The Patriots have played 10 games since getting drubbed in Miami 30-10 in Week Four. This Saturday they get a chance to exact a measure of revenge as they shoot for the AFC East title.
In that first meeting, Miami pushed New England around on both sides of the ball. Led by Lamar Smith's 144 yards, the Dolphins ran for more than 200 yards. The performance stills leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the Patriots. Linebacker Bryan Cox knows the teams are much different today than they were 11 weeks ago, but the performance has stuck in his head.
"In the back of your mind, you are saying, 'I got my ass kicked,' and any way you slice it, [that is true]," Cox said. "But the good thing about it is I'm not afraid of it. I can only speak for my play, and I was kind of embarrassed by it and I'm looking for a much better effort.
"You have to face what beat you. This week I get to face what beat me. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not the least bit apprehensive. I think this is the type of challenge we need. It's going to be smash-mouth, and if we are going to do well the next couple weeks, it has to start here."
Getting an improved performance could make a world of difference for New England. Last time the teams met, the Patriots were coming off their first win of the season and were hit with a huge reality check. This time around, reality is that the Dolphins are reeling a bit while New England has worked its way into the thick of the playoff race.
Miami was blanked 21-0 by San Francisco Sunday, the second time the Dolphins were shut out in five games.
"This week is as important as it gets," Cox said. "This is definitely going to be a challenge for us. They are coming off an ugly defeat, so we're going to get them [ready to go]."
Brady gets 12th Player Award
The honors continue to pile up for quarterback Tom Brady, who was voted as the New England Patriots 12th Player Award winner, the team announced Tuesday.
Brady will be presented with the award Wednesday by Shaw's Supermarkets and representatives from Kimberly-Clark Corporation. It is presented annually to the Patriots player who performs above fan expectations and is determined by fan voting at Shaw's Supermarkets displays during the season and online at www.shaws.com.
The Patriots are 9-3 since Brady took over, which ties the second-year player with Babe Parilli for the best record in franchise history after 12 starts. With a victory over the Dolphins Saturday he can become the first Patriot to win 10 of his first 13 starts. Brady is also on pace to set a single-season team record with a 64.7 completion percentage (236-of-365 attempts). Only St. Louis' Kurt Warner (66.7 pct.) and Oakland's Rich Gannon (66.5 pct.) have a higher completion percentage in the league this year. With 16 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions, Brady also boasts an 88.1 passer rating, third highest in the AFC.