New-look run game fuels Patriots' season opener win

New-look run game fuels Patriots’ season opener win

  • Adrian Phillips
  • Bill Belichick
  • Cam Newton
  • Derek Rivers
  • J.C. Jackson
  • Julian Edelman
  • Miami Dolphins
  • N'Keal Harry
  • New England Patriots
  • Stephon Gilmore
By RussellJakubowski September 14, 2020 0 Comment

The New England Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins in a 21-11 home opener. The Patriots’ new and improved run game was the key to this victory, totaling¬†217 yards on 42 carries. That is the most rushing attempts in a Patriots’ opener since 2006.

They racked up three rushing touchdowns and averaged a solid 5.2 yards per carry. Everyone ate in this offense. Six players had 20 plus rushing yards this week. The Patriots dictated the trenches, and that was the key to their first victory. They had 42 carries compared to Miami’s 27.

Cam Newton looks like a perfect fit

Cam Newton was efficient, completing 15 of his 19 passes. Shockingly, only two wide receivers caught passes, and that was star Julian Edelman and youngster N’Keal Harry.

In his debut, Newton scored his first two Patriots rushing touchdowns. Sony Michel pounded in the other.

Defense picks up right where they left off

In disciplined Belichick style, the Patriots minimized turnovers with just one.

On defense, New England dominated all game in the air and on the ground. They held Miami to 3.2 yards per carry and 6.4 yards per passing attempt. The Dolphins also turned the ball over three times – specifically three Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions. Stephon Gilmore, Adrian Phillips and J.C. Jackson each came down with one.

The Patriots only sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick once. And it was defensive end Derek Rivers of all people.

No receiver for the Miami Dolphins went over 50 yards receiving yards on the day.

Looking ahead for the Patriots

This game showed the direction and the future of the Patriots. They have transitioned to a run-first team who for the first time in 19 years have a mobile quarterback.

The Patriots will eventually have to go vertical as they get challenged down the stretch. But until then, the Patriots run game will keep teams on their heels and will dictate the pace of play.

This has the hallmark of a Belichick team, an offense that controls the clock and a defense that can suffocate the opponent and create short fields.

This is an old-school team in a new age of NFL football. The rest of the league will be watching closely to see how it works out for the remainder of the season.

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