The guard has not changed.
The King is alive and well.
And the Dolphins are still light years behind the class of the AFC East.
The New England Patriots finally arrived Sunday. And the Dolphins helped them get right.
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The result: Patriots 38, Dolphins 7.
“They remember what we did to them [last year],” cornerback Xavien Howard said, referring to Miami’s 27-20 victory over the Patriots last fall. “We’ve got the same feeling after this game, we got the same taste in our mouths that they had when we whooped them down in Miami. They’ve got to see us again.”
The Dolphins should have a chance in the game, based simply on its location.
It’s at home. Not on the road.
And the Dolphins are a completely different team in Miami than they are outside of it.
Sunday was the Dolphins’ ninth double-digit road loss in the Adam Gase era. But that doesn’t come close to explaining how awful they have been away from home.
They are 7-12 in such games, including the playoffs. They have now lost games by 40, 32, 31 and 24 points on the road with Gase as the coach. Their average margin of defeat? 9.4 points.
Compare that to their 12-6 home record under Gase. They have scored 22 more points than their opponents in games at Hard Rock Stadium.
Can you explain that Jekyll and Hyde act?
“Nope,” said Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, who had three catches for 40 yards. “We got beat today. But I think a lot of the things that happened out there, we’re hurting ourselves.”
Yes, there were some issues. Like two turnovers. Like 10 penalties for 89 yards, many of which came on third down. Like third-down execution.
That will get you beat against bad teams.
Against the Patriots, it will get you embarrassed.
Sunday was on track to be the biggest New England beatdown in the series’ 53-year history until Frank Gore caught a garbage time touchdown with 2:42 left.
Those were the only points the Dolphins scored all day.
“I don’t know what the answer to that is specifically,” Ryan Tannehill said, when asked about the Dolphins’ trend of getting smoked on the road. “Nothing was executed the way we wanted to offensively today and when you don’t do that, when you never get anything going, you play a good team on the road, that’s what’s going to happen.”
It was the kind of loss that not only revealed the gap that still remains between the Patriots (2-2) and Dolphins (3-1), but also one that could reverberate for weeks to come.
Because an already injured Dolphins roster got a lot more banged up.
Cornerback Bobby McCain was knocked out of the game with a knee injury.
Center Daniel Kilgore hurt his arm and did not return. And Sam Young replaced right tackle Ja’Wuan James late in the game, although it’s unclear if it was due to injury or performance.
And this was a group already playing without DeVante Parker, Reshad Jones, Andre Branch, A.J. Derby and Chase Allen.
The Dolphins offense wasn’t just bad.
It was inept.
And it suggests that all of the pyrotechnics from the first three weeks masked some huge issues.
If the Dolphins don’t score on a big play, they can barely move the ball.
Of their 10 drives with Tannehill on the field, seven ended in punts, two in turnovers and the other when time ran out of the first half.
None of those 10 drives lasted more than five plays.
Nothing was good.
Not the offensive line, which could not block, committed ill-timed penalties and even struggled with the center-quarterback exchange.
Not Tannehill, who completed 11 of 20 passes for 100 yards.
Not the running backs, who averaged 3.1 yards per carry.
Not the tight ends, who combined for one catch.
And not the receivers, who created zero separation.
The news was no better on the other side of the ball.
The Dolphins defense gave up scoring drives of 74, 67, 22, 85, 59 and 90 yards.
The Patriots converted 10 of 15 third downs.
They out-gained the Dolphins 449-172.
They controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes and ran 75 plays.
Ugly. And all-too common.