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It doesn't get much better for the New England Patriots in Week 1, as Tom Brady threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns in the Pats' 38-24 win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday night at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL.
Brady set several records in the process, breaking the Patriots' single game passing yards record and throwing for the fifth-most yards in a game in NFL history. In addition, Brady became the 15th player in NFL history to reach 3,000 completions. In addition, Brady and Welker tied the record for longest pass play in league history of 99 1/2 yards.
"Well, it was a good night in that sense," Brady said of the monster stat night. "I thought we executed pretty well at times. Look, it's a team sport, man. Those guys were catching the ball and making some great plays, Aaron [Hernandez], Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], Chad [Ochocinco], Deion [Branch], Wes. There were a lot of tough looks out there that we got and guys really stayed aware of the situations and we made enough plays to win and that's the goal. We were coming down here to win and this is always a tough place to play." (via WEEI)
You could call it Brady Being Brady. Or you could call it an old fashioned shootout. Any way you slice it, the Patriots started off the 2011 regular season right where they left off the last.
Tom Brady showed off his reigning league-MVP mettle, throwing for a record 517 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Pats to a 38-24 victory over the Dolphins on Monday night. Aiding those numbers was an incredible 99 yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker, tied for the longest in NFL history.
Welker was the night's leading receiver with 8 receptions for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Deion Branch held his own with 93 yards on 7 receptions.
Breakout stars Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski looked as vital as ever to the Patriots' offensive production, combining for 13 receptions and 189 yards. Gronkowski added a touchdown on the evening, reminding everyone of his reputation as a major red zone target.
The New England defense definitely looks to be working out some kinks, allowing Chad Henne alone to rush for 59 yards on 7 carries including a nearly 9 yard rushing touchdown on the opening drive of the game.
The defensive backs were the bright spot on their side of the ball, with Devin McCourty and Pat Chung lead the defense with 11 and 9 tackles respectively, including a Chung sack. It's also worth noting that Kyle Arrington intercepted Chad Henne in the red zone to end the game and prevent a possible garbage-time score.
With the loss, the Dolphins have dropped 10 of their last 11 home games. Despite having a top ten league defense in 2010, the Dolphins were outscored by the Patriots 79-21 in their two meetings. Tonight's shellacking continues to expose Coach Sparano's issues combating the high-powered New England offense.
After the game, Brady was asked about how he could follow up his performance with an encore.
"Well, it was a good night in that sense, we executed pretty well at times," he said. "Look, it's a team sport. Those guys were making some great plays catching the ball. Aaron (Hernandez), Gronk, Chad (Ochocinco), Deion (Branch), Wes. There was a lot of tough looks out there that we got and guys really stayed aware of the situations. We made enough plays to win. That's the goal."
Brady also went on to talk about the in-game injury to offensive lineman Dan Koppen, speaking about the loss and describing their relationship.
"I think he and I have a great chemistry between the two of us, we always have. He's one of my great friends, and hopefully he's back at some point."
The Patriots now look ahead to Sunday, when they will make their 2011 debut at Gillette Stadium against the San Diego Chargers at 4:15 p.m.
Tom Brady threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns as the New England Patriots stomped the Miami Dolphins, 38-23, in front of a national audience on ESPN's Monday Night Football at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.
It was a night of records for Brady, who became the 16th player to have 3,000 career completions and set a Patriots record for most passing yards in a game. Brady's 517 passing yards were also fifth most in a single game in history.
New England (1-0) scored a touchdown in the first and second quarters before putting up 14 points in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth. The Patriots had 622 total yards (517 passing, 106 rushing) in the Week 1 victory. Dating back to last season, New England has now outscored Miami 117-44 in the last three meetings.
Wes Welker racked up 160 receiving yards and two touchdowns on eight catcher while Aaron Hernandez finished with seven catches for 103 yards and one touchdown. Danny Woodhead led the Pats rushing game, running for 69 yards on 14 carries.
Chad Henne had a stellar game for Miami (0-1), completing 30-of-49 passes for 416 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 139 yards and also ran for 59 yards and a score on seven carries. Reggie Bush had 11 carries for 38 yards and nine catches for 56 yards and one touchdown.
Tom Brady started off his eleventh NFL regular season in style Monday night against the Miami Dolphins. Brady had 517 passing yards in the Patriots 38-24 win, which ranks him fifth all time among NFL quarterbacks for passing yards in a single game.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots added to the 28-17 lead they brought into the quarter with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The field goal capped a nine play, 62 yard drive that saw Brady connecting several times with Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez.
A fruitless drive by Chad Henne and the Dolphins was followed up by a similarly brief drive by the Patriots. Upon their next posession, the Dolphins went on a 77 yard drive that stymied itself at the New England one yard marker. Henne had passed the ball to Davonne Best, who thought he had crossed the red end zone marker, but the officials thought otherwise. Henne couldn’t convert after the play’s review, and the Dolphins walked away from the drive without points to show for it.
It was the play after the Dolphins resulting punt that would go down in the record books. Starting off on the Patriots’ one yard line, Brady sailed the ball to Wes Welker, who ran 99 yards for a touchdown. The play tied the NFL record for the longest play from scrimmage. Gostkowski kicked for the extra point, and the Patriots were finished scoring for the evening.
Reggie Bush would score his first touchdown as a member of the Dolphins on the next drive, giving the Dolphins 24 points on the night.
Brady’s yard total was a record for Monday Night Football. Welker finished the night leading the receiving for the Patriots, with 160 yards and 2 touchdowns. The running game was not used much by the Patriots, as BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a quiet evening and Danny Woodhead lead the team in rushing with 69 yards.
Not to be overlooked was Henne’s scrappy play on the evening. He was like a weeble – the Patriots defenders just kept beating him up, including a massive hit delivered by Vince Wilfork, but Henne just kept getting up and playing. He finished the night with a not-too-shabby 416 passing yards.
After the long Patriots touchdown on the previous drive, the Dolphins answered with a touchdown of their own. With just eight plays and 74 total yards, the Dolphins reached the endzone via a Reggie Bush receiving touchdown.
The Patriots now lead the Dolphins, 38-24, late in the fourth quarter
After stopping the Dolphins on fourth and goal inside the one yard line, the Patriots got back to work on the offensive side of the ball. Pinned in his own endzone, Tom Brady connected with Wes Welker for a 99-yard touchdown. This one seems a bit out of reach if you are a Dolphins fan.
The Patriots now lead the Dolphins, 38-17, late in the fourth quarter
With just a little over 11 minutes to go in this one, the Patriots continue to wear down this Miami defense. New England needed just 9 plays and 62 yards to give kicker Stephen Gostkowski inside the redzone for a 20-yard field goal.
The Patriots now hold a 31-17 lead over Miami, early in the fourth quarter.
The third quarter saw two New England Patriots touchdowns as they took a 28-17 lead over the Miami Dolphins.
Tom Brady was intercepted by the Dolphins’s Jared Odrick on the Patriots’ first drive of the second half. Miami took advantage and tied the game on the resulting drive, as quarterback Chris Henne hit up Brian Hartline for a ten yard touchdown pass. The draw was short lived, as Brady moved the Patriots down the field on the drive immediately following. A ten play, 69 yard drive resulted in a Brady short pass to Wes Welker to give the Patriots 21-14 lead.
The Dolphins scored a field goal on their next possession, bringing the score to 21-17. But Brady and receiver Deion Branch connected on two key plays to move the Patriots’ offense downfield. Brady connected with Aaron Hernandez for what seemed to be a 31 yard touchdown reception, but the call was overturned. Undeterred, Brady connected again with Hernandez for a 30 yard reception to bring them to the Dolphins’ one yard line and then tossed a short pass to Hernandez for the touchdown, giving the Patriots a 28-17 lead.
For the exception of one unlucky turnover, New England’s offense has been almost unstoppable tonight. The Patriots were able to drive down the field for 78 yards on just 8 plays. The drive ended on a one-yard touchdown from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez in the back of the endzone.
The Patriots now lead the Dolphins, 28-17 late in the third quarter.
Containing Chad Henne and the Dolphins offense has been somewhat of a struggle for the Patriots defense all night. The Pats defense again allowed the Dolphins to drive down the field for 87 yards on ten plays. Luckily, all Miami came away with was a 20-yard Dan Carpenter Field Goal.
The Patriots still lead the Dolphins, 21-17 late in the third quarter.
Following a drive that ended in an interception, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense returned to the field for a redemption drive. They did just that as Tom Brady hooked up with Wes Welker for a two-yard touchdown to give the Patriots the 21-14 lead over Miami. New England needed just 10 plays and 73 yards to get there.
The Patriots lead Miami, 21-14 late in the third quarter.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Patriot fans saw something they probably won’t see a lot of this season; a Tom Brady interception. On a quick screen, Brady’s pass was tipped and intercepted by defensive lineman Jared Odrick and returned to the New England nine yard line.
The Dolphins capitalized and put together a two play scoring drive that culminated in a Chad Henne to Brian Hartline 10-yard touchdown. The Dolphins and Patriots are now tied, 14-14 early in the third quarter.
The New England Patriots took a 14-7 lead over the Miami Dolphins into halftime Monday night after a second quarter that was puncuated by key injuries to each team and a missed field goal.
The Patriots drove 65 yards on a seven play drive to kick off the second quarter. The drive was capped by a Tom Brady pass to Rob Gronkowski for the go-ahead touchdown. A Stephen Gostkowski field goal completed the drive.
Miami could not make anything of two drives in the second quarter. The Patriots went downfield on a ten play drive to close out the second quarter, but a field goal attempt by Gostkowski was wide right.
Brady has 211 yards passing on the evening thus far. Gronkowski is leading the Patriots in receiving so far this evening with 5 receptions for 71 yards and one touchdown. Danny Woodhead is leading the team in rushing, with 41 yards.
Patriots starting center Dan Koppen suffered a left leg injury at the end of the second quarter that resulted in him being carted off the field. According to ESPN, he had x-rays upon entering the locker room. Long time Dolphins defender Jason Taylor went down with a lower leg injury just a few plays later.
Late in the 2nd quarter with the Patriots leading the Dolphins 14-7, Dan Koppen was taken off the field on a stretcher with what appeared to be a left knee injury. Replays showed that Miami linebacker Karlos Dansby rolled up on Koppen during the play, causing him to fall back with his leg trapped beneath Dansby. Koppen is replaced at center by Dan Connolly.
The injury to Koppen is another blow to an already thin offensive line that is without a number of key players tonight including Sebastian Vollmer. Despite a poor pre-season, the offensive line has shown good potential so far tonight, not allowing a sack and only being flagged for one holding penalty through the first half.
The word from the Patriots training staff is that Koppen suffered a sprain and that his return tonight would be questionable.
After their defense forced the Dolphins into a three-and-out, the New England offense took the field for the second time; the drive ending in the same result. The Patriots used just seven plays and 65 yards to drive down the field for a score. This time, a Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski touchdown capped the drive for New England.
The Patriots now lead the Dolphins, 14-7 early in the second quarter
After watching the Dolphins drive down the field for a touchdown, the New England offense got a touchdown of their own. After just five plays, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was able to reach the endzone on a four-yard touchdown run.
The Patriots and Dolphins are now tied, 7-7.
And the first points in a 2011 New England Patriots football game goes to the opponent. The Miami Dolphins were able to drive down the field on 12 plays for 84 yards against the Patriots defense. Quarterback Chad Henne capped the drive with a nine-yard rushing touchdown.
With it, the Dolphins hold the early 7-0 lead over the Patriots
Event: New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins – NFL Regular Season, Week 1.
Date/Time: Monday, September 12, 2011 – 7:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: Sun Life Stadium (Capacity: 75,192), Miami Gardens, Florida.
Broadcast Info: Monday’s game between the Patriots and Dolphins will be aired nationally on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Ron Gruden making up the broadcast team. The game can also be heard on the radio on 98.5 The Sports Hub (WBZ-FM) in the Boston market, with the legendary Gil Santon and Gino Cappelletti serving as the broadcast team.
Last Meeting: Tom Brady completed 10-of-16 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots walloped the Dolphins, 38-7, in the 2010 season finale at Gillette Stadium. The Dolphins never stood a chance, as the Pats put up 24 first half points while holding Miami scoreless. Tyler Thigpen was Miami’s standout, throwing for 169 yards and one touchdown.
Believe it or not, this was a better showing from the Dolphins than the first meeting of the season on October 4 – a 41-13 blowout win for the Patriots that was also on Monday Night Football. As you may recall, that was the game in which the Pats’ special teams dominated the game, with a 103-yard kickoff return from Brandon Tate and a blocked punt from safety Patrick Chung that set up a touchdown. Brady threw for 153 yards in the win.
Storyline: Tom Brady will be the center of attention for many reasons on Monday night. First, well, he's Tom Brady - the reigning NFL MVP and one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. However, this is the first time he will be playing in a meaningful game since having offseason foot surgery. Brady didn't show a lot of rust in the preseason, but did miss his targets on several occasions.
In addition, both the offensive and defensive lines are areas to focus on, with rookie Nate Solder making his first career start at right tackle with Sebastian Vollmer out. On the defensive line, the status of Albert Haynesworth is still unknown, but he is expected to play as of early Monday afternoon.
The area of focus for Miami will be the situation at running back. With Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown no longer in the mix, the Dolphins will be relying on ex-USC great Reggie Bush, rookie Daniel Thomas and former troublemaker and ex-Chiefs running back Larry Johnson to lead them on the ground. Dolphins head coach Tony Sporano said that he wants to get Bush around 20 touches in the game - 15 carries and five receptions. Thomas' status is uncertain for the game, meaning that the carries will likely be split between Bush and Johnson.
Prediction: It would be considered an upset if the Pats don’t win by a touchdown. Final Score: Patriots 38, Dolphins 14.
However, Haynesworth's day off on Saturday doesn't seem to be cause for alarm, as the big defensive lineman has not missed Patriots practice since August 22. However, it wouldn't be a total surprise to see Haynesworth miss the game.
In addition, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer and four other players were downgraded to out by the team. Joining Vollmer on the sidelines are linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, wide receiver Taylor Price, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell.
Vollmer also missed Saturday's practice and did not take part in practice all of last week due to a nagging back injury. Rookie Nate Solder will get the call to start in place of Vollmer at right tackle.
Coming off a 14-2 season in 2010 during which their young and inexperienced defense proved they could hold their own, the team as a whole now looks to establish themselves as an even more well-rounded, skilled and confident team. The Patriots have won eight of the last ten AFC East titles, but it hasn’t been without struggles against the Dolphins who have always challenged their divisional superior, even when they haven’t challenge many others.
Here are five things to watch keep an eye on in the season opener for the Patriots:
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