Ronnie Brown, Dolphins flatten Patriots in rout

After 21 undefeated regular season football games, the Patriots’ win-streak came to an abrupt end. The Miami Dolphins stormed into Gillette Stadium on Sunday and dominated the Patriots 38-13. The Patriots had no answer for anything the Dolphins threw at them, whether it was the pass, the run, or even special teams. The Patriots, for the first time in years, looked weak and helpless.

Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown scored a team record five touchdowns, running for four and throwing for one. The Patriots defense could not stop the Dolphins. No matter how much the Pats blitzed or covered, they just could not stop the Dolphins. “It’s brutal, man, brutal,” said Patriots defensive end Ty Warren. Brown rushed 17 times for 113 yards. After breaking away from two Patriots linebackers, he rushed for his longest gain of the game, 62-yards, to score a touchdown. Ricky Williams also contributed with a 16 carry, 98 yard performance. “When they get settled, they’re pretty fundamentally sound as a defense,” said Brown, who scored on runs of 2, 15, 5 and 62 yards. “So we wanted to give them something to adjust to.” QB Chad Pennington also had a field day, going 17 of 20 for 226 yards, improving his record at Gillette Stadium to 3-1. His opponent, Matt Cassel, finally showed signs of weakness, going 19 for 31 for 131 yards along with a touchdown and an interception. “We have to go out and regroup,” Cassel said. “It is a learning situation for me playing from behind.”

Nothing was effective for the Patriots. The running game produced a total of 49 yards on 15 carries. The passing game gained 131 yards. The Pats as a team produced a total of 216 yards, fewer than half of Miami’s 461 yards. Chad Pennington alone outperformed the Patriots, showing just how instrumental Brady was to the Patriots. “You really don’t realize how good Tom Brady is until he’s not out there,” Porter said. “Not taking anything away from Matt Cassel, but those are tough shoes to fill.”

The New England Patriots are no longer unbeatable. This was a simple game: Miami plainly outplayed and outperformed the Pats. New England was helpless. “When you have running backs throwing touchdown passes on you, that’s when you know it’s bad” said Belichick. Safety Rodney Harrison said, “But believe me, there were a lot of other problems besides that,” Safety Rodney Harrison said,  “I don’t know why in the world we couldn’t stop that play. They just came in and beat our butts.  You’ve got a bitter taste in your mouth. The only way to get rid of that bitterness is to come in and work hard. You get bitter and you get better.” The one bright spot for the Pats was CB/KR Ellis Hobbs set the Patriots return yardage record with 237 yards on 6 kick returns.

Both the Patriots and Dolphins have next week off. New England will then head to San Francisco to face the 2-1 49ers while the Dolphins will take the field against the 1-2 San Diego Chargers, who last night easily knocked off the Jets 48-29. Keep your heads up Pats fans, but it looks like the Pats are in for a long and rough season.

Quotes Courtesy of ESPN