▪ Impact player: Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington picked up a blocked field-goal attempt by Caleb Sturgis and ran it back for the TD that gave the Patriots a lead they never relinquished.
▪ Highlights: First play, bam! Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace for 50 yards up the left sideline. Jason Trusnik, a backup linebacker forced into a starting role by injuries, picked off New England quarterback Tom Brady by tipping the pass and catching the deflection at the Dolphins’ 34. The next Miami drive ended with Sturgis’ 24-yard field goal.
▪ Lowlights: The Wallace catch led to Sturgis’ 41-yard field-goal attempt, which got blocked by Jamie Collins and returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Arrington to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead. First-and-goal at the Patriots’ 10 got only the aforementioned field goal.
▪ Impact player: Wallace made only two catches for 39 yards, but one was a 32-yard, one-handed touchdown catch with five seconds left in the half that seemed to swing momentum into halftime.
▪ Highlights: Sturgis drilled a 51-yard field goal after the Dolphins forced a New England three-and-out. Jarvis Landry’s 32-yard punt return put the Dolphins on the Patriots’ 32. The next play, Wallace caught a bomb with one hand, landed with one knee and two feet in the end zone, leaving the Dolphins down only 14-13 at halftime.
▪ Lowlights: Duron Harmon intercepted Tannehill and ran it back to the Dolphins’ 8-yard-line. Shane Vereen danced into the end zone three plays later. Miami’s Damian Williams worked a stop-and-go perfectly up the left sideline, Tannehill put a 35-yard touchdown in his hands…and it slipped through Williams’ palms.
▪ Impact player: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught three passes — a touchdown and two bombs that set up touchdowns — for 97 yards and blocked ferociously when New England ran.
▪ Highlights: Well … the Patriots didn’t score a touchdown on every possession … the Dolphins got a first down on the next-to-last play of the quarter.
▪ Lowlights: Sprinkled among New England’s franchise-record 24 points were two Dolphins three-and-outs and an interception. The Patriots opened the second half the way the Dolphins opened the first — with a bomb: Brady to Gronkowski for 35 yards. A LaGarrette Blount touchdown followed. Then a Gostkowski 35-yard field goal. The play after a Patrick Chung interception, Gronkowski caught a 27-yard touchdown up the seam. Gronkowski’s next catch, a 35-yarder, was followed by Julian Edelman’s 6-yard touchdown catch.
▪ Impact player: Tannehill completed 12 of 19 passes, including 4 for 4 on fourth down. Only three of those gained first downs, however.
▪ Highlights: Tannehill kept drives going with fourth down completions to Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews and Wallace.
▪ Lowlights: They didn’t quit, but that underneath throw to Daniel Thomas on fourth-and-18 from the Patriots’ 25 came off as awfully meek. So did allowing a sack against a three-man rush on fourth-and-goal from the 23 (you read that right). A Tannehill fumble, recovered by tackle Ja’Wuan James pushed one potential scoring drive back 16 yards. The next play, with an unnecessary roughness penalty called on New England’s Brandon Browner, the victim, Brandon Gibson, gave it right back by jumping in Browner’s face and receiving a penalty against the Dolphins.