FOXBORO — The Patriots just wrapped up a 27-17 win over the Dolphins here at Gillette. We’ll have more shortly, but here are a few quick notes:
- With the victory, New England (6-2) now gains some separation in the AFC East race, going up two games on the second-place Jets (4-4) and sending Miami (3-5) to its first divisional loss of the season. In addition, it was the first road loss in the division for the Dolphins under coach Tony Sparano.
- Tom Brady ended up 25-for-37 for 332 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Randy Moss had six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown and Laurence Maroney had 20 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown. Miami’s Chad Henne was 19-for-34 for 219 yards, while wide receiver Davone Bess had six catches for 56 yards.
- Joey Porter’s line? No tackles. We’re interested to see what he has to say after the game. (In the final moments of the game, he was serenaded with a derisive “Joey!” chant from the fans who were left.)
- Offensively, the highlight of the day for the Patriots was the 71-yard pass play from Brady to Moss, where the wide receiver made a nice grab over the middle, delivered a classic stiff-arm to Miami cornerback Vontae Davis and took off, going 61 yards after the catch for the score. A great play for Moss. (Moss also had an impressive one-handed 36-yard reception in the first half that set up a score.) It was en eventful day for Moss, as the Patriots took a few shots downfield for No. 81 early. On the first attempt, Davis came away with a nice interception. On the second, Davis had a nice pass defensed.
- Miami’s Wildcat wasn’t much of a factor on the day. The Dolphins didn’t use it until the second quarter — they ran three Wildcat plays in the first half and were held to 11 yards. The longest Wildcat play from scrimmage was a 12-yard rush for Ricky Williams, and the worst of the day was an 11-yard sack New England’s Adalius Thomas got on Henne, who was split wide as part of a reverse. The Dolphins were able to add a wrinkle to things, using backup quarterback Pat White effectively in a Wildcat-type situation. (He used the option nicely, and was able to gain some good yardage on the ground for Miami.)
- Thomas had a really good afternoon. He was active in coverage, and came through with one of the best defensive plays of the day, the 11-yard sack of Henne on a third-down reverse that snuffed out a second-half Dolphins’ drive. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown, which was called back on a Miami challenge.
- In all, it was a good afternoon for the New England defense, which was in a 3-4 for most of the afternoon (with Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork on the end and Mike Wright or Myron Pryor on the nose) and was on the field a lot throughout the third and fourth quarters (Miami had a 10-minute scoring drive to open the third quarter) but held the Dolphins to just one second-half touchdown.
- The Patriots were able to hold Miami kick returner Ted “Jesus Christ” Ginn Jr. in check for the afternoon — the Dolphins’ best field position after a kickoff was their own 37, thanks in large part to Stephen Gostkowski’s big leg. It was a good day for Gostkowski, who also had four field goals on the afternoon (30, 38, 34 and 40 yards).