NFL Nation: Dolphins-Patriots
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The New England Patriots as you know them, those dominant and defiant Patriots of the past few years, are dead.
The Miami Dolphins won a 38-13 laugher Sunday -- in Foxborough, Mass., no less.
The Dolphins played more like a collection of XFL players a week earlier against the Arizona Cardinals, but they made the Patriots look like the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters.
Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown loved the tricky direct snaps. He ran for four touchdowns and passed for another. That the Patriots hadn't allowed a rushing touchdown in 37 quarters, counting the postseason, underscored what the Dolphins did to them.
We chuckled -- no, we hooted -- when Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter announced what was coming. He said the Dolphins would "throw the kitchen sink" at Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel. They did, sacking him four times. Porter got him thrice.
Miami went into Sunday's game with a better shot at landing the 2014 Winter Olympics than it did of beating New England, which had won 21 straight regular-season games. Miami had lost 20 of its past 21 games and hadn't won a road game since Thanksgiving 2006.
Now the Buffalo Bills are in control of the AFC East with a 3-0 record. The Patriots haven't been out of first place since Week 4 of 2005. The Bills haven't been in first place since Week 2 of 2003.
"We definitely don't live off the past and this is a new season, but this being our first loss of the season if definitely hurts," Patriots receiver Randy Moss told reporters. "What makes matters worse is that it was in the division, so that's really painful. They really came in and handed it to us in our house."
No, what makes it worse isn't that it was the division. It's that it was the Dolphins, a team that went 1-15 last year and looked thoroughly discombobulated in Arizona.
The Patriots hadn't trailed by 15 points in the first half since November 1999.
"We have concern," Patriots defensive end Jarvis Green told reporters. "We're all human."
The Dolphins, meanwhile, head into their bye week with newfound confidence after knocking off the defending AFC champs.
"I'm sure someplace on the plane I'll give myself a second here and really think about it and soak it in," said rookie head coach Tony Sparano told reporters. The rookie head coach notched his first regular-season career victory in definitive fashion.
"But what I envisioned was seeing the players in that locker room smile and that's really what I wanted. From the day I walked in this place, I wanted to see our players smile like that, I wanted to see our owners smile and [general manager] Jeff Ireland. I'm sure [football operations executive] Bill Parcells is smiling somewhere. That's what I wanted to see."
My earlier post about the Dolphins slipping below .500 in the post-Shula era looks like a royal jinx.
The Bills are making enough mistakes to be trailing an inferior team 9-7 at halftime. Marshawn Lynch was able to skirt the defense, tiptoe along the left sideline and score a 14-yard touchdown to put them ahead, 7-6.
But the Bills have fumbled three times, including their last two first-half drives. Quarterback Trent Edwards fumbled on the Bills' 40-yard line to set up the go-ahead 32-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal. Wide receiver Lee Evans coughed it up on the Raiders' 28-yard line with 40 seconds left.
4:30 PM ET Philadelphia Washington 8:25 PM ET San Diego San Francisco
1:00 PM ET Minnesota Miami 1:00 PM ET Baltimore Houston 1:00 PM ET Detroit Chicago 1:00 PM ET Cleveland Carolina 1:00 PM ET Atlanta New Orleans 1:00 PM ET Green Bay Tampa Bay 1:00 PM ET Kansas City Pittsburgh 1:00 PM ET New England New York 4:05 PM ET New York St. Louis 4:25 PM ET Buffalo Oakland 4:25 PM ET Indianapolis Dallas 8:30 PM ET Seattle Arizona