Sunday, November 8, 2009
Halftime observations from Dolphins-Patriots
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Miami Dolphins are keeping it close in Gillette Stadium, and desperation has been the catalyst once more.
The Dolphins entered Sunday's game against the New England Patriots banged up on defense and lost a couple more starters in the first quarter. The Patriots kicked a field goal to take a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.
The game was getting away from the Dolphins, and they can't afford to lose. They're 3-4, and if they don't beat the Patriots, then they can drop only one more game in their final eight and expect to make the playoffs. This year, 9-7 might not cut it.
So the Dolphins decided to get creative.
Similar to last year, when they went into Foxborough with a 0-2 record and set loose the Wildcat, the Dolphins went back in time for an unusual remedy: the option.
The ploy worked. Rookie quarterback Pat White kept it for runs of 33 and 4 yards and pitched it to Ricky Williams for a 15-yard game-tying touchdown. The Dolphins drove 80 yards without completing a pass.
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski answered with his second and third field goals to give the Patriots a 16-10 lead, but the halftime chalk talk is going to be a little more animated than one would have assumed after a quarter and a half.
The Patriots hold a 268-156 edge in yards from scrimmage and have kept Ted Ginn from making up ground like he did last week at the Meadowlands. Ginn has one kickoff return for 37 yards, but Gostkowski has drilled two other kicks out of the end zone.
Wildcat trigger man Ronnie Brown has been irrelevant so far. He has seven carries for 14 yards. Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne is 6-of-13 for 88 yards and no interceptions.
Tom Brady has been mostly sharp for New England. He is 18-of-29 for 224 yards, but hasn't been able to turn matriculation into touchdowns. Laurence Maroney has nine carries for 38 yards and the Patriots' only touchdown, a 1-yard run after Brady connected with Randy Moss down the right sideline for 36 yards.
Patriots center Dan Koppen has a knee injury. His return has been announced in the press box as questionable. He was replaced by Dan Connolly.