Who Can Stop The Patriots? Tom Brady And New England Blow Up The Dolphins

The New England Patriots are good.

Even when the Patriots are banged up and sluggish, they remain the team to beat in the AFC East. The Miami Dolphins (3-4) are the latest team to find that out. They lost to the reigning Super Bowl champs 36-7, on Thursday Night Football. Who can stop Brady and the Patriots?

Tom Brady threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns. He ended the night with a crispy 133.2 passer rating. With the win, the Patriots became the first of the NFL’s five unbeaten teams to reach seven wins.

The loss was the first for Miami under interim coach Dan Campbell. The Dolphins scored 82 points in wins over the lowly Titans and Texans in Campbell’s first two games after replacing Joe Philbin. Their test was the prime-time showdown against the Patriots. They weren’t ready. From the start the Dolphins seemed to be unnerved by the Patriots. They made mistakes that ultimately led to the New England pounding.

Who Can Stop The Patriots?
[Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]
It could be an even bigger loss for the Dolphins because four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake was carted off the field with an Achilles tendon injury.

The Patriots are 7-0 for the second time in franchise history and first time since going 16-0 in 2007. They’ve scored at least 28 points in every game and 30 or more in six straight.

Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski for a 47-yard scoring pass on the opening drive. But the Dolphins’ defense stiffened and allowed the Patriots a total of 65 yards on their next five possessions. Suddenly, it seemed like Miami just might have a chance against the Patriots.

The Patriots decided to flex their defensive muscles. Just when the Dolphins looked to have a chance, the Patriots clamped down and proved they can win without Brady. The New England defense stole the show.

The Dolphins failed to run an offensive play in the Patriots’ half of the field. The Patriots went up 9-0 on a safety after center Mike Pouncey snapped the ball before Tannehill was ready on a third down from the 9. The closest Miami came to points was a 63-yard field goal attempt as time expired. The first half ended with the Patriots leading 19-0.

Who Can Stop The Patriots?
[Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]
A week after setting an NFL record with 25 straight completions, Ryan Tannehill had a rough night against the Patriots. He threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. The lone score against the Patriots came when Lamar Miller scored on a 1-yard run at the start of the second half.

The Patriots are on a roll and look like they’re headed toward another undefeated season. The average margin of the Patriots’ victories is larger than any of the other undefeated teams, according to The New York Times.

The Patriots’ average margin of victory is about 17 points. That is higher than the average of the 1972 Dolphins (15) and significantly better than the averages of this year’s other unbeaten teams: the Green Bay Packers (11), the Cincinnati Bengals (10), the Carolina Panthers (9) and the Denver Broncos (6).

The Patriots are looking as strong as they did in that 2007 campaign. Brady is on par to match or better his passing stats from that year. The running game is looking sturdy. That will help Brady when he’s not being a superhero.

Now that the Dolphins have been brought back to earth by the Patriots, the rest of the NFL will have to be on alert. The Patriots remaining schedule has only a few obstacles that might stand in the way of another perfect regular-season record.

For the moment, the Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC East. The other unbeaten teams will have their chance to match the Patriots at 7-0, this weekend. After that, a worthy challenger will have to somehow prove they can stop them.

[Feature Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]

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