Advertisement
  1. Archive

Dolphins catch Bledsoe, run over slumping Pats

A discouraged Bill Parcells ripped into his New England Patriots as badly as the Miami Dolphins had just done in dominating them 23-3 Sunday.

It wasn't just Drew Bledsoe, who had his worst game of the season in a rematch of his thrilling opening-day shootout with Dan Marino. It wasn't just the defense, which gave up a long touchdown drive to start the second half.

It was everybody.

"We were outplayed in every phase," the Patriots' second-year coach said. "For the first time (since) I've been here I'm really embarrassed by the effort we had.

"It's quite obvious that we're doing things that aren't going to allow us to win, and we're probably doing them with players that aren't allowing us to win."

He hinted strongly at a shake-up after the Patriots' biggest loss in 20 games. Their third straight defeat dropped them to 3-5, three games behind AFC East leader Miami (6-2).

There's no reason for Miami coach Don Shula to change much of anything after the Dolphins _ who got two touchdowns from Keith Byars and three field goals from Pete Stoyanovich _ held on to their one-game lead over Buffalo.

"It was a great defensive effort" against the NFL's top-rated offense, Shula said. "The touchdown before halftime was a key, but the real key was the drive that opened up the third quarter."

Miami, which began the game second in the league in offense, took a 13-3 lead on Byars' 1-yard run seven seconds before halftime. The second touchdown, on the first series of the second half, was Marino's 7-yard pass to Byars that made it 20-3.

"We were aware that Buffalo had turned in a big win, but our defense played great and I thought our running game played great," said Marino, who completed 21 of 36 passes for 198 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. "When we had to throw, we threw well enough."

Bledsoe started the day as the NFL leader in passing yards. He was tied for the lead with 11 interceptions. On Sunday, he was 16-for-33 for 125 yards and three interceptions that led to 10 points.

In their first meeting as pros, Marino and Bledsoe put on a passing show. Marino threw for 473 yards and five touchdowns and Bledsoe piled up 421 yards and four scores as Miami came from behind twice in the fourth quarter for a 39-35 win Sept. 4.

Sunday's performance was far more one-sided.

"We just played really sloppy football," Bledsoe said. "It's frustrating and a little bit embarrassing to be in the NFL and play as sloppy as I did, as we did."

Marino had far more help from his running game, which enjoyed a 140-46 yardage advantage. Miami outgained New England 338-188 for the game.

Bernie Parmalee gained 123 yards on 25 carries one week after rushing for 150 in a 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Raiders. He set a team record with 273 yards in consecutive games; the old mark of 258 was set by Mercury Morris in 1973.

Stoyanovich kicked field goals of 44, 50 and 48 yards. Matt Bahr's 48-yard field goal had given the Patriots a 3-0 lead with 8:20 gone in the game.

Both teams were coming off bye weeks.

"I am embarrassed to practice two weeks and come up with an effort like that," Parcells said.

"We outcoached them and outplayed them," Miami linebacker Bryan Cox said. "We took away everything that they wanted to do."

The first touchdown on Byars' 1-yard run came after Jeff Cross intercepted Bledsoe's pass at the New England 29-yard line. Marino completed all four passes in the seven-play drive for 24 yards.

Miami struck again after getting the opening kickoff of the third quarter. Marino was 5-for-6 for 56 yards on the 72-yard march, which was capped by his pass to Byars.

"We knew what they were going to do," Patriots linebacker Dwayne Sabb said. "We were prepared for it, but we just weren't able to stop it."

The Patriots' deepest penetration on eight possessions in the first half was the Miami 30. But they settled for Bahr's field goal, their only points.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement