|Trags’ Take… Dolphins post-game||09.21.08 at 4:10 pm ET|
“Let’s be honest here. Barring turnovers, there is no way the Patriots lose this game. The Patriots have too much talent, too much experience, too much depth and the urgency to head into their bye week with a 3-0 record.” Football expert Mike Petraglia on Patriots-Dolphins in Trag’s Take.
Those were the words that this intrepid yet naive reporter wrote and those were the words that Dolphins scout Tony Hunt read as we chatted at Boston College on Saturday during the Eagles’ 34-7 win over Central Florida.
In the words of Janie, my eight-year-old daughter, whoopsie.
Here’s how every prognosticator was proved wrong on Sunday:
1. The Patriots defense could not handle a college formation. You rarely see an NFL defense, let alone one coached by Bill Belichick, unable to handle an option spread because in the NFL linebackers are usually just too fast. But on Sunday, the Dolphins were able to get good seals on the ends and open big running lanes for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. The two combined for 33 carries and 211 yards. And, oh yeah, four rushing touchdowns and one throwing.
“We had trouble with a lot of things,” Belichick said. “That was one of them. We had trouble a lot.”
2. The Dolphins DID play keep away, controlling the ball for 32 minutes, 33 seconds to New England’s 27 minutes, 27 seconds. Once the Dolphins were up, 21-6, they moved the first down markers at an alarming rate.
3. Matt Cassel was forced into a position that the Patriots didn’t want to see. He was forced to make big plays from behind. He wound up 19-for-31 for just 131 yards and a five-yard TD to Jabar Gaffney. His quarterback rating was just 68.1.
4. The lone bright spot was Ellis Hobbs. He set a new team record with 237 yards on six kickoff returns, including an 81-yarder in the third that gave New England its only glimmer of hope in the second half.
5. How serious is Laurence Maroney’s shoulder injury? This all of sudden becomes a bigger question, with Sammy Morris held to 27 yards on nine carries and a hobbled Lamont Jordan (foot) limited to 22 yards on six carries.
So, Tony Hunt came up to me at the end, and I offered my mea culpa. Along with the rest of New England. We were wrong about these Miami Dolphins. The question remains, what does it say about the New England Patriots? The Pats have the bye week to start answering that question for themselves.
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