Ted Johnson: What Went Wrong on the Last Dolphins Game originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Sunday night’s Week 2 showdown between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins ended on a wild note.
On fourth-and-4, with one minute left in regulation, Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki made the wise decision to send the ball to offensive lineman Cole Strange for a chance to pass the first-down marker and end the drive to keep alive. Unfortunately for New England, Strange just failed to convert on the first down and the Dolphins escaped Foxboro with a 24-17 win.
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It was a brave last effort by Gesicki. If Strange had been able to reach just a few more inches, the Patriots might have had a chance to pull off an impressive comeback.
But if you ask former Pats linebacker Ted Johnson, the play was doomed from the start. He summarized what went wrong during the play during Monday’s episode The demolition.
“What happened was (center) David Andrews came out of this block late here with the right guard, and this linebacker was able to penetrate and get through and put pressure on Mac Jones. Part of that is that these three guys (Andrews, Cole Strange, Mike Onwenu) haven’t worked together all summer. … They don’t communicate. They haven’t practiced together. …
“Mike Gesicki cuts his route here right in front of the sticks. The DB (defensive back) plays on the ball, but here’s the problem. The Patriots are on the left half of the defense and the ball is thrown all over the ball .field for a distance of five yards, which is not an easy throw under duress. Mac Jones gets nailed, he throws the ball over here, it’s a little underthrown. That gives time for the cornerback to separate, and then the time has come. makes the game closer than perhaps it needed to be.
“But the breakdown mainly started on the inside line because these guys haven’t been working together and they just don’t feel comfortable blocking the slide safety. And of course I didn’t like the play call because they’re throwing over the field on fourth-and-4, so that’s a tough pass for the quarterback to make. There were just a lot of things in that play that I didn’t like, but it really started with the interior line.”
It was a fitting end to the night for New England, as the offensive line struggled all game in both pass protection and run blocking. Jones was sacked four times and hit a total of eight times. Pats running backs Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t find running room as they combined for just 63 yards on 20 carries.
The o-line will need to improve next Sunday against the New York Jets’ elite defense. If the woes continue, the Patriots are in danger of falling to 0-3 for the first time since Bill Belichick’s debut season with the team in 2000.
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