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Patriots’ second-half deluge sinks Dolphins
Brady threw for only 153 yards, and Randy Moss was held without a catch for the first time since 2006, but the Patriots still registered their biggest point total yet. They’re averaging 33 points per game.
New England trailed 7-6 at halftime, but when Brandon Tate returned the second half kickoff 103 yards for a score, the deluge was on before a stunned crowd. In the fourth quarter, the stadium quickly emptied.
Another unexpected contribution came from linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who had the first two interceptions of his five-year career. Chung and Arrington scored their first career TDs, as did Patriots reserve fullback Danny Woodhead on an 11-yard reception.
The Patriots scored 17 points in a span of 2:16 bridging halftime to take command.
Miami’s Chad Henne was 29 of 39 for 302 yards and two scores, but he was yanked with 6½ minutes left after tying a career high with his third interception.
Henne blamed his first turnover on a forced pass, the second on inaccuracy and the last on a miscommunication.
“Overall it’s my fault,” he said. “I’ll take that one as a quarterback. I’ll put that on my shoulders.”
The pass picked off by Chung was especially ugly.
“It shocked me,” he said. “I was like, ‘He threw it? Thanks.’”
Tyler Thigpen finished up and threw the Dolphins‘ fourth interception.
The Dolphins had a punt blocked for the second week in a row.
Tate took the second-half kickoff in the end zone, cut toward the right sideline and scored untouched, giving the Patriots their first lead. Miami went three and out, and Chung blocked Brandon Fields’ punt.
“It’s not the guy who blocks it, it’s the other guys that hit the gaps and take the blockers and open it up for the guy that they missed,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “It was a nice job by the whole team. … We’ve been close on a couple and haven’t gotten them, so it was great to get them.”
Two plays later, BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a 12-yard run.
When the Dolphins lined up for a 53-yard field goal attempt that would have cut the deficit to 10 points, Chung again broke through to block the kick, and Arrington recovered with nothing but the end zone in front of him.
“Special teams decided this game,” said Dolphins kick returner Nolan Carroll, who also plays on the coverage team. “It’s a blow to our gut.”
Brady was sacked three times but finished 19 of 24 with no interceptions.
Notes: Tate had a 97-yard kickoff return for a score in the season opener against Cincinnati. … Moss, covered by Vontae Davis most of the game, was shut out for the first time since Nov. 19, 2006, against Kansas City.
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
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