FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In the first game of the post-Tom Brady era, the New England Patriots were led by their new quarterback, Cam Newton, as they downed the Miami Dolphins, 21-11, in front of an empty Gillette Stadium.
Newton rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns while completing 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards in the win.
The QB found the end zone on a four-yard scamper 6:11 into the second quarter to put the Patriots (1-0) up 7-0. Then, on the opening drive of the second half, Newton tore off an 11-yard touchdown run to the near corner of the end zone to push the Pats' lead to 14-3.
On that opening sequence, New England put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive to start the second half.
Newton came close to his first passing touchdown with the Patriots in the final minute of the third quarter when he hit N’Keal Harry on a 9-yard slant pass. However, the second-year receiver fumbled the ball as he approached the goal line, with the ball going out of bounds through the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Miami (0-1).
Julian Edelman led the Patriots in receptions and receiving yards, hauling in five catches for 57 yards. One of those catches helped Edelman eclipse the 600 reception mark, making him just the second Patriot to reach that milestone, the team announced on Twitter.
Defensively, the Patriots were able to force Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick into multiple interceptions. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and newcomer Adrian Phillips both hauled in takeaways for New England.
J.C. Jackson sealed the win for the Patriots, picking off Fitzpatrick in the end zone with 1:28 to go in the game.
That secondary gave up 191 yards on a 20-of-30 day in the air from Fitzpatrick, while the defensive front limited Miami rushers to 87 yards on the ground.
New England penalties on the Dolphins' first drive of the fourth quarter kept the ball in Miami’s hands on a crucial fourth down and moved them to the 1-yard line a few plays later.
And while the Pats' defense kept Miami out of the end zone on two straight runs, Jordan Howard powered over the goal line for their lone touchdown of the day.
© 2020 Cox Media Group