Patriots defeat Dolphins, Garoppolo Goes Down
By Peter Santo
Everything was perfect for the first quarter and a half on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots had a 24-0 lead on a Dolphins team that simply cannot figure out how to win in Foxborough. Jimmy Garoppolo was on fire, throwing three first half touchdowns, two to Danny Amendola and one to new Tight End Martellus Bennett.
Although they eventually held on for a 31-24 victory, everything changed for the Patriots with four minutes remaining in the second quarter. Facing 3rd and 9 at the Miami 36 yard line, Garoppolo rolled out, escaping the rush before throwing a dart to rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell for the first down. Garoppolo immediately went down holding his shoulder after taking a hard hit, and was immediately taken to the locker room.
Rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett was quickly and unexpectedly thrown into the fire and was tasked with nailing down the Patriots’ second win of the young season. After two incompletions at the end 0f the first half, Brissett warmed up with emergency third string QB Julian Edelman before taking the field with a 24-3 lead.
Brissett looked excellent after settling in, leading the Patriots down the field to open up a 31-3 lead. From there he looked shaky at best, failing to lead the offense to a scoring drive for the remainder of the second half.
New England’s defense, which looked excellent through two quarters, also struggled in the second half, surrendering 21 second half points and allowing the Dolphins to at least make the game competitive.
With news surfacing following Sunday’s contest that Jimmy Garoppolo had a strained the AC joint and would at least miss Thursday’s game against the Houston Texans, the Patriots suddenly faced a pressing need at the game’s most important position.
With just four days to prepare for the Texans, it can be assumed that Jacoby Brissett will be the starter. However it would not be a surprise to see Bill Belichick look into other options at quarterback should Garoppolo not be ready to return for week four against the Buffalo Bills. Potential outside options would include Ryan Lindley, who spent last preseason with the team, Josh Freeman, and Matt Flynn.
It’s onto Houston in what should be an excellent test for the third round pick out of NC State.