This game was very much in reach for the Patriots, but the team could not stop shooting themselves in the foot. Multiple lost fumbles and killer penalties was too much to overcome.
This was a rough showing from the running back room. Rhamondre Stevenson’s only carry of the game resulted in a fumble lost. Stevenson also had one rep in pass protection and got absolutely blown up by Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts, but Roberts was penalized for roughing the passer.
Damien Harris was solid with 100 yards on 23 carries but also coughed the ball up in the red zone with about three minutes remaining, which was the final nail in the coffin for any chance of a Patriots victory.
On top of that, New England was penalized eight times. The Patriots are typically one of the least penalized teams in the NFL, but they were uncharacteristically undisciplined in this game.
How can the New England Patriots rebound from a Week One loss?
The good news is, there’s nowhere to go but up after such a sloppy showing. More good news is that there were some bright spots despite the loss.
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Mac Jones looked like everything that he was promised to be. Things got off to a rocky start when he spiked a backwards pass into the ground on his first drop-back, but he got more and more comfortable with each passing possession and helped give the team a chance to win in the end.
The defense was also spectacular, holding Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to a modest performance and not giving up much in the running game either. These are things to build on as they prepare to go on the road to take on the New York Jets.
Obviously, the ball security needs to be much better and that will be something that Bill Belichick preaches during the week. Three fumbles in total with two of them going to the other team is not going to cut it.
The amount of penalties committed was also unacceptable, and that will be another point of emphasis in practice. It was odd to see such a winnable game slip through the fingers of a Belichick coached team.
Expect a much more focused New England Patriots team against the New York Jets next week. After a loss like this, the coaching staff will be doing their best to whip these players into shape.