Tale Of The Tape: Miami Dolphins At New England Patriots

Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Dolphins have struggled badly and have now lost three consecutive games after winning their first three. Some of this is on quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has lacked the consistency in his game that he showed earlier this season and during his rookie year. Tannehill has good mobility and can throw on the move, but he does not have a powerful arm.
Winner This has not been the kind of stellar season that Tom Brady has usually enjoyed, and the lack of talent at the wide receiver position is a big reason for the downturn. However, Brady has made some poor throws, including the interception for a touchdown that Antonio Allen of the Jets returned in Week Seven. Brady’s performance should pick up with the return of Rob Gronkowski.
The Dolphins don’t have the kind of offense that is going to allow them to reel off three consecutive touchdowns and blow out an opponent. Running back Lamar Miller lacks special qualities, but he is averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Brian Hartline has excellent hands and can make key catches to keep drives alive. Mike Wallace has the speed to stretch the defense and make big plays.
Winner Stevan Ridley appears to have recaptured the starting running back position, but he could lose it if his fumbling problem returns. The Pats got a huge lift from the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski. His timing with Brady is not where it will be in another week or two, but he is the team’s best downfield weapon. Julian Edelman is versatile and reliable.
The Dolphins have not been overwhelming on defense, as they rank 20th in total yards allowed. Outside linebacker Philip Wheeler has a team-high 43 tackles and he is not going to let may ball carriers slip through his grasp. The Dolphins don’t have enough playmakers on defense, but middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has 40 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
Winner The Pats have been wrecked by injuries on defense. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and middle linebacker Jerod Mayo, arguably their two best players on that side of the ball, are out for the season. Top cover corner Aqib Talib (hip) did not play against the Jets, but he could be back for this game. Strong safety Steve Gregory has 45 tackles, the most of any active defensive player.
Special Teams
The Dolphins do a decent job in the punt and kickoff coverage, but they would like to get more from return specialist Marcus Thigpen. Placekicker Caleb Sturgis is fairly reliable as he has made 10-of-12 FG attempts, while Brandon Fields is averaging 49.9 yards per punt.
Winner The Patriots do an excellent job in the punt and kickoff coverage, and Edelman is capable of giving them a boost in coverage. Stephen Gostkowski is one of the most consistent field goal kickers in the league, having made 18-of-19 three-point attempts this season.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
4 out of 4

The Pats are coming off a painful loss in Week Seven. They responded to their earlier loss with their best game of the season, a win over the Saints. Look for a strong showing from Bill Belichick’s team as it returns home to face another divisional rival.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

    The Vikings and Bears square off in a battle of NFC North divisional rivals.

  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

    Two of the top rookie QBs face off in Big D.

  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

    The Cardinals are still trying to catch the Seahawks atop the NFC West, they now take on the embattled Panthers.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App
Drip Pan: Restaurant Week 365

Listen Live