The Patriots will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and fall to 6-8 on the season.  The offense struggled to move the ball and did not score a touchdown in the game.  The defense also struggled to stop the run as the Dolphins ran for 250 yards.  The Patriots led 6-0 at the half, but three drives of 70+ yards, including a 14 play, 90-yard drive put Miami on top. 

Failing On Offense

The offense has had its struggles this season, and it really isn’t on any single person.  Cam has struggled, the offensive line has been injured, and the skill positions are not the most talented.  This game really showed those struggles.  The Pats could not really get any momentum on offense.  Miami missed a lot of chances and the Patriots could have won this game if they could get something going on offense.  

This has been a story all season for the Pats.  The defense has played well for most of the year, but the offense struggled.  But it is on the entire unit.  There isn’t one player that can be singled out as the main problem.  Cam has taken most of it, but he was signed late and dealt with COVID-19 early on.

Nick Folk

It is worth noting how good Nick Folk has been this season.  The Patriots picked Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round in this year’s draft, but he has been stuck on the practice squad all season.  And that is because Folk has been money.  The 36-year old veteran kicker is 25 of 27 this season and hasn’t missed since week two.  He has also kicked two-game winners, both from 50 yards or more.  He may be the Patriots’ best offensive player, and that is good and bad.

Stars Developing On Defense

The defense was not the best yesterday, but there are some players beginning to shine.  J.C. Jackson made a huge interception in the red zone, making it eight on the season for him.  He has been New England’s best defensive back this season, and that is saying something in a secondary with Stephon Gilmore in it.  

Another developing star is Terez Hall.  Hall came off the practice squad earlier this season and he has been very impressive.  His playing time has only increased and was New England’s leading tackler yesterday with 13 total tackles.

Adrian Phillips has been the Patriots’ best free-agent signing and there is no question about it.  Phillips has been flying all over the field playing both in the secondary and at linebacker.  Phillips had six tackles yesterday and registered his first career sack.  He was a very underrated signing this offseason from the Chargers and he has blossomed here.  

Rookie Josh Uche doesn’t really show up on the stat sheet, but he continues to play extremely well.  The rookie out of Michigan has shown great ability to rush the passer and seems to always be around the play.

What Now?

The next two weeks will be interesting, especially on the offense.  Whatever happens, could set up for 2021.  Will Cam Newton finish the season at quarterback?  Or will Jarrett Stidham get a good hard look?  If Cam starts, he has a good shot at being the quarterback in 2021, but if he doesn’t start the last two, it will be interesting how that position shakes out during this offseason. 

This will definitely be one of the most important and interesting offseasons in a while, and this could set up for the next few years.  New England has a lot of cap space, and a lot of positions to fill.  But there are still two games left before we get there.  The AFC East Champions come to town on Monday night, and this is an important game to build up some momentum and positivity leading into 2021.  We haven’t been here in a while, but let’s all enjoy these last two weeks with such a fun and likable team.  On to Buffalo.