Patriots beat out Miami to open season, Newton shines in debut

Led by their new quarterback, Cam Newton, the Patriots put on a dominant showing in their season opener, en route to a 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 13.

Coming into the season, there was only one question on the minds of every Patriots fan: How will the Patriots do with Cam Newton at the helm? The former number one pick and MVP was signed in the offseason after longtime quarterback Tom Brady left New England after 20 seasons. Newton, however, didn’t come to the Patriots to fill Brady’s shoes, but to reboot his own career.

Although the first quarter last Sunday ended scoreless, the Patriots finally broke through in the second quarter, on a four-yard touchdown scramble by Newton, his first as a Patriot. Thanks to a pair of interceptions by the Patriots’ defense, they held a 7-3 lead going into halftime.

The Patriots kept the momentum rolling into the second half, where they scored the only touchdown of the third quarter. This one came from another run from Newton, this one for 11 yards. 

Miami tried to fight their way back into the game in the fourth quarter by capping off an 11-play touchdown drive with a two-point-conversion. Sony Michel punched in a touchdown from the one on New England’s next drive. Miami put together a promising drive with about five minutes left in that game. Any hope that the Dolphins had was suddenly put to rest when J.C. Jackson intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick in the endzone with 1:28 to go in the game.

Cam Newton put up impressive numbers in his debut game with the Patriots. The majority of his game came from his ability to run the football. Newton rushed the ball for 75 yards on an astounding 15 attempts, which tallies for the second most for any game in his career. That doesn’t mean Newton didn’t throw the ball, as he was 15 for 19 on his passes, and most of his passes showed glimpses of his MVP past.

Next on the schedule for the Patriots is the Seattle Seahawks, who beat the Atlanta Falcons 38-25 in week one. Despite the solid play that the Patriots showed against Miami, there is improvement to be made on both sides of the ball for the upcoming week.

On the offensive side, the most important thing is that Newton doesn’t have another 15-run game. The more that Newton runs the ball, the higher the risk that he gets himself hurt, which would be detrimental to the team. The Seahawks also allowed Matt Ryan to pass for 400 yards in week one, suggesting a weakness in their secondary. The Patriots could see solid offensive production if Newton airs the ball out more frequently.

The defense was solid last week, holding Miami to only 11 points, but this week they face a much more explosive Seattle offense, led by Russell Wilson. Last week, Wilson threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. His arm, plus his ability to extend a play will prove to be a much tougher test for the entire Patriots defense, especially their inexperienced linebackers.

 On both sides of the ball, the Patriots seemed to let Miami hang around at the end of the game. If they do that against Seattle, they’ll take full advantage of it and bury the Patriots. With that being said, it doesn’t take away the fact that the Patriots played well in their season opener. With a little hard work on both sides of the ball, the Patriots have potential to go into Seattle in week two and upset Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.


Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieTaris