The tables were turned for the New England Patriots Monday night, playing in warmer temperatures while dealing with multiple injuries to star players (Flowers, suspension of Gronkowski). At the end of the day, the Miami Dolphins earned a 27-20 victory, shocking the AFC East and pretty much everyone else in football.
For the now 7-6 Dolphins, a win could not of been at a more crucial time. Quarterback Jay Cutler gets his first ever victory against New England (1-3 all time vs Pats), and making an impressive stat line to get the victory (25/38 263 yards 3 touchdowns). With an almost perfect game, Cutler relied on running back Kenyan Drake for a heavy load. After making a surprise trade with the Philadelphia Eagles not too long ago sending running Jay Ajayi for some draft picks, the stardom has fell on Drake to perform at Ajayi’s level and higher. Drake finished the night with 114 yards on the ground, carrying the ball 25 times while catching 5 balls for 79 yards receiving, stat lines that look like Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell, who is a master at the versatile pass and catch system. Wide receivers Jarvis Landry (8 catches for 46 yards and 2 scores) and speedster Jakeem Grant (2 catches fr 42 yards and a score) proved to be valuable weapons for Cutler, having one of the best performances of his entire career Monday night.
With the offense proving to shutdown the Pats defense with mistake free football, the defense was relentless on quarterback Tom Brady. Hit after hit, the mixed crew of young and experienced Miami team forced Brady to chuck two interceptions, both to the same guy, corner Xavien Howard. Howard has now recorded four interceptions in his last two games, his first interception ever came last week then doubled it soon after. Now he has doubled that number, giving him four on the year and his entire career.
A tough night from the gecko, quarterback Tom Brady looked frustrated as ever. Throwing for 24 completions out of 43 attempts for 233 yards and a score (two interceptions by Howard), Brady could not connect with his receivers at all, literally. In the first half of the game, no receiver on the Patriots end caught a ball, giving the only receptions to the running back carousel New England obtains with Burkhead, Lewis and White. Burkhead struck first into the end zone early on for New England, compiling a 8 yard rushing performance for a touchdown with 45 yards receiving. Fellow running back James White was the only Patriot who caught a touchdown, catching 3 balls for 11 yards and the lone air strike from Brady.
A surprise turnaround for either team, the Dolphins continue making a push to sneak into the AFC playoff picture while New England’s focus now is AFC rival Pittsburgh Steelers, who hold the best record in the AFC at 11-2 and are being visited by the Patriots this upcoming Sunday at 4:25 pm et.