Not Even Rookie Jones could stop the Dolphins
A great performance by the New England rookie but the Dolphins edged it in Foxborough
In an intriguing and close affair, the Miami Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots 17-16 at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on week one of the NFL. The Dolphins have now won three of their past four games on the road. They also increased their winning streak against Bill Belichick’s side to two, consecutively beating the Patriots for the first time since 2013/14. This also marks the first time the Dolphins have won two out of three at the Gillette Stadium since managing back-to-back away wins against the Patriots in 1999-2000. The Dolphins now lead the overall head-to-head standings between the two teams 57-54. Not great reading if you’re a Patriot fan.
Before the game all eyes were on New England’s Mac Jones, the rookie Quarterback, who was making his NFL start for the New England Patriots. It was to be an incredible start to his professional career, racking up 281 yards and one touchdown pass. His first touchdown was caught by wide receive Nelson Agholor, who had made his way to the Patriots in March. There would be no interceptions thrown by Jones and he would become only the fourth player since approximately 1950 to accumulate similar statistics when making their debut. The young man, however, would be the only one of those four who would end up on the losing side.
“I mean, it’s not fun to lose, so just learning from what we could have done better is definitely just the only thing you can do really. You can sit there and feel bad for yourself for a little bit because you’re human and that’s what you’re supposed to do, or you’re in the wrong profession. But you just got to move on”, Jones said after the game.
He added: “After 24 hours, for some people it’s less, but for me, after that, just move on and play the next play. Play the next game, and you’re only as good as your last game. We lost, and that's what people remember, so we just got to move forward.”
Comparing Mac Jones’ statistics to Tom Brady’s first start in 2000, there are some stark differences. One of the greatest, if not the greatest Quarterback of all-time managed 168 yards, no touchdowns and 13 out of 23 completed passes on his debut. Jones, who was only two-years-old when Tom Brady played his first professional game, proved that he certainly wasn’t out of his depth in the NFL. He completed 29 out of 39 passes and amassing over 100 passing yards more than Brady did in his first start. The fact that the Patriots couldn’t get over the line was mainly due to their fumbles, the only statistic that they were behind in, after the game. In fact, when looking at total yards, they completely dominated the Dolphins, managing 393 to 259 yards.
The two head coaches were understandably in different moods afterwards. “We just missed too many opportunities to win”, Belichick told reporters. “Got to take care of the ball better. Ball security, penalties; too many little missed things. Situational football, yeah, just all of it.” When asked about Mac Jones, he said: “Mac competed hard, some of the other guys competed hard. We just got to perform better as a team.” On the other side of the coin Dolphins head coach Brian Flores had this to say about the encounter: “The guys are excited that we won the game … You celebrate, you’re happy about it but then we got to turn the page. Move onto our next opponent, which is another, obviously, big game against a very good team. So, that’s the approach. I think there’s definitely excitement but we know there’s tough games on the horizon. So we have to be prepared for that.”
If his first performance is anything to go by, then do not miss this young man in action. The Patriots take on the Jets, who were beaten 19-14 by the Panthers. Mac Jones and his teammates will be looking to take some of the positives of this game into his next one. For the Dolphins, they will look to continue their good form against the Bills, who came off a 23-16 loss against the Steelers in their first game of the season. The NFL is back and aren’t we all happy about that.