The last time the Dolphins played the Patriots at home the Patriots waxed the Dolphins 41-14. In 2009 however, the Dolphins beat the Patriots at home, 22-21. You have to wonder about the lying factors that need to be taken into account when you predict what will happen this time around in the season opener. Believe it or not, Chad Henne started their last home game against the Pats going 7 for 7 for 93 yards, hitting Davone Bess for a twenty yard touchdown to start the game off on top, 7-0. The Dolphins defense did a superb job holding the Patriots offense to six points in the first half. Chad Henne was bailed out after throwing two picks to Patriots’ defensive end Rob Ninkovich. During the second half the Patriots special teams played lights out football with a kickoff return for a touchdown, a blocked punt, and a blocked field goal scoop and score. Both blocks were made by Patriots’ strong safety Patrick Chung.
In 2009, Chad Henne threw for a career-high 335 yards in the Dolphins home defeat over the Patriots. Chad Henne also threw an interception in the game but Brady out did Chad’s mistakes by throwing two interceptions himself. Contrary to the 2010 home game against the Patriots, the Dolphins started this game trailing fourteen points, shutting the Patriots out in the fourth quarter. The Patriots still had an opportunity to close out the game with four minutes to go in the fourth, but Dolphins’ cornerback Vontae Davis intercepted a pass intended for Randy Moss which prevented the Patriots from scoring and preserved the win for the Dolphins.
It’s definitely uncharacteristic-like of Brady to blow a two minute drill at the end of a game and it’s shocking to see the Dolphins change their offensive game plan by being a pass first team but it’s what got the job done. It’s hard to predict what the outcome will be on opening day between the two rivals. It’s true that “Big time players make big time plays in big time games,” but you don’t always know who is going to intercept a pass when their team needs it or block a field goal to change the momentum of the game, you can only guess.
The Dolphins are typically a very predictable offense but if they can keep the Patriots off guard like they did in 2009 it could be another nail biting finish this season opener. I don’t know if the Dolphins will bring the wild cat back but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of trickery in this game to get an edge over the Patriots. I expect Miami to design a game plan dedicated to Reggie Bush’s skillset while trying to set up the play action to get Godzilla (Brandon Marshall) involved. I predict that the Pats will be more conventional with a vertical passing attack in their double tight end sets. That combined with downhill running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis and hybrid run and catch running back Danny Woodhead could ruin the Dolphins on opening day. Final score: Patriots 31, Dolphins 24.