The New England Patriots simply let one get away. In the team’s 17-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium, penalties, and a key fumble late in the game was the difference between a victory and a loss in the season opener.
In a classic AFC East battle, Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones showed plenty of promise in completing 74.4 percent of his passes while throwing for 281 yards and a touchdown. But the team’s failure to turn four trips into the red zone into touchdowns came back to haunt the team in the one-yard loss.
New England Patriots made uncharacteristic mistakes
Ball security also played a role as the team had a total of three fumbles, two of which was recovered by the Dolphins. The final blow was Damien Harris fumbling away the ball deep in Miami territory with the Patriots well positioned to take the lead. A tough loss indeed and obviously a frustrating one for head coach Bill Belichick.
“It was obviously a disappointing game,” Belichick said following the game, via Patriots.com. “We just didn’t do enough. Just didn’t do enough to win. We had our chances, had our opportunities. But really all the way across the board, we’ve just got to do a better job. Really that’s about the story of it. There’s a lot of things that could have helped us. Just have to coach better, play better, execute better, play better situational football than we did today. I just missed too many opportunities to win.”
In all, it was a game of missed opportunities, but a game that did provide much optimism if you are a New England Patriots fan. Here are five positive observations from the 17-16 fumbling loss to the Miami Dolphins.