Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins moved to 2-0 on the season with a 24-17 road win over the New England Patriots.
After a record-breaking performance in Week 1, Tua put up a workmanlike effort inside Gillette Stadium. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 249 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Defensively, the Dolphins played much better than we saw in the opener. That included getting to Patriots quarterback Mac Jones for eight hits and four sacks.
As for New England, it just couldn’t put up enough on offense to keep pace with Miami despite playing good on the other side of the ball. The end result was another loss and an 0-2 start to a season for the first time since 2001. Below, we recap this game with the top takeaways, highlights and performances in Miami’s seven-point win.
Top performances from Miami Dolphins win
Raheem Mostert, running back, Miami Dolphins
Miami’s chunk plays Sunday night did not necessarily come through the air. Rather, it was all about Raheem Mostert doing his thing on the ground. Questionable heading in, the veteran put this one on ice with a 43-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. All said, Mostert tallied 121 yards and two touchdowns in 18 attempts.
The Dolphins spent all offseason looking for an upgrade at running back when they had an internal option in Mostert who had played well since coming over from the San Francisco 49ers. The former undrafted free agent showed that again in Week 2.
Matt Judon, EDGE, New England Patriots
Judon continues to get to the quarterback at a high clip. After registering a career-best 15.5 sacks last season, Judon opened the 2023 campaign with a sack of Jalen Hurts in Week 1. He added another sack Sunday night while pressuring Tagovailoa a total of five times.
Given that Tua was not sacked a single time in last week’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers, this is pretty impressive. And in reality, the Pats are going to continue needing this from Judon with their offensive struggles.
Bradley Chubb, EDGE, Miami Dolphins
Miami exhausted a first-round pick on Chubb in a trade with the Denver Broncos last season. The idea was for the Fins to add an elite-level edge guy. We didn’t see that last season with Chubb registering just 2.5 sacks in eight games in Miami.
After struggling to an extent last week, Chubb was a force against New England Sunday night. That included a forced fumble at the end of the first quarter with New England driving.
The Dolphins would go on to score a touchdown on their follwing drive to take a 10-0 lead. Then, with the Pats attempting to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, Chubb got to Jones for a sack. Miami needs these types of game-changing plays on defense if they’re to take the next step. Chubb provided that Sunday night.
Christian Gonzalez, cornerback, New England Patriots
Gonzalez is an NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate for a reason. The first-round pick from Oregon just has the “it” factor. The cornerback displayed that last week with a sack and two tackles for loss. However, he did struggle in coverage by yielding nine catches on 13 targets for 101 yards. Going up against Tyreek Hill on Sunday night, that was not an issue.
In addition to that beautiful interception, Gonzalez and the Patriots held Hill to a mere 40 yards on nine targets. New England certainly has a keeper here.
Top Miami Dolphins takeaway
Running game finally shows up
Last week saw Miami go for just 70 yards on 20 rush attempts against the Chargers. The aforementioned Raheem Mostert had just 37 yards on 10 attempts with Jeff Wilson sidelined to injury. Simply put, Miami can’t rely on Tua Tagovailoa tallying 466 yards like we saw last week.
About that? Mostert was studly Sunday evening, going for 121 yards on 18 attempts. He did the heavy lifting with Salvon Ahmed and De’Von Achane registering a combined four attempts. If the Dolphins are able to get this type of balance on offense moving forward, they’re going to be nearly unstoppable.
Top New England Patriots takeaway
Close, but no cigar
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick touched on it after last week’s narrow 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. New England just didn’t make the necessary plays late in the game to come out on top. The Pats had another opportunity Sunday night.
Down 27-20 late in the fourth quarter, New England got the ball back after a missed Dolphins field goal. The team started at its own 45-yard line. After a Mac Jones completed pass to Kendrick Bourne to open the drive, things went wrong. One play later, and the aforementioned Chubb took down Jones for a sack. It ended up creating a fourth-and-short for New England. The end result was a turnover on downs in the craziest way possible.
The Pats have played pretty well through two games. But they have nothing to show for it with a 0-2 record through two weeks.
Miami Dolphins stats
- Tua Tagovailoa: 21-of-30 passing, 249 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 92.2 QB rating
- Raheem Mostert: 18 attempts, 121 yards, 6.7 average, 2 TD
- Jaylen Waddle: 4 receptions, 86 yards
- Tyreek Hill: 5 receptions, 40 yards, 1 TD
New England Patriots stats
- Mac Jones: 31-of-42 passing, 231 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 84.5 QB rating
- Rhamondre Stevenson: 15 attempts, 50 yards, 3 receptions, 10 yards, 1 TD
- DeVante Parker: 6 receptions, 57 yards
- Hunter Henry: 6 receptions, 52 yards, 1 TD
- Mike Gesicki: 5 receptions, 33 yards