The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss reports that the Patriots performance yesterday was "across-the-board dreadful." Shut out by the Dolphins, their deepest penetration on offense was the Dolphins 33-yard line. Turnover problems continued in the form of three lost fumbles. A fourth-quarter pass for a touchdown was called back because of two forward passes on the same play. And add in nine penalties (for 71 yards), including two unsportsmanlike infractions on Miami scoring drives.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that the Pats continued a run of inconsistent play against the Phins that casts further doubt on their postseason readiness. "We took one on the chin today," said Pats defensive end Richard Seymour. "Bottom line." Beyond some decent running from Dillon (16 carries, 79 yards), this game was a zero in every other conceivable way, according to Tomase.
The Providence Journal's Shalise Manza Young reports that Brady would not, could not, speak ill of the men paid to protect him from oncoming defenders, despite taking so many hits that he was pulled in the last five minutes of the game to prevent any further beatings. "You're never going to get me to stand up here and talk about that," he said matter-of-factly.
Dan Shaugnessy of The Boston Globe discusses the long time friendship between coach Bill Belichick and Miami coach Nick Saban, explaining that this time the student (Saban) beat the teacher (Belichick). Shaugnessy argues that the Patriots weren't just dominated on the field, they were out coached.
Boston Herald writer Tony Massarotti believes the Patriots are nothing special this season. He cites an even 3-3 record against their last six opponents. "Entering yesterday, going back to the 2002 season, the Patriots were 13-1 in December," explains Massarotti. "Their only loss came last season in a truly meaningless season finale against the Dolphins when Belichick yanked most of his starters and the Pats had nothing at stake. At this time of year, in the Belichick Era, the Patriots are usually the team to beat."
The Boston Globe's Ron Borges reports that Miami's defense relentlessly pursued Brady during the whole game, embarrassing his linemen and disrupting pass plays. Borges argues that the team is in need of a deep-threat receiver and wonders if the Dolphins defensive scheme will become the blueprint of how to beat Brady this season.
Instead of piling on an ineffective New England offense, which turned the ball over three times, the Patriots defense stood firm, defending Tom Brady and the offense, reports Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe. "We're called the defense," said defensive end Jarvis Green, who got the start in the Patriots' 4-3 defense yesterday. "We got to go out there and stop the [opposing] offense no matter how many times we've been on the field. That's our job."
The Hartford Courant's Alan Greenberg reports on the Dolphins pass rush, which dominated the game, leaving four-fifths of the offensive line silent in the locker room after the game. Last week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick mentioned the names Taylor, Kevin Carter and Vonnie Holliday and said that the Dolphins had probably the best pass-rushing D-line the Patriots have seen this season. He proved prophetic.
Mike Reiss of The Boston Globe reports that the Patriots began the Dolphins game without six injured players, and ended with two more added to that list. Tight end Benjamin Watson and nose tackle Vince Wilfork were both injured in the third quarter of the game. Neither of them returned to the game. Also included is a story on cornerback Ellis Hobbs.
Shalise Manza Young of The Providence Journal reports that Ellis Hobbs, a usual starting cornerback, inexplicably played very few snaps with the regular defense yesterday. "You'll have to take that up with the coaching staff," he said, donning rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses before heading out to the team bus. "As far as I'm concerned, wherever I'm at, I'm trying to make plays. Am I disappointed? Obviously, but I have to be professional about it."
Boston Globe correspondent Ben Volin discusses Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, who led a Miami defense that held Brady to just 78 yards passing on what was easily his worst passing day since throwing for 76 yards in a win over Miami in October 2004.
Tip your cap to Jason Taylor. He's a special player who played a special game yesterday, says Boston Herald writer Michael Felger. The writer explains that the Pats offensive line couldn't get it done against Taylor and his fellow pass rushers. Guard Stephen Neal was the only player on the line to grant interview requests after the game, with the rest declining to talk while scattering quickly from the locker room.
Dave Brousseau of the Boston Herald reports that Taylor made his presence known most of the day, but it was his fourth-quarter sack of Tom Brady [stats] that essentially doomed the Patriots in their 21-0 loss. On the play, Brady fumbled and the Dolphins recovered, ending the Pats' best drive of the day at the Miami 39-yard line. Eight plays later, Sammy Morris scored to ice the game.
Art Martone of The Providence Journal offers analysis of the game, breaking down the Patriots offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.
Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald explains that Brady has had some of his worst games in Miami, and yesterday was no different. Brady went went just 12-of-25 for 78 yards and was sacked four times. "Tough day," Brady said following the defeat. "As a team, we didn't execute very well all across the board. When it's 21-0, it's not one issue. It's quite a few things we've got to straighten out."
John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports on a razzle-dazzle trick play that the Patriots used to successfully get the football into the end zone yesterday. Unfortunately, the play was called back for involving an illegal forward pass. "We've been working on that play," Brady said. "It has never happened that way in practice. I figured the guy was open and it was just like we drew it up. I think the wind got hold of it, too, and the ball drifted a little."
Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports on the same trick play, noting that the Patriots always seem to mount some sort of comeback when things are looking grim. But not so fast. The play was called back. Brady didn't realize he was downfield on his catch. "I had no clue but that would have been a big play for us," he said. "That would have been nice to establish a little momentum and get some points on the board, but just as the day went it was nullified."
The Boston Herald's John Tomase reports on a bright spot in yesterday's game: Corey Dillon's rushing. Dillon was asked if he still feels a need to prove people wrong. "Not at all," he said. "You kidding me?" And to those who didn't think he could carry the load by himself anymore? "Shows what those people know, huh?" Dillon said.
Mark Farinella of The Sun Chronicle reports that the Patriots couldn't get much to go their way in the game. The loss denied the Pats an opportunity to clinch the divisional title in the wake of the Jets' 31-13 loss to Buffalo, and seriously wounded their chances to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. "In fact," writes Farinella, "if they don't reverse these negatives in a hurry, only the ineptitude of others might prevent them from missing the playoffs altogether."
Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports on the Patriots running game, which produced 123 yards on 25 carries. "I think we were productive in the run game when we were asked to do it," fullback Heath Evans said. Garven also touches on injuries, turnovers, and Hobbs.
The Woonsocket Call's Michael Parente reports that the only time Brady had ample protection from Miami's defense was when he was standing on the sideline watching Matt Cassel finish the game.
Art Martone of The Providence Journal hits on three main points of the game.
USA Today's Inside Slant hasn't been updated since Saturday, but check it out to see where the Patriots stood entering yesterday's game.