Grading the Miami Dolphins for their (ugly) 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots

Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) & Co. look grim on the sideline. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) & Co. look grim on the sideline. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


There wasn’t much Matt Moore could do given protection problems. Moore finished 24 of 34 for 205 yards. His poorest decision was trying to force a ball to Dion Sims after the Patriots stormed ahead 14-0. Moore scrambled to his left but then had to throw across his body, allowing CB Logan Ryan to make an easy interception to set up a field goal.

Grade: C

Running backs

Backup Damien Williams has provided plenty of major contributions despite limited opportunities this season. Sunday was not his day. The Dolphins’ last gasp ended early in the fourth quarter when Matt Moore hit Williams with a pass, but Devin McCourty popped the ball out of Williams’ grasp. Shea McClellin scooped it up and returned it 69 yards. Three plays later, LeGarrett Blount walked into the end zone for a 35-14 lead to put this one on us. Jay Ajayi was largely a non-factor, partially because New England jumped to such a huge early lead.

Grade: C-minus


Jarvis Landry tried to awaken the Dolphins with his 8-yard TD reception after bouncing off LB Dont’a Hightower. Unfortunately, the refs didn’t like the part about Landry’s helmet bouncing off the turf in celebration and the penalty almost cost the Dolphins three points when New England parlayed good field position after the kickoff for a long field-goal try that was wide right. Overall, Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker had flashes Sunday, but that’s all they were.

Grade: C

Offensive line

Matt Moore wasn’t sacked but faced plenty of heat. And Jay Ajayi didn’t have much room to roam.

Grade: D-plus

Defensive line

DE Andre Branch said the Dolphins wanted to give Tom Brady a “dirty pocket” to work with. Brady’s pocket was squeaky clean, as was his jersey. Brady surveyed the field, calmly completing 25 of 33 for 276 yards and three touchdowns. He was not intercepted, of course. Brady was not sacked, either. Much is expected of this high-priced defensive line. Sunday, it did not deliver.

Grade: D-plus


A performance like too many others this season. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Grade: D-plus

Defensive backs

Tony Lippett & Co. were carried the final 3 yards into the end zone by Michael Floyd for New England’s second TD. This unit has been decimated by injuries, so it’s no surprise Julian Edelman & Co. were romping up and down the field as they pleased. It was a tough day for Lippett, who was nearly KO’d by Michael Floyd on Julian Edelman’s 77-yard catch and run for a TD.

Grade: D-plus

Special teams

Quiet day. A poor 33-yard punt and a holding penalty on Neville Hewitt set up the Patriots on Miami’s 45, making the second TD drive a cinch. Jakeem Grant fumbled a punt return but recovered. Lafayett Pitts and Matt Darr combined to down a punt on the New England 6.

Grade: C

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