DOLPHINS DOMINATE PATRIOTS 33-20 WIN SEASON OPENER
Joe Philbin prefers simple messages. Not even trailing New England by 10 points at halftime of the season opener could get the Miami coach to change his tone.
"The plays are there," Philbin simply said.
His team repeatedly proved him right.
Knowshon Moreno rushed for 134 yards and a big fourth-quarter touchdown, Ryan Tannehill threw for two scores and the Dolphins dominated New England after halftime in a 33-20 win on Sunday. The Dolphins outscored New England 23-0 and outgained the Patriots 222-67 in the second half, and that stat includes 37 meaningless yards on the game's final drive.
"We knew what was killing us," Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace said. "Ourselves."
Once Miami stopped beating Miami, New England had no answers. The Patriots lost their opener for the first time since 2003, and they don't hold at least a share of first in the AFC East for the first time since Week 3 of 2012.
"They took away everybody in the second half," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said.
Brady threw a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski and Shane Vereen had a rushing touchdown for New England, which endured a most uncharacteristic freefall. The last time the Patriots were outscored by 23 points or more in the second half was Nov. 30, 2008 against Pittsburgh — 94 games ago.
"We need to do a better job than we did today," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "It's as simple as that."
Moreno now has 358 yards on the ground in his last two regular-season games against New England, the first being a 224-yard effort in Denver's loss at the Patriots last season.
That one, he tried to forget. This one, he'll savor.
"Did you see that man out there?" asked Dolphins center Samson Satele, one of five new starters on Miami's offensive line. "He's a crazy dude. You give him a little crease and away he goes."