|Date of game: 9/7/2014
Recap: Miami vs. New England
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Tannehill threw a pair of touchdown passes and Knowshon Moreno ran for 134 yards with a score in his Miami debut, as the Dolphins dominated in the second half and ended New England's 10-game winning streak in season openers with a 33-20 victory over the Patriots on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.
Tannehill completed 18-of-32 passes for 178 yards, including scoring strikes to Mike Wallace and Lamar Miller. Wallace finished with seven catches for 81 yards and Miller compiled 78 yards from scrimmage in the victory.
While the Miami offense played well and overcame turnovers on three straight possessions in the first half, it was a stout defensive effort in the second half that proved to be the difference.
The Dolphins (1-0) held New England to a pair of first downs through most of the second half, while Miami scored 23 unanswered points to storm back from a 20-10 halftime deficit.
"Our guys played a good football game," said Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. "Played all 60 minutes."
Tom Brady completed 29-of-56 passes for 249 yards with a touchdown to Rob Gronkowski for New England (0-1), which hadn't lost a season-opener since a 31-0 setback at Buffalo to start the 2003 campaign.
The Patriots managed just 67 yards in the second half, most on a final drive when the Dolphins played a soft defense with a 10-point cushion.
New England had opened a 10-point advantage through the first 30 minutes, but the Dolphins dominated after the break.
After Caleb Sturgis kicked a 24-yard field goal on the first series of the third quarter, Cameron Wake sacked Brady and forced a fumble that Louis Delmas recovered at the New England 34. Miami quickly cashed in, as Moreno -- a free agent signing from Denver -- carried three times for 20 yards before Tannehill capped the short set with a 14-yard TD pass to Wallace.
The Dolphins got the ball right back after a New England three-and-out and took the lead on a 22-yard Sturgis field goal after a Miller touchdown run was negated by a holding penalty.
New England managed just two first downs in a dreadful third quarter and the struggles continued into the fourth with a three-and-out, but a trade of punts left the Patriots with ideal field position at the Miami 45. An offensive pass interference penalty on the second play pushed them back and again forced a punt.
Miami then marched 85 yards on 12 plays for the clinching score. A roughing the passer penalty ignited the drive, which featured seven rushes and a pair of third-down conversion passes by Tannehill. Moreno capped the series with a lunging 4-yard touchdown run to make it a 10-point game with 3:29 to play.
The Miami defense again shut New England down and Wake sacked Brady on fourth down inside the Dolphins 20, leading to a 27-yard Sturgis field goal for the final margin.
Miami also won its opener last year on the way to a 3-0 start, but lost its last two games with a postseason berth in its grasp to finish 8-8, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year and 11th time in the last 12 seasons.
The Dolphins also battled through the infamous bullying scandal among the offensive line centering around Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. Miami started five new offensive linemen on Sunday, with holdover center Mike Pouncey still on the roster but sidelined by a hip injury.
"The offensive line did a great job and dominated in the run game," said Tannehill. "It was one of the most fun and exciting games I have been a part of. It's a good first step for us."
Miami forced a three-and-out to start the game and followed with a blocked punt that set up the game's first score, a 4-yard pass from Tannehill to Miller to cap the short 15-yard series.
New England answered with a 13-play, 80-yard trek to tie it. The Patriots faced just one third down and Shane Vereen converted with a short run inside the Miami five before crashing into the end zone two plays later from the two.
Wallace then fumbled after a reception, giving New England possession at the Miami 35. The Patriots advanced to the 20, but an offensive facemask penalty sent them backward and forced a 47-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal for a 10-7 lead late in the opening period.
Another Miami mistake early in the second quarter derailed a potential scoring opportunity, as Tannehill was picked off by Alfonzo Dennard at the New England six on a ball intended for Wallace. The Patriots went 94 yards the other way for a 17-7 advantage.
Vereen kept the drive alive early with an 11-yard run on 3rd-and-10 and a 44- yard pass to Julian Edelman put New England into Miami territory. Another pass to Edelman, this time an 11-yarder, converted 3rd-and-6, and Brady concluded the 11-play march with a 6-yard toss to Gronkowski, who saw limited action in his return from a torn ACL suffered late last year.
The Dolphins went to the no-huddle offense and quickly moved toward midfield, but Miller was upended with a hard hit after a 14-yard run and lost the ball. Darrelle Revis, the Patriots' prized defensive acquisition this offseason, fell on it for the Patriots at the New England 34.
New England failed to pick up a first down and the Dolphins countered with a 38-yard field goal from Sturgis with 1:59 left in the half. Miami nearly had a touchdown, but Tannehill and Wallace, as they did much of last season failed to connect on a deep ball with the quarterback's throw from the New England 33 into the end zone taking the wide open receiver out of bounds.
Gostkowski kicked a 45-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half for a 20-10 lead.Game Notes
The Dolphins also beat the Patriots last December in Miami ... Gronkowski, who
didn't play in the preseason, caught four passes for 40 yards, while Edelman
finished with six catches for 95 yards ... The Patriots managed only 89 yards
on the ground, led by 36 on seven carries for Vereen ... Brady surpassed
Warren Moon for sixth all-time on the NFL's passing yards list.