Heading into Week 1 of the NFL season, the New England Patriots went through some big changes, losing players like Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and most importantly Tom Brady. With Brady heading to Tampa Bay, the team decided to sign Cam Newton. With Newton, the team is off to a great start to the season in Week 1 defeating the Miami Dolphins 21-11.
In his first start with New England, Cam Newton completed 15 out of 19 passes for 155 yards and a passer rating of 100.7. On the ground, Newton ran for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 carries.
Even though Newton was out for most of last season with the Carolina Panthers, in his first game with New England it was nothing short of exciting. In the first half, the Patriots used Newton’s biggest strength to use calling a lot of read-option and play action plays, allowing Newton to run the ball and lead a run-heavy offense. He did just that showcasing how dangerous he is running the ball. Although the team was using Newton for his legs for the first half, one criticism people had was the fact New England was not allowing Newton to throw the ball in the first half but it did not last long.
In the second half the team allowed Newton to showcase his arm strength, throwing passes to Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry. All in all, Newton looked like a form of his old self in his first start against Miami. Cam Newton made effective plays with his arm and his feet, reading the defense to find the holes. Even though it was only the first game of the season, Newton added a new dynamic to the New England offense and quite honestly it is more fun to watch. Heading towards the rest of the season, the team and Newton can only get better from here.
Outside of Newton, Julian Edelman played a huge factor with 5 receptions and 57 receiving yards on 7 targets averaging 11.4 yards per catch. Edelman came up huge for New England in the first drive in the second half, catching 3 passes for Newton for 35 yards. Even though Edelman was on a roll in the game, the running game played an even more important role, and although Sony Michel led the way in yards for the running backs with 37 yards, JJ Taylor came out of nowhere and made his presence known running for 28 yards on 4 carries averaging 7 yards per run.
For Miami, Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 20 out of 30 passes for 191 yards, 3 interceptions, and a passer rating of 44.6. In the first half Fitzpatrick looked lost, not completing his passes or making any plays offensively for Miami. Although Fitzpatrick did make some passes in the first half, it did not lead to much offense.
In the second half Fitzpatrick came back strong, driving Miami down the field making smart passes and keeping the Dolphins in the game, leading the team to a touchdown near the end of the 3rd quarter to be only down by 3. In the 4th quarter, Fitzpatrick again led the team on a strong drive hoping to keep the team in the game with a touchdown, only to have the drive end after throwing an interception to J.C. Jackson at the endzone.
Even though Miami lost the game, Preston Williams and Devonte Parker were huge targets for Fitzpatrick. Although Williams had 2 receptions for 41 yards, he has to get better at making catches consistently. He did have a chance to make a difference with Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball 7 times. The running game tried to get going for Miami but New England kept it to only 87 yards.
On the New England defensive side of the ball, Stephon Gillmore, J.C. Jackson, and Adrian Phillips came up big for New England, all picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick. Outside of the interceptions, throughout the entire game the defense did a terrific job giving Miami a tough time especially Ryan Fitzpatrick.
On the Miami side of things, the team did not have an answer for Cam Newton and the new look Patriots offense consistently. When it looked like Miami was going to make a stop, New England found a way to keep the offense on the field. Despite that, the team did keep the game close until the 4th quarter, although N’Keal Harry fumbling the ball at the end zone in the 3rd quarter resulting in a touch back played a huge factor. If it wasn’t for the touchback, the game would have been 21-3 New England.
After a win against Miami, the New England Patriots are on the road for the first time this season traveling to CenturyLink Field to play Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. Seattle is coming off a 38-25 win against the Atlanta Falcons.
After a loss in New England, the Miami Dolphins are heading home to Miami for the first home game of the season against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is coming off a 27-17 win against the New York Jets.
Photo Credit: Steven Senne/Associated Press
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