The Miami Dolphins came to Foxborough Sunday night fresh off a thrilling win at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Buit the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick were looking to slow down, arguably, the fastest team in the NFL.
Raheem Mostert stole the show in prime time as he rushed for 121 yards on 18 carries (6.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel took full advantage of coach Bill Belichick’s elite defensive schemes.
“It was – you know, I think he was hard to tackle. And I think that he – that was a huge boost, especially the way they were playing,” McDaniel said.”We needed the line of scrimmage. And you have to take advantage of overplay. So if they’re overplaying the pass game, if you want to be a good offense, you have to threaten them with the run.”
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa also recognized that it would take a team effort for the run game to be successful against such a sound and disciplined defense,
“That’s a testament to all the guys he’s surrounded by,” Tagovaiola said. “It’s a testament to Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Rob Hunt. Austin Jackson – I’m going to keep naming them – Connor Williams. We’ve got Isaiah Wynn. We’ve got Kendall Lamm, Alec Ingold. It’s a testament to all those guys with, you know, those guys basically telling us, ‘ Hey, if you’re going to beat us, you’re going to have to run the ball.”
Despite the absence of pro-bowl starting left tackle Terron Armstead, corner Jalen Ramsey and outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips, amongst other notable players, the Dolphins were dominant. They ran the ball effectively and got key stops and takeaways on defense to come out on top for the second consecutive game on the road to open the season.
“ I believe it says a lot,” Tagovaiola said. “Kendall [Lamm] has done a tremendous job. [Andrew Van Ginkel] has done a tremendous job….They keep their head down. They don’t talk much, but they let their play do the talking.”
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle combined for 126 receiving yards and continue to be one of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Hill did not get as many yards as he did last week but he did find the endzone for the second consecutive contest. Waddle caught four balls for 86 yards and averaged 21.5 yards per catch.
Similar to last week, the Patriots found themselves one possession away from extending the game into overtime or winning with a touchdown and two-point conversion. But quarterback Mac Jones and company could not move down the field quickly enough to reach the end zone. Linebacker Bradley Chubb sacked Jones on the final drive of the game, putting the Patriots even further from the red zone.
Tagovaiola remains unbeaten against Belichick and the Patriots. The Fins (2-0) look to win their third game in a row as they take on the Denver Broncos (0-2) at Hard Rock Stadium for their home opener next Sunday. The Broncos had little trouble putting points on the board and moving the ball downfield last week after putting up 33 points against the Washington Commanders.
“I think our team is 5 and 0 against Bill Belichick,” Tagovaiola said. “Every time we face Coach Belichick’s team, it’s always a challenge. And we know we’re going to get their best.”