Dolphins rushing offense vs. Patriots rushing offense
Who won: Patriots.
The impact: Coming off of a promising boost to their running game in Week 7, the Dolphins got another strong effort from pending free-agent Reggie Bush. Bush finished with 64 yards on in 15 carries. He found little support from Daniel Thomas, who finished with just 10 yards on five carries. It was Thomas’ lowest total since Week 3 at Arizona, when he finished with 4 yards. In a game that was defined by missed opportunities, Miami held the Patriots to just 10 yards in the first half. But New England gained ground in the third quarter, with 46 yards between Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead. Even with Tannehill carrying for 19, the Dolphins needed more than a solo effort from Bush.
Tannehell’s Enthusiasm vs. Brady’s Experience
Who won: Brady
The impact: Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was on the upswing after the win over Seattle. In Sunday’s loss to New England, the 24-year old tried to do everything himself. From his contribution to the running game, overthrowing and underthrowing a wide-open Brian Hartline, and taking some hard hits from the Patriots, Tannehill knew there were plays to be made. He completed 44.8 percent of his pass attempts for 186 yards.
Tom Brady’s veteran experience showed: He went 24 for 40 for 238 yards and a touchdown. But Brady’s rocky first quarter led to his first interception in 202 attempts. Brady’s team turned up the offense in the final quarter to lock down the AFC East title.
Dolphins pass defense vs. Patriots WR Wes Welker
Who won: Welker
The impact: There is a chemistry between Tom Brady and Wes Welker and it showed on Sunday. Welker tied Jerry Rice for the most career games (17) with at least 10 receptions, but did it twice as fast as Rice in just 136 games. The 31-year old caught 12 passes from Brady for 103 yards, while Aaron Hernandez wasn’t far behind him with 97 yards on eight receptions. In his past three games against the Dolphins, Welker has 401 yards receiving. The former Dolphins wide receiver considers it a compliment to be mentioned among some of the greatest receivers in the game , but says “I just go out there and try to do my job. … I want to have good games against everybody.”