MIAMI GARDENS -- When looking for turning points in the Patriots' 41-14 win over the Dolphins, receiver Brandon Tate's 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is the place to start.
“That’s what we’ve been talking about the whole time, second-half momentum," said running back Sammy Morris, who delivered a crunching block to get Tate started. "It’s hard to think of a better way to start a second half than get a touchdown."
Tate's return was a terrific individual and team effort, as he sold an up-the-middle return before making a sharp cut to his right.
Coach Bill Belichick explained that the team had run a similar return to the other side of the field earlier in the game.
"He got a great block from Sammy Morris and then just turned it on and split it," Belichick said. "Brandon has been close several times this year. He doesn't need much room. He hit it and it was all over."
Both Belichick and Tate were quick to point out the other blockers who made the return possible, a group including offensive lineman Dan Connolly and tight ends Alge Crumpler and Rob Gronkowski in the wedge, and James Sanders, Danny Woodhead, Rob Ninkovich, Tracy White, Jarrad Page and Dane Fletcher.
"Without them it wouldn't be possible," Tate said.