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Turning point: Patriot defense falls to 4th

FOXBOROW, MA – OCTOBER 17: Jalen Mills of the New England Patriots watches a game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on October 17, 2021. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
With 24 seconds left in the first half, as his team faced fourth and seventh on the Patriots’ 42-yard line, Miami head coach Mike McDaniel had to make a decision. It’s too far for a field goal, and the punt can only turn the field over 20 yards. Had the Dolphins failed to materialize, the Patriots offense could have taken over with less than 20 seconds left and no timeout. McDaniel’s decision to go for it proved to be the turning point in the Patriots’ 20-7 loss.
For most of the first half, the Patriots’ defense was more than on its own against Miami’s new offense, scoring just one field goal while defending a touchdown, with Miami leading 10-0. When the Patriots were knocked down at Miami’s 8-yard line with 4 minutes left in the second quarter, it looked like a quick stop could put the offense in good position on the field and possibly score before halftime.
However, the Patriots’ defense picked the wrong time for their worst game ever. The Patriots defense still had a chance to get the ball back before the two-minute warning after the Heat quickly took the lead out of their end zone shadow. As the Dolphins faced 3rd and 7th of their 26 points, cornerback Miles Bryant gave wide receiver Jaylen Waddell too much cushioning to give quarterback Tua Tagovailoa 8 yards to hit the ball and move the bat.
After a two-minute warning, Tagovailoa looked like he was about to be picked up by rookie Jack Jones, but Tyreke Hill on the perimeter made an incredible catch in traffic and moved the ball over New England 26 yards. An unfinished goal and Matthew Judon’s sack brought 3rd and 19th and it looked like the defense would avoid losing the score before half time, but the soft zone gave Miami 12 yards to bring us to the tipping point.
Tagovailoa hit the 4th in front of cornerback Jalen Mills and leaned it in front of the Waddle to give the Dolphins enough time to make the first. Mills, however, made little effort in the tackle and Kyle Dagger’s safety had a poor angle in their chase as Waddell was able to break out on a 42-yard touchdown to give the Dolphins a 17-0 lead at halftime. After the game, Youden talked about the game as a defense.
“We knew they had to pass, a fourth and a long pass, we conceded six goals at half-time and they gave it back. So it hurt us. It definitely hurts if we want to be a good team. we just can’t do it.
It was just a Patriots defense mistake, but it came at a cost, as the hitters were only able to score seven points and spent the entire day trying to move the ball and flip it at the wrong time. But thanks to McDaniel and the Dolphins for their bold calls. It earned them points, left the Patriots breathless before halftime, and was the turning point in their victory.
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Post time: Sep-15-2022