New England Patriots: 3 issues that caused the Pats season opening loss

Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Matt Judon #9 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots Issue No. 2: Penalties

Another area the Dolphins beat the Patriots in was the penalty column. New England was penalized eight times for 84 yards, whereas Miami was penalized five times but for just 28 yards. The Pats repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in this one, and had they been more disciplined they would have won this game.

There were a few in particular that were more enraging than others. Isaiah Wynn effectively erased a Damien Harris touchdown early in the second quarter with a holding call. Rather than being at the one yard line, if not in the endzone, the Patriots found themselves outside the redzone, and ended up having to settle for three points rather than seven.

Justin Herron also had a bad hold that wiped out a 33 yard completion to Kendrick Bourne. Herron came in to replace an injured Trent Brown early in this one, but he struggled throughout the contest, and was eventually benched for Yasir Durant.

Bourne had another big gain, this time a 17 yard catch, reduced to basically nothing thanks to an iffy blindside block call on Shaq Mason. Just a play before that, Gunner Olszewski had a nice 14 yard punt return wiped out by an unnecessary roughness call on Matthew Judon. Both these plays hindered a promising drive that eventually ended up with just three points.

The Pats ended up making their lives harder for themselves in this one. Belichick typically runs a tight ship in terms of penalties, and it would be a safe bet to believe that he will get this under control. But it was certainly an issue in their season opener, and it ended up costing them a victory.