Miami Dolphins beat New England Patriots 17-16 in season opener

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots – Courtesy: Getty Images – Image by Adam Glanzman

The Miami Dolphins came into Foxboro and pulled out an amazing 17-16 win over their AFC East rival, the New England Patriots, in the 2021 season opener. This was the Dolphins’ official first season-opening victory since 2018, now positioning them as the leaders of the all-time series against the Patriots, 59-54.

On facing the Patriots, Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores stated “I was there for a long time. I learned a lot there. There’s a lot of – obviously from Bill (Belichick), and I’m very fortunate to have been there. I enjoyed my time there and there are still some people there that I have good relationships with and then I have a great deal of respect for their coaching staff, the people in that organization; but when we go there, we’re going there to compete. And there’s no – that’s what it is. I’ve said this before – they know that. Bill – everyone on his staff is there to compete and that’s what I learned there and I’ve taken that with me here and that’s my approach. So there’s no nostalgia. I know I used that word the other day, but I’m just going there to compete.”

The Dolphins started fast on their opening drive going the length of the field on 10 plays for 80-yards, topped off by a three-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

New England came back with 10 points before Jason Sanders connected on a 48-yard field goal in the final closing seconds of the half to tie things up 10-10.

The Dolphins kept their first start on opening drives going in the second half with rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, making his first career NFL touchdown on a three-yard pass from Tagovailoa. This pushed the Dolphins’ lead to 17-10. Waddle concluded his first NFL game with four catches for 61 yards and the one score.

After the Patriots made two field goals, Dolphins’ redzone defense came up big with a forced fumble and recovery by Xavien Howard to secure the victory. 

Offensively, Tua Tagovailoa went 16-of-27 passing for 202 yards with two touchdowns in total and one interception. All receivers were led by Devante Parker with four catches and 81 yards.

Defensively, Miami pushed two turnovers, extending their turnover streak to 23 games. This is the longest active streak in the NFL. Jerome Baker led the team with 12 total tackles, 8 being solo.

The Dolphins are now shifting their preparations to the home opener against the defending AFC East divisional champions, the Buffalo Bills. Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm, Sunday, September 19 at the Hard Rock Stadium. 

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