Rapid Reaction: Patriots 38, Dolphins 24

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
10:44
PM ET

A few thoughts on the New England Patriots' 38-24 win against the Miami Dolphins.

What it means: The Patriots (1-0) looked sharp and worthy of the preseason hype. The offense scored plenty of points and kept the chains moving, and the defense made enough plays to keep the game out of reach. The Dolphins fall to 0-1 and lost at home for the eighth time in nine games. Miami was competitive for about three quarters. But the Dolphins were simply outclassed by a superior team.

Brady on fire: Tom Brady was incredible. He first incomplete pass didn't come until the second quarter. He started 8-for-8 and led New England to two quick touchdown drives. Brady continued to stay hot in the second half and finished with an astounding 517 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Brady played up to his MVP stature and easily picked apart Miami's secondary. Miami quarterback Chad Henne also played well. He threw for 416 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Turning point: The Patriots were in control much of the game. So it's hard to pinpoint one moment as the deciding factor. But Wes Welker's 99-yard touchdown catch put the game away for good. Trailing 14, the Dolphins turned the ball over on downs at the 1-yard line. Brady hit Welker on the next play over Dolphins corner Benny Sapp for the long touchdown to go up 21 points.

Big injury: Patriots center Dan Koppen suffered an ankle injury and was carted off the field in the second quarter. The team will await word on how long Koppen will be out. Backup center Ryan Wendell replaced Koppen and held his own in the second half.

What's next: The Patriots will host the San Diego Chargers (1-0) in a good matchup of undefeated teams. The Dolphins will play at home next week against the Houston Texans (1-0). It will be the second straight week Miami faces a very good passing offense. The Dolphins have a lot to correct defensively.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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