Belichick outcoached in Miami Dolphin Victory

Early in the first drive on Monday night, Adam Gase sent Kenyan Drake in motion to the far sideline, just to watch who followed. When a linebacker scurried after Drake, Gase smiled. Belichick did not think Kenyan Drake could beat him. Jay Cutler promptly threw the pass and though it was only an eight yard gain, Adam Gase had his answer, Kenyan Drake… 114 yards rushing and 79 yard receiving, Ajayi who? This is the offense Gase has been trying to run since landing in Miami.

There was a lot of media talk in New England about respecting the Dolphins, yadda yadda… Reality is, eight straight victories does not help the respect factor. Belichick respects one player on the Dolphins offense, Jarvis Landry. Cringe Miami fans, Billy will be the GM Miami is bidding against when Landry goes on the open market next season, but that is a discussion for another time. Gase confirmed that Landry was the weapon Billy Boy would try to take away and it played straight into the game plan. On one Monday night, Gase had outsmarted Belichick and was ready with Kenyon Drake.

Incredibly, Jay Cutler outperformed Tom Brady throwing 25 of 38 passes for 263 yards, three TDs, but it was Drake who stole the show. Kenyan had 193 total yards and Gase used him all over the field, as a back, in the slot, as a wide out, coming in motion. Belichick had his defense all set up to shut down Landry and Gase figured it out almost immediately. Amazingly, Gase was able to sense when Matt Patricia was leaning toward Drake and it led to two Jarvis Landry TDs.

Cutler was spreading the ball all over the field, hitting seven different receivers in the first half. The TD throw and circus catch by Jakeem Grant was a thing of beauty. Grant also had a chance to ice the game in the fourth quarter on a bomb that bounced off his hands. Grant will remember the miss perhaps more than the catch, but when it was all over, he was forgiven! Even much maligned DeVante Parker came away with 4 clutch catches for 40 yards.

All the offensive talk was overshadowed by the aggressive defense that kept Tom Brady running for his life all night. Six hits planted him on his backside along with two sacks. Miami’s Boy named Suh did exactly what he said he would do and pissed
off Brady with a hard sack. As Gase is fond of saying, “Brady could feel Suh” the whole night. The numbers do not reflect the impact Suh and Wake had on Tom Brady and the New England offense, but Brady will remember.

Missing the Gronk, his favorite target, Brady threw some uncharacteristic interceptions to Miami’s new ball hawk, Xavien Howard. Howard had two interceptions while covering Demaryius Thomas last week and two interceptions while covering Brandin Cooks on Monday night. Amazingly, the Miami defense held the Patriots to an unheard of 0 of 11 on third downs. It has been 423 games since 1991 that New England was held without and 3rd down conversion! Astounding defense…

It was a night of redemption for Matt Burke, he called blitzes and stunts from multiple angles, after Miami had shown New England nothing two weeks ago. His defensive backs were able to play tighter coverage mixing zones with man to confound Brady. Assigning Xavien Howard to man-cover Brandin Cooks resulted in two classic picks. Wake, Godchaux, Phillips, McDonald, and Jones, all came from everywhere keeping Brady antsy and guessing. Tom Terrific threw more passes in the dirt than Cutler would have on a bad Smoking Jay evening.

The pressure from the Miami front four came from the middle as Jordan Phillips and the Boy named Suh got to Brady for sacks. Brady was hopping around in the collapsing pocket looking very uncomfortable. Playing with a lead definitely suits the talent of the Miami defense and it shined. The wide nine, easily gashed with a persistent running attack when Miami plays from behind is a monster when this defense plays with a lead.

A season that seemed long gone two weeks ago is somehow back to a sense of relevance. The talk of playing for draft status rings as hollow as the selection of Dion Jordan with the 3rd pick. There is no value in drafting high if a team does not believe it can win. Aside from the quarterback, winning in the NFL is not so much about talent as it is about heart and precision. When a team is smart and plays with passion, there is always a chance for victory. Neither star of this game, Drake or Howard was selected in the 1st round.

If one game can make a season for Miami Dolphin fans, this was that game. Adam Gase finally outsmarted Bill Belichick and the future now looks much brighter in Miami.