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Dolphins late comeback against Patriots falls short

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The New England Patriots are now down to their third-string quarterback, but they still had enough to hold off the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots survived a Miami comeback to hang on for a 31-24 win Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Jacoby Brissett stepped into Coach Bill Belichick’s offense after starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury. Garoppolo was filling in for the suspended Tom Brady.

Garoppolo was injured late in the first half after throwing for 234 yards and three touchdowns while the Patriot defense was shutting out the Dolphins. A late field goal got Miami on the board at 24-3, and provided some hope for a comeback against a totally inexperienced quarterback.

“We couldn’t get anything going,” Dolphin quarterback Ryan Tannehill said about the rough start. “We kept putting our defense back on the field after long drives. It’s tough on the defense.”

Brissett may be familiar to some in Florida. He was recruited to play at Florida in 2011 out of Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens. After battling Jeff Driskel for the starting job, he left Florida and transferred to North Carolina State after one season.

Miami knew any comeback would have to come without running back Arian Foster. After only three carries, Foster left the game with a groin injury, and did not return.

Signing a gifted player such as him was always a risk due to his propensity for injury. The latest chapter in his history of injuries was written Sunday. It is not known how long he will be out.

After Jay Ajayi fumbled the ball away on Miami’s first possession of the second half, any sense of momentum had seemingly drifted away. When Brissett then led the Patriots on a five-play, 68-yard scoring drive to make it 31-3, the Dolphins were seemingly receiving last rites.

But from that point, Tannehill led his team on a furious comeback. Miami went to a no-huddle offense and the offensive line gave Tannehill time to throw.

Three consecutive touchdown drives brought them within 31-24 with 6:06 remaining. After a missed field goal, the Dolphins had one final chance with 1:04 left and no timeouts. Tannehill’s final desperation pass was intercepted in the end zone.

Brissett completed six of nine passes for 92 yards and a 100.2 quarterback rating. Tannehill threw for 389 yards and two touchdowns.

The Dolphins’ running game continued to be non-existent. They managed only 16 yards rushing.

After two close losses, the Dolphins get ready for next Sunday’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns.

 

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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