnovers, including Jones’s interception after the non-call and the strip sack (from Brandon Jones) deep in Patriots’ territory midway through the second quarter. Whether it was Miami picking up on some tendencies, or lack of execution on New England’s part, the Patriots really struggled on offense throughout much of the second quarter.
• It’s not necessarily exclusive, but Jonathan Jones followed Tyreek Hill pretty closely (with safety help over the top) so far. Hill has put up good numbers through the first two quarters, but we haven’t seen any home runs yet from the speedster. (Jones has given him plenty of cushion.) If you want a baseball analogy, it’s like holding Aaron Judge to singles instead of home runs. Kyle Dugger has also done his share of work, doing a nice job when it comes to wrapping up and making sure Hill doesn’t break a long run. Deatrich Wise also deserves a thumbs up for his pressure off the edge, while Mathew Judon delivered a big sack late in the second quarter.
• The defensive breakdown at the end of the half was particularly egregious, as Waddle found some space between New England defenders, made the catch and bolted for the end zone. Unforgivable for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it was a fourth-down play at the end of the half.
• Not much of note when it comes to special teams: Jake Bailey pinned the Dolphins back at their own six- and eight-yard lines at different times in the first half. Myles Bryant has served as the punt returner, while Ty Montgomery has lined up as the kick returner.
• Speaking of Montgomery, I see big things for him in this offense, if he can stay healthy. He caught a pass out of the backfield and lined up as the kick returner. Montgomery might be capable of doing a lot of the same things that Cordarrelle Patterson accomplished a few years ago.
• The Dolphins will get the ball to start the second half.
Dolphins strike on fourth down — 2:19 p.m.
The exact opposite of a defensive spark: a 42-yard touchdown strike from Tua to Jaylen Waddle makes it 17-0 with 18 seconds left in the first half.
The Dolphins’ final drive of the second quarter appeared to have fizzled at the Patriots’ 42 after Tagovailoa’s third-and-19 pass only netted 12 yards. But the Dolphins went for it on fourth down and Tagovailoa connected with Waddle on the touchdown pass play.
Gutsy call by Mike McDaniel to go for it on 4th and 7 frmo the 42. Would’ve been easy to punt the ball, pin the Patriots and take it into halftime.
Instead, slant pass to Waddle, two Patriots defenders knock each other down, and it’s a 42 yard TD for the Dolphins. Disastrous
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 11, 2022
Patriots struggling on offense — 2:06 p.m.
Whether it has been Miami picking up on some tendencies or a lack of execution, the Patriots have started to really struggle on offense. New England punts it away again — Miami will get the ball at its own eight-yard line with 4:05 left in the first half. The Patriots need a defensive spark here.
Dolphins get to Jones and score — 1:50 p.m.
The Dolphins lead, 10-0, after recovering a Mac Jones fumble for a touchdown with 7:34 left in the second quarter.
It was an awful sequence for the New England offense. Brandon Jones came screaming off the edge on Mac Jones, knocked the ball out, and Melvin Ingram scooped it up for the touchdown. It was a lightning bolt of a play that now puts the Patriots down by 10 with 7:34 left in the first half.
Patriots able to pressure Tagovailoa — 1:47 p.m.
After that last punt, the Patriots will start with the ball at their own 15-yard line. There’s 7:45 left in the first quarter, and Miami holds a 3-0 lead.
Deatrich Wise has done well to get pressure on the edge in the early going. He had a first-quarter sack, and almost got Tua on Miami’s last drive.
One of the things that Bill Belichick referenced in the 98.5 pregame show was that tackling and leverage will be key when it comes to slowing speedsters like Tyreek Hill, and Kyle Dugger has really shown up there over the first two quarters. It sounds simple, but squaring up and taking down fast guys like that is a learned skill, and Dugger has shown up nicely in the first two quarters. A big part of why we haven’t seen Hill connect on a long run thus far.
Good and bad signs — 1:39 p.m.
Impressive yards after the catch from Nelson Agholor on a third and 11 pickup by the Patriots early in the second quarter — 17 yards. He was helped by a great block on that play from Hunter Henry. But two negative plays (including a sack on Jones) and a false start penalty on Henry pushed New England back. Jake Bailey delivered a nice punt on his first chance of the year, and the Dolphins will take possession at their one six-yard line with 14:07 left in the first half.
End of first quarter: Dolphins 3, Patriots 0 — 1:32 p.m.
Mac Jones: 6-for-7, 49 yards, 1 INT
Rhamondre Stevenson: 4 carries. 29 yards
Nelson Agholor: 1 catch. 1 target, 17 yards
Patriots trying to beat the heat — 1:31 p.m.
Dolphins score first, lead 3-0 — 1:24 p.m.
After gaining possession on an interception, the Dolphins’ first drive stalled on the Patriots’ 25.
Miami’s Jason Sanders connected on a 43-yard field goal with 4:05 left in the first quarter to open the scoring — 11 plays,. 47 yards, and it took 5:47.
A couple of quick notes:
• On fourth and inches, a neutral zone infraction from Carl Davis kept the Miami drive alive. Flags and generally undisciplined football were an issue for the Patriots in the preseason, and that penalty was a killer on that drive for New England.
• Great shoestring tackle from Adrian Phillips on Raheem Mostert on Miami’s first play in New England’s red zone. That was followed by some great pressure off the edge from Deatrich Wise on third down. Good red-zone defense in the early going for the Patriots.
First look at Patriots’ defense — 1:17 p.m.
Patriots D starts out in a 3-3-5 with three safeties. Jonathan Jones lines up over Tyreek Hill
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 11, 2022
Dolphins intercept a tipped pass — 1:11 p.m.
The Patriots were driving on their opening possession, but Mac Jones’s pass into the end zone was tipped and intercepted.
That was a brutal way to end what was a pretty promising drive, as Jones had a ball intended for DeVante Parker in the end zone batted away by Xavien Howard and picked off by Jevon Holland. Miami gets the ball at its own 28-yard line.
Have to rewatch the game to take a closer look, but in the early going (at least before the pick), it didn’t look like the Patriots’ offensive line had many problems, zone blocking scheme or no. New England didn’t have a negative play on the opening drive, with multiple plays of five yards or more. (The biggest gain was a 12-yard run from Damien Harris.)
On the replay of Jones’ interception on the ball in the end zone for Parker, it was pretty clear Howard had Parker’s jersey. Rough non-call there, and it came back to bite the Patriots.
That was actually a promising start for the Patriots’ offense until the INT. 58 yards, 4 first downs, and never got to third down. Let’s see if they can keep it up
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 11, 2022
Interesting choices — 1:05 p.m.
Probably reading too much into this, but the idea of Bill Belichick wearing white on the sidelines got me thinking: for many years, one or two New England coaches would wear different colors than the rest of the staff the sideline to make sure they stood out when it came to getting the attention of those on the field. It is hot, but Belichick and Joe Judge both wearing white — and Matt Patricia in blue — could provide a clue when it comes to who Mac Jones needs to keep an eye out for this afternoon.
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Official Price Prediction — 12:54 p.m.
I’ve been waffling all week on this game. The Patriots in Miami have never been an ideal mix, you toss in the face that Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 against Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and this sets up as a real challenge for New England. (Of course, you never know how a rookie head coach is going to do when it comes to his first career game as a head coach. And I’m not 100 percent sold on the Mike McDaniel-Tua combination.)
In the end, I’m probably buying into the Miami myth a little too much — it just seems like the Patriots struggle all the time down there — but I think the Dolphins are going to win this one, just barely.
Belichick praises Miami’s skill position players — 12:42 p.m.
Some takeaways from Bill Belichick’s pregame chat with Scott Zolak on 98.5 The Sports Hub:
• He had plenty of good things to say about the Miami offensive skill position players, including Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. “Two very explosive players. You’re not going to catch those guys from behind … Maintaining our leverage and finishing on tackles will be important.”
• Traveling to Miami earlier in the week was a positive move on the part of the team: “We had a good week,” he said. “It’s opening day — everyone is excited to get going.”
• He was asked about the health of some players, including Isaiah Wynn and Jakobi Meyers, and whether they might be limited in terms of game reps. “I think we’ll have everybody ready to go.”
• This is the first game for new Miami coach Mike McDaniel. Is it hard preparing to face a new head coach without that body of work to look at? A lot of that comes down to the fact that it’s opening day. “Even for teams that you know what they do,” he said. “It comes down to fundamentals. … That’s usually where the games, especially at this time of year, are won and lost.”
What are the odds? — 12:22 p.m.
The majority of betting lines have the Dolphins as anywhere between a 3- and 3.5-point favorite for Sunday’s game, a relatively familiar line for a season opener with so much uncertainty.
On another note, BetOnline sent over some of their Patriots-related odds for the 2022 season.
To win the Super Bowl: 50/1 (21 of 32 teams)
To win the AFC: 25/1 (12/16)
To win the AFC East: 5/1 (3/4)
Regular Season Wins – Over/Under: 8.5
MVP Odds – Mac Jones: 50/1
Most Passing Yards – Mac Jones: 40/1
Passing TD Leader – Mac Jones: 50/1
Most Interceptions – Mac Jones: 16/1
Rushing Leader – Damien Harris: 25/1
Rushing TD Leader – Damien Harris: 16/1
Sack Leader – Matthew Judon: 33/1
Defensive Player of the Year – Matthew Judon: 66/1
Coach of the Year – Bill Belichick: 28/1
Pregame scenes — 12:09 p.m.
Here’s a look inside Hard Rock Stadium from Globe reporter Jim McBride and photographer Barry Chin during the pregame hours.
Barry Chin/Globe StaffBarry Chin/Globe Staff
Watching the special teams warm up and the punters and kickers from both the #Patriots and #Dolphins are putting on a show as the ball is soaring in the stifling heat. Nick Folk hit a 58-yarder with room to spare.
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) September 11, 2022
Tagovailoa vs. Belichick — 12:03 p.m.
For all the talk of Bill Belichick’s success against younger quarterbacks, the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa appears intent on bucking that trend. You can argue the validity of “quarterback wins” as a worthwhile stat, but Tagovailoa’s 3-0 mark against Belichick is interesting. (The last Miami quarterback to get to four wins against Bill Belichick? Jay Fiedler.)
On Sunday, he can be the first quarterback to win four games against Belichick in his first four starts – he can also tie John Elway for the most QB wins without a loss against Belichick (including playoffs).
A closer look at the Patriots inactives — 11:48 a.m.
Quarterback Baily Zappe: Makes sense, as the youngster is the third quarterback on the roster.
Safety Joshuah Bledsoe: The youngster, who was limited all week with a groin issue, will sit against Miami. The guess here is that given his relative inexperience and the safety depth chart (which stocked with veterans), Bledsoe takes more than his fair share of scratches this year, healthy or otherwise.
Cornerback Shaun Wade: In his second season with New England, Wade was limited on Friday with an ankle issue. He was a frequent scratch last season, likely because he was a late addition to the roster and spent the start of the year getting up to speed in the system. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of role he might play this year at a position where New England has sustained offseason personnel losses.
Running back Pierre Strong: A healthy scratch — he wasn’t on the injury report all week. Like Bledsoe, Strong is a youngster at one of the greatest positions of depth for the Patriots. No knock on the fourth-round pick out of South Dakota State, but if New England remains healthy at running back, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him take an awful lot of healthy scratches this season. (If you are gambling on this year’s winner of the Shane Vereen/Trey Flowers/James White Redshirt Award, Strong might be your guy.) Notable that veteran Ty Montgomery is healthy and good to go.
Outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings: A healthy scratch — he wasn’t on the injury report all week. Could speak to New England’s depth on the outside, but it is interesting to see, as he was working with the starters frequently throughout training camp.
Guard Chasen Hines: Another healthy scratch. Hines’s primary spot is likely left guard, which means he’s behind first-round pick Cole Strange.
Defensive tackle Sam Roberts: The fifth healthy scratch on the list. Roberts, a rookie out of Northwest Missouri State, is behind some established veterans along the interior, a group that includes Lawrence Guy.
The notable actives include wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, running back Ty Montgomery, and right tackle Isaiah Wynn, all of whom were listed as questionable on the team’s final injury report Friday.
Inactives — 11:33 a.m.
Patriots: RB Pierre Strong, LB Anfernee Jennings, CB Shaun Wade, S Joshuah Bledsoe, DE Sam Roberts, OL Chasen Hines, QB Bailey Zappe.
Dolphins: CB Noah Igbinoghene, WR Erik Ezukanma, RB Salvon Ahmed, TE Tanner Conner, QB Skylar Thompson, LB Trey Flowers, S Eric Rowe
Weather forecast — 11:20 a.m.
It’s going to be an interesting day, weather-wise, in Miami. (Isn’t it always when the Patriots visit?) According to our pals at weather.com, it’s going to be partly cloudy with highs in the lower 90s this afternoon, but there will be a chance of isolated thunderstorms starting at 3 p.m.
Dealing with the heat is difficult enough, but having to also worry about rain is another wrinkle both teams could be forced to work through this afternoon.
Speaking of heat and playing in Miami, I have two thoughts:
One, when it comes to dealing with the conditions, the biggest key for New England will be to get consistent performances from the second- and third-stringers. You’re going to have to cycle through a lot of players today because of the conditions — you can’t afford a lot of drop-off when you go to them. As a backup, you always prepare as if you are going to play, but you really have to be mindful of that on a day like today.
Two, this stat stood out for me:
Patriots at Dolphins since 2000 (under Bill Belichick): 9-13
Dec/Jan games: 2-9
All other months: 7-4
Yes, Patriots have struggled in Miami but they have been much better in games played earlier in the year.
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) September 6, 2022
What to watch for this afternoon — 11:10 a.m.
• Patriots coach Bill Belichick enters Sunday’s game with 321 career wins — 290 in the regularseason and 31 in the postseason (31). He’s third on the all-time list for regular-season wins, behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318). If you including playoff victories in the all-time, a victory today against Miami would put him two behind Halas (318 regular-season wins and six playoff wins), 324 to 322.
• Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has 3,801 career passing yards. If he throws for 146 yards or more against Miami, he’ll move past Matt Cassel (3,946) into eighth place on New England’s all-time passing list.
• Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers has scored on three two-point plays and needs one more two-point score to tie Julian Edelman and Gino Cappelletti with four for the most in team history.
• Sunday’s game against the Dolphins will mark the beginning of special teams specialist Matthew Slater’s 15th season in the NFL. He will Join Tom Brady (20), Steve Grogan (16), Troy Brown (15), and Julius Adams (15) as the only New England players to play in at least 15 seasons with the team.
• If kicker Nick Folk connects on his first field-goal attempt from inside 50 yards against the Dolphins, he’ll tie the longest streak in the NFL for field goals from inside the 50. Ryan Succop made 56 straight from inside 50 yards from 2014-2017 while with Tennessee.
Pregame reading — 11:00 a.m.
Best way to get set for all the action? Get caught up here with your pregame reading list.
• Shaughnessy: Bill Belichick voices support for Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as Patriots get set to open their season
• Volin: Here are the most overhyped and underrated teams heading into the NFL season
• Finn: Too many questions linger ahead of the Patriots’ season opener vs. the Dolphins
• McBride: Inside the Patriots’ zone blocking scheme with an expert: Dante Scarnecchia
• Volin: Faith is low in Patriots, and one way or the other, it’s all on Bill Belichick’s shoulders
• Yang: Patriots elevate Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Harvey Langi from practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins
• Yang: Patriots tackle Isaiah Wynn dismisses trade reports, says he’s focused on playing
• Yang: DeVante Parker may be facing his former team, but the Patriots receiver is looking toward the future
• McBride: 2022 Patriots preview: Evaluating the position groups
• Gasper: One thing Bill Belichick shouldn’t have to worry about is getting fired
Christopher Price can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.