Dolphins @ Patriots
Final Score: Dolphins 24, Patriots 17
Writer: Adam Nardelli (@adamnardelli on Twitter)
If anyone thought Tua was going to follow up his week 1 performance with another 400+ passing yards, they may have forgotten he was playing a Bill Belichick-led defense. Still, Mike McDaniel’s Dolphins offense was able find ways to move the ball and get in the endzone to build a nice lead. Six plays of 15+ yards for the Dolphins, compared to the Patriots zero plays over 12 yards in the first half, sums up the 17-3 Miami lead at the halftime break. The second half off saw the Patriots offense come alive, highlighted by a 6-play 75 yard drive resulting in a Rhamondre Stevenson touchdown. Mac Jones surprisingly showed off some impressive mobility on a separate second half scoring drive, but a 43-yard Raheem Mostert touchdown run in the fourth quarter proved to be enough for the Dolphins to get out of Gillette Stadium with a win.
- Raheem Mostert – the clear RB1 in Miami and appears explosive as ever
- Devante Parker – looked like Mac Jones’ favorite target and the WR1 for now
- Hunter Henry – any time a tight end gets seven targets and a touchdown it should be noted
- Demario Douglas – he fumbled, so we may never see him again
- Ezekiel Elliott – nothing in the ground game and didn’t even generate a target
- De’Von Achane – there was some summer buzz for him, but so far hasn’t done anything to overtake the Dolphins backfield
Tua Tagovailoa: 21/30, 249 yards, TD, INT, sack, 2 fumbles | 4 carries, three yards
Tagovailoa, similar to Mac Jones, had a proficient start, leading the Dolphins on two long methodical drives to begin the game resulting in 10 points. After scoring 37 points in week 1, you could see Tua being tempted to keep up that type of offensive pace, but Sunday night in Foxborough didn’t call for that. Tua did what was needed to run the offense effectively and get the ball in his playmaker’s hands. That was on perfect display during the final two minutues of the first half when Tua went 7/7 for 69 yards, including an absolute dime to Braxton Berrios on the sideline getting the ball inside the five. Tua dropped another pass right in the bucket when he found Waddle in single coverage for 32 yards in the third quarter. The fourth-year pro looked to be in complete control in Mike McDaniel’s offense. Tagovailoa did throw an interception on an underthrown deep ball to Tyreek Hill, but I think as a Dolphins fan you live with that considering all the good that can potentially come from.a deep ball to Hill. That still remains an area where there is needed improvement, though, for Tagovailoa.
Raheem Mostert: 18 carries, 121 yards, 2 TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards
The 31 year-old dominated the carries for the Dolphins, but was mostly contained until he broke off a 43-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Even as Mostert is on the wrong side of 30, there continues to be no signs of the Florida native losing his speed. As was noted during the broadcast, Mostert wasn’t heavily utilized until his fourth or fifth year in the league, and those fresh legs were on display in Foxborough on Sunday night. For him to get 18 carries and no other running back to get more than three should be extremely encouraging for Mostert owners.
Salvon Ahmed: 3 carries, 13 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 28 yards
De’von Achane: 1 carry, 5 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards
The rookie from Texas A&M generated some excitement during draft season, but clearly Mike McDaniel doesn’t think he’s ready to take Raheem Mostert’s job as he was barely utilized.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Tyreek Hill: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 40 yards, TD
Tyreek Hill, the possession receiver? For the most part that’s who Hill was tonight after Belichick put a lid on one of the fastest men alive. Of Course he still caught a short touchdown pass in the second quarter, helping put together a nice PPR stat line.
Jaylen Waddle: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 86 yards | 1 carry, -2 yards
Waddle showed he’s truly at his best when he’s in space after he took a screen 28 yards in the second quarter, essentially running by most of the Patriots defense. Of course that’s not all the 2021 first-round pick can do, catching a beautiful 32 yard pass from Tua along the sidelines in the third quarter. Unfortunately, Waddle’s night ended early after taking a big hit to the head in the middle of the field. He’s being evaluated for a concussion and obviously should be monitored throughout the week.
River Cracraft: 2 targets, 2 catches, 34 yards
Cracraft was critical on the Dolphins final drive of the first half, catching two passes, including a 21 yard catch to get into Patriots territory.
Braxton Berrios: 3 targets, 2 catches, 28 yards
The former Patriot had a nice catch in traffic at the 2 yard line at end of first half on a wheel route.
Durham Smythe: 3 targets, 3 catches, 23 yards
New England Patriots
Mac Jones: 31/42, 231 yards, TD, INT, 5 carries, 25 yards, sacked four times for 31 yards
Jones began the game in great rhythm, completing his first seven passes. The results didn’t match the efficiency, however, only coming away with three points in the first half. The Alabama product was unable to guide the Patriots offense into any significant chunk plays, with 12 yards being their longest play of the first two quarters. After a blocked Dolphins field goal, Mac was leading the Patriots on a long drive into Miami’s redzone late in the third-quarter. The promising drive failed to turn into any points, however, after Jones threw a bad interception to Xavien Howard on a pass intended for Parker. An underthrown interception in the redzone took any air that was there out of the stadium, and is exactly the opposite of what you want to see from the third-year starter.
Jones and the Patriots looked like a new offense once the final quarter rolled around. On their touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter, Mac made an impressive throw after he scrambled to the left, connecting with Juju Smith-Schuster for 12 yards and then ran for 18 yards on 3rd & 15. The drive was capped with a Hunter Henry touchdown after another good throw from Jones on the run. Jones immediately ran to his right after the snap and found Henry in the endzone. Mac isn’t known for his athleticism, but after seeing how one of their best drives was generated by Jones’ legs, maybe getting Mac on the move should be a greater part of the offense.
Rhamondre Stevenson: 15 carries, 50 yards, TD | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 10 yards
Stevenson was mostly uninvolved for the first three quarters, which may help explain why the Patriots only had three points during that time. The third-year back from Oklahoma couldn’t get anything going on the ground until he was able to finally a break a 12-yard run in the middle of the fourth quarter, getting the Patriots offense into the redzone. Stevenson was eventually able to punch the ball in the endzone from two yards out, getting him to 15 PPR points. By far the most concerning part of Stevenson’s night was his lack of impact in the passing game. You took Stevenson high in your draft largely for his pass catching ability, which for some reason was completely missing tonight. You would think there would be more of an emphasis to get the ball in Stevenson’s hands through the air on a night when at times the Patriots offense really struggled to move the ball, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
Ezekiel Elliott: 5 carries, 13 yards
After catching five passes last week, to not even get a target is concerning. Zeke did nothing tonight to think Stevenson still doesn’t have complete control over this backfield, despite his inefficient outing.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
DeVante Parker: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 57 yards
Parker stood out as the clear #1 WR for the Patriots, exhibiting the best rapport with quarterback Mac Jones. He showed a little run after the catch ability, taking a screen 9 yards near the sidelines. While there was nothing explosive, at this point in Parker’s career he’s probably not going to be taking any slants for 70 yards, but he can be productive in the short and intermediate areas of the field. For Jones who excels with those types of throws, Parker fits Jones’ strengths.
Hunter Henry: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 52 yards, TD
Henry is another obvious favorite of Mac Jones, earning seven targets, which for a tight end is eye popping. This is now becoming a trend after Henry had six targets and a touchdown last week as well. While it can be hard to rely on Henry getting a touchdown every game, tonight reinforced that Jones will often be looking for the Arkansas product in the redzone.
Mike Gesiciki: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 33 yards
His usage was also highly encouraging for anyone in the streaming tight end world, which is a lot of us. The game script did work in Gesicki’s favor to get involved, so it remains to be seen how his utilization will progress. He made a tough diving catch late in the fourth quarter on third down to keep the Patriots’ hopes alive, but his most notable play was the lateral that ended the game. If you didn’t see it, check it out and decide for yourself if Patriots Guard Cole Strange made the line to gain. Yes, you read that right.
Kendrick Bourne: 9 targets, 4 receptions, 29 yards
9 targets keeps Bourne on the fantasy radar, but he didn’t do anything to jump off the screen tonight. In a game where the Patriots were down for most of it, you would’ve liked to see Bourne make some more plays if he really is going to be fantasy relevant.
Juju Smith-Schuster: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 28 yards
Similar to Bourne, it was discouraging to see Smith-Schuster remain quiet for the most part on a night where Mac Jones threw the ball 42 times. Most of the throws to Juju were short and underneath, nothing to excite fantasy managers. The targets are something positive to take away, but it feels like Juju is already falling behind in the order of priority for Mac Jones.
Demario Douglas,: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards, fumble (lost)
The 6th-round pick from this past year’s drafted fumbled at the end of the first quarter. I feel for the rookie, but you can’t help but wonder if he’s going to be put on the back burner as the Patriots try to get in the win column for the first time.