What appeared to be a solidifying win for the Patriots on Sunday nearly turned into a nightmare.
The first half couldn’t have gone better. The Patriots scored 21 unanswered points with Jimmy Garoppolo thriving at the helm in Tom Brady’s absence. Garoppolo scored on the Pats first three drives- two passes to wide receiver Danny Amendola and one to tight end Martellus Bennett. The defensive was doing their job as well and holding the Dolphins to only three points in the first half.
All looked excellent in Foxboro, and then came the hit. Late in the second quarter Garoppolo was scrambling in the pocket and rolled to his right, and was able to complete the pass to wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell before taking a shot from the Dolphins’ linebacker Kiko Alonso. Garappolo landed hard on his throwing shoulder and the packed stadium that was cheering moments ago fell silent as their fears for the season came flooding back.
Garoppolo left the game in obvious discomfort and would not return. After a stellar first half of three touchdowns and 234 yards, all anyone could wonder was how serious the injury would be.
What no one expected was to see the defense fall apart the way it did in the second half.
The Patriots were up 31-3 in the third quarter with the defense shutting down both the running and passing games. In what seemed to be a split second, the Dolphins scored 21 points on three straight drives. The defense wasn’t marking there men, and the lead went from huge to only seven late in the fourth quarter.
The defense stopped doing there job it’s plain and simple. It was clear they really missed having Dont’a Hightower out there. In the past the defense has struggled to stop teams on 3rd downs and to close out games, but to give away 21 straight points and come so close to giving away the game was crazy.
If there’s one thing the fans can count on it’s that Head Coach Bill Belichick and Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia will address and fix the issue right away.
Rookie Jacoby Brissett took over and was able to clinch the win for the Patriots 31-24 and lead them to 2-0. The Pats have a short week and take on the undefeated Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium Thursday at 8:30pm.