First quarter• Impact player: Chris McCain. The Dolphins rookie backup linebacker doing his special teams time blocked the first New England punt. The Dolphins’ first possession of the season started at the New England 15.
• Highlights: A perfect start — three-and-out on the first New England possession followed by the blocked punt and, four plays later, a 4-yard touchdown pass to Lamar Miller.
• Lowlights: Allowing 10 points on the Patriots’ second and third possessions, an 80-yard touchdown drive and a field goal drive. New England started the latter drive at the Dolphins 35 after a Mike Wallace fumble.
Second quarter• Impact player: New England quarterback Tom Brady’s numbers – 9 of 16 for 118 yards and a touchdown — don’t also say he led the Patriots on a two-minute drill to a field goal.
• Highlights: After Lamar Miller’s fumble, the Dolphins defense mitigated the damage by getting a three-and-out. Brian Hartline’s first catch, an 11-yarder, converted a third-and-4 on the way to Caleb Sturgis’ 38-yard field goal.
• Lowlights: Wallace got open deep twice. A bad Ryan Tannehill underthrow the first time resulted in an interception by Alfonzo Dennard. The second time, Wallace caught the pass but couldn’t keep his feet inbounds. Miller got popped into a scene from Charlie Brown, ball flying one way and cleats flying the other. The Patriots recovered the ball, Miller recovered his footwear.
Third quarter• Impact player: Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno ripped through the Patriots for 68 yards on nine carries in the third quarter as the Dolphins took physical control of the game.
• Highlights: Another strong start to a half. A field goal drive heavily seasoned with Moreno followed by Cameron Wake’s fumble-causing sack of Brady and Louis Delmas recovering. Four players later, Tannehill hit Wallace for a touchdown to tie the score. A field goal on the next drive put the Dolphins up 23-20. The defense allowed 28 total yards.
• Lowlights: Not counting field goal attempts, the Dolphins snapped the ball at or inside the New England 10 five times on two different drives. Both drives ended in field goals instead of touchdowns.
Fourth quarter• Impact player: Tannehill conducted an 85-yard touchdown drive, completing two third down passes in the process. Tannehill did it after a roughing-the-passer penalty that looked like it could have dislodged his jaw
• Highlights: Drive ending sacks by Olivier Vernon and Wake, the latter causing a fumble that led to the final field goal. Up 23-20 with 9:30 left, the Dolphins came up with the drive of the game, going 85 yards in 12 plays to Moreno’s physical 4-yard touchdown run.
• Lowlights: Tannehill fumbled on the first play of the quarter, but recovered. Taking over at the Patriots’ 14 up 30-20, the Dolphins didn’t truly strike a knockout blow with a touchdown. Obviously, we’re reaching here.