Dolphins vs Patriots Film Review

Patriots fans tend to approach every game with cautious optimism. That isn’t to say we aren’t cocky or confident, but that we have seen the Pats surprise us with a dud too many times to think of anything as a guarantee.

That being said, it isn’t much of a surprise that the Patriots came out on top on Thursday given Brady’s history on Thursday and vs the Dolphins at home.

Let’s take a look at the win after the benefit of film review:

On Offense

Patriots Capitalize On Mismatches: One thing that the Patriots try to do each and every week is get favorable matchups for their weapons on offense. On Thursday, we saw the Patriots get both Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman into favorable situations to make plays. On Edelman’s second touchdown, he starts in the backfield and motions into the slot. This got him into man-to-man coverage with Dolphins safety Walt Aikens. Aikens has given up 3 touchdowns this season on just 9 targets. Brady sees it right away, and hits Edelman for the score: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap3000000568717/Brady-connects-with-Edelman-again-for-second-TD.

The Patriots also got Dion Lewis matched up on linebackers a number of times in the first half. Lewis motioned out to a receiver position, and Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins went with him. Brady saw that they got what they wanted, and hit Lewis on a slant for a 12-yard gain in the second quarter. Lewis was so successful at beating Miami’s linebackers in coverage, Lewis drew Dolphins top CB Brent Grimes when he lined up as a receiver in the second half.

Dion Lewis: Lewis’s return to the lineup deserves mentioning twice. It is obvious that the Patriots offense is most dangerous with Lewis in the backfield. He was effective as both a runner and a pass catcher against the Dolphins, and you could see how much easier it was to move the ball for the Patriots offense.

Gronk TD: The 47-yard TD on the first drive of the game was the second longest touchdown catch in Gronkowski’s career. It was a great run after the catch by Gronk, but Brady’s play action is what got the tight end so open. The Patriots sell the play fake with both Brady’s fake handoff and the offensive line appears to be run blocking. This makes every Dolphins linebacker think run, and Gronk is left wide open behind them. Dolphins safety Rashad Jones doesn’t stand a chance in the open field against a full speed Gronk:

http://www.patriots.com/video/2015/10/29/cant-miss-play-rob-gronkowski-47-yard-touchdown

On Defense

Logan Ryan: The Patriots pass rush and safeties will get their due, but Logan Ryan has quietly put together a few good games in a row. After slowing down Jets receiver Brandon Marshall last week, Ryan delivered another good performance this week. Tannehill was just 4-9 for 31 yards, and an interception when targeting Ryan in coverage. Although Malcolm Butler has played well at times this year, Ryan has been the Patriots most consistent CB.

Chandler Jones: When the Patriots drafted Jones in 2012 the feeling was that it would take a few years for Jones to reach his potential. He appears to be doing so now, as the Patriots defensive end is now tied with J.J. Watt for the league lead in sacks. Jones leads the Patriots with 26 pressures on the season, and tallied five pressures and 2 sacks vs Miami. His second sack of Ryan Tannehill was one of his best of the season. The Dolphins double-team Jones with tight end Jordan Cameron and LT Brandon Albert, but he splits it and gets the sack: 

Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung: I could write about what Devin McCourty, Jamie Collins, and Dont’a Hightower bring to the defense every week, but the Patriots are also getting great play from some of their role players like safeties Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung. Chung continues to contribute in pass coverage helping out on tight ends and running backs mostly, and always bring a physical presence against the run. Harmon has also played extremely well in coverage mostly as a deep safety in cover-1 or cover-2. He has made a number of acrobatic interceptions, and made another one Thursday night:

http://www.patriots.com/video/2015/10/29/highlight-duron-harmon-intecepts-ryan-tannehill