The New England Patriots looked like steaming garbage on Monday night


The New England Patriots defense looked like their weeks 1-4 selfs and the offense could never get anything going in an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins on Monday night.

While New England Patriots fans like to believe their team doesn’t get caught in trap games, they absolutely did this week. New England fell to 10-3, now a game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC lead, with a 27-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

Jay Cutler and Tom Brady must have been playing in The Upsidedown from Stranger Things because surely everyone thought the numbers would be flipped in this game. Cutler finished with 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Brady had just 233 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. What world are we living in?

The Patriots offense struggled all night long to get anything going and the Dolphins defense was simply suffocating. They were able t pressure Tom Brady on nearly every play, and when New England aimed to switch things up with a run, the Miami interior linemen were there to swallow it up. Swing passes weren’t working, screens were not working. Nothing was working. Brady was forcing the ball to Brandin Cooks, but Miami’s Xavien Howard was all over him all night. He picked off Brady twice and had some crucial pass breakups. Brady didn’t complete a pass to a wide receiver until 5 minutes had already elapsed in the 3rd quarter. Clearly, this offense was missing Rob Gronkowski.

While Tom Brady’s passes were off and he made some questionable calls, so did offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. In key situations, Patriots fans at home were left puzzled by McDaniels’ calls, especially on third down. On a third and 1 in the second half, the Dolphins left the middle of the field wide open, but the Patriots instead tried to force a pass that went incomplete. It was just that type of night for McDaniels, Brady, and the entire offense.

Third down was deplorable all night for the offense, as they went 0-11. It’s the first time that the Patriots have failed to convert on third down since 1991 when the team went 6-10 behind quarterbacks Hugh Millen and Tom Hodson.

The lone bright spots for New England in the first half were a Rex Burkhead touchdown that came after a questionable pass interference call against the Dolphins, and a short-field field goal. New England did not score any more points until the 4th quarter when Brady finally threw a TD pass to James White to pull the Patriots within 10. The rushing attack was mostly non-existent though, as New England mustered just 25 yards on the ground.

More from Chowder and Champions

The New England Patriots defense was no better. Their streak of 8 straight games allowing 17 or fewer points vanished along with the teams’ winning streak. Without Kyle Van Noy and Trey Flowers, the defense looked extremely flat. The only pressure that ever reached Jay Cutler was from the secondary, as Devin McCourty wound up with a safety blitz sack.

Kenyan Drake was a problem all night for the New England defense, in both the rushing and passing game. He routinely lined up wide on the outside, creating one on one matchups with Patriots linebackers. Elandon Roberts simply could not keep up. Drake finished the night with 79 receiving yards and 114 rushing yards, for 193 total yards. Making matters worse, was that the Patriots also failed to shut down Miami’s top threat, Jarvis Landry.

Landry broke loose for 46 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Patriots, as the New England secondary struggled to keep up. He was wide open in the middle of the end zone in the third quarter for his second score, and it was really not pretty. Malcolm Butler was horrible, and it does not look like he will get a big contract from any NFL team this offseason. #1 corner Stephon Gilmore also did not look like a #1 corner. Jonathan Jones even got in on the poor showing as he committed a key third-down pass interference to keep a Miami scoring drive alive.

New England has got to find a better way to play the game of football by next Sunday. It’s going to be a long week of practice for the entire squad.

Next: The 10 greatest Patriots defenders of all-time

Somehow, the Patriots came alive in the 4th quarter (a little), but it was not enough. It also did not do enough to overshadow the poor three-quarters of play. New England still controls their own destiny in the AFC East, but the #1 seed is now truly in jeopardy for them. Even with a win over the Steelers next weekend, the Patriots will have to win out or hope for a Pittsburgh loss over the last few weeks of the season. New England will still have the Bills and Jets on their schedule, while Pittsburgh will have to face the Texans and Browns. The Steelers should have no problems with their final 2 opponents, but division games are never a given for the Patriots. The Jets played the Patriots extremely well earlier in the season, and that week 17 game could be a tough one. For now though, “We’re on to Pittsburgh.”