|09.07.14 at 2:33 pm ET|
We’re at halftime in the season opener between the Patriots and Dolphins, and New England holds a 20-10 lead. Here are a couple of quick notes:
— Offensively, New England has gotten a big day from quarterback Tom Brady (19-for-29, 187 yards, 1 touchdown), wide receiver Julian Edelman (6 catches, 95 yards; 2 rushes, 21 yards) and running back Shane Vereen (5 rushes, 18 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 18 yards). In addition, Stephen Gostkowski connected with a pair of field goals.
— The Patriots took advantage of three straight turnovers from the Miami offense and created a big cushion in the first half, busting out to a double-digit lead. It was a bit of a rocky start, however: Following the Patriots stalling out on their first offensive series, Ryan Allen had the first punt of his career blocked. After he tried to collect a bad snap from Danny Aiken, he didn’t get the ball off in time, and Chris McCain busted through for the block. Four plays later, Ryan Tannehill found Lamar Miller off a nice play fake for a 4-yard pass play to give Miami the lead with just under 12 minutes left in the opening quarter.
— The Patriots responded with a steady and consistent drive, going 13 plays and covering 80 yards and ending with a 2-yard run up the middle from Vereen for a touchdown to tie the game at seven. On the drive, the Patriots got 44 of a possible 80 yards from Vereen and Edelman, who figure to be the main offensive options as long as Rob Gronkowski is limited.
— On the next Miami series, Jamie Collins delivered a colossal hit on wide receiver Mike Wallace late in the first quarter, which jarred the ball loose and created the first forced turnover of the year for the New England defense. The Patriots were unable to push that in, and had to settle for a 47-yard field goal from Gostkowski near the end of the first quarter to make it 10-7.
— The Patriots defense followed that up with another impressive defensive play, forcing a takeaway when Tannehill tossed a ball that was picked up Alfonzo Dennard. (Dont’a Hightower delivered some nice pressure there that ultimately led to the bad throw, which caused the pick.) The New England offense then turned that around, going 11 plays and 94 yards on a drive that ended with a 6-yard pass from Brady to Gronkowski for his first touchdown of the year.
— The Dolphins turned it over again on their next series when Lamar Miller lost the hand when he was hit by Logan Ryan. Darrelle Revis recovered the fumble — the Patriots weren’t able to cash that one in. Miami collected the punt and went 11 plays and 55 yards before settling for a 38-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis to make it 17-10 before the end of the half. (The Patriots took a couple of ill-timed penalties which helped the Dolphins continue their drive, including a facemask penalty on rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley.)
— New England got the ball back down the stretch and took a couple of shots at the end zone, but the Patriots had to settle for a 45-yarder from Gostkowski to end of the half.
— The Patriots did a lot of shuffling, likely in hopes of beating the heat. There were multiple packages along the interior of the offensive line, a grouping that included Jordan Devey, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Marcus Cannon at guard and center. For the most part, the grouping held up OK in pass protection, but there were still some issues against a good Miami front.
|09.07.14 at 12:15 pm ET|
Follow all the action — as well as WEEI.com and WEEI personalities — as the Patriots kick off their season in South Florida, taking on the Dolphins …
|09.07.14 at 11:48 am ET|
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Josh Kline will not be the starting left guard for the Patriots in their season opener. The offensive lineman was one of the team’s seven inactive players for the contest against the Dolphins.
Also inactive is second-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson, not a surprise as he played his only game in the preseason finale against the Giants.
The other five inactives for the Patriots are offensive lineman Bryan Stork, linebacker Darius Fleming, defensive linemen Chris Jones and Michael Buchanan and running back James White.
This means that tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui will be active as will defensive tackles Sealver Siliga and Dominique Easley.
As for the Dolphins, their inactives include center Mike Pouncey, linebackers Philip Wheeler and Jordan Tripp, defensive lineman Bruce Gaston (picked up off waivers from Patriots earlier in the week) Jason Fox and Billy Turner and defensive end Terrence Fede.
|09.07.14 at 11:37 am ET|
On the self-talk going on in his head as he gets ready to start his 15th season:
“A lot of it is really, ‘God Tom, you’re not very good, you have to work harder at this; what are you doing, that was a bad play.’ I think that’s a lot of motivation for me is to always feel like I have to prove it to myself first. Every day in practice I’m trying to make the right throws, the right reads, the right footwork, the right emotional level because to sustain that for four or five months over the course of the season is a tough thing to do. But you have to do it; you have to find the balance. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy thing to do but if you want to play this position at a high level, you have to commit to those things.”
On if it feels like it’s been 10 years since the Patriots last won the Super Bowl:
“Yeah, it does feel like a long time. I think to win that last game of the year, that’s what we’re all trying to be able to do at some point. You don’t play this game to come in second place. I’m proud of the fact that we are in it and we got a chance every year, but I don’t think anyone is going to be satisfied around here until we close the deal.”
Read the rest of this entry »
|09.07.14 at 11:07 am ET|
Rob Gronkowski is expected to play Sunday against the Dolphins but on a limited basis, according to a report from Pro Football Talk.
The big tight end, who did not play in the preseason after suffering a season-ending knee injury last December, was listed as questionable on the Patriots injury report Friday.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|09.07.14 at 10:56 am ET|
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — James White was the first Patriots player on the field Sunday morning at about 10:15, nearly three hours before kickoff, running laps around the field.
Who could blame him for getting a head start on his warmups.
White attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in nearby Fort Lauderdale, and was a part of the 2009 St. Thomas Aquinas mythical high school “National Championship” team. At Aquinas he primarily split time with Bengals tailback Giovani Bernard.
“My freshman year, my high school played in the state championship [at Sun Life],” White said of returning to field the Patriots will be on Sunday.
“I do have a lot of family in the area and I expect most of them to come to the game. It’ll definitely be great for me.”
As it turned out, White watched Sunday from the sidelines, as he was inactive for the game. Still, White feels the preseason has prepared him for the experience of eventually playing in a regular season game.
“The preseason games definitely help,” he said. “It’s definitely an experience that, especially for a rookie, you can’t take for granted. It definitely gets you ready for this first game. But at the same time, it antes up a little bit, that first game, first regular season game, especially against a division opponent like the Dolphins.”
White played in all four preseason games, carrying the ball 29 times for 80 yards while returning two kickoffs for an 18-yard average.
“You have to stay level-headed. You’re going to be excited,” he said. “It’s your first game but at the same time, if you get an opportunity to play you just want to go out there and do your job. Of course there’s excitement but at the same time you have to stay level-headed.
“It’ll definitely mean a lot. It’s something you dream about all your life, to get an opportunity to play in the NFL. You just want to go out there and make the most of it.”
|09.07.14 at 9:23 am ET|
Join Pete Davidson of WEEI.com and Rotobahn.com for a live Fantasy Football chat, starting at 11 a.m. Get all your questions in as Davidson offers advice as to how you should set your lineup for Week 1.
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