The 2021 season didn’t start in the ideal way, after New England fell to the Dolphins 17-16. It was a close game and it stayed competitive, but make no mistake, New England was the victim of an ugly showing of refball (A sporting event in which the outcome is affected by blatantly bad calls from the referees). The Patriots supposedly committed 8 penalties, yes you read that right, 8 penalties were called against New England. Now usually this wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but Miami was allowed to get away with the most blatant of holds, a few cases of roughing the passer, and the most obvious case of taunting I’ve ever seen.
While the ignorant layman may point fingers to the Damien Harris fumble as the catalyst for losing, one must remember that Rhamondre Stevenson also had a “fumble” earlier in the game, at least it was ruled a fumble, anyone with eyes could see that he was down before he lost control of the ball and New England probably would have scored on that drive and Miami got a free turnover instead. Aside from the bad officiating, the poor tackling hasn’t changed. Runningbacks and receivers could only be brought down by 2-3 players and would routinely break 1 on 1 tackles and Devante Parker and Jaylen Waddle easily blew by the defense. This is why we need to bite the bullet and pay Stephon Gilmore, he is a good tackler for a corner and a leader on defense, he was missed today and it would be foolish to let him walk this offseason, if he is to be traded, we better get at least a 1st or 2nd rounder for him.
One of the few bright spots was that Mac Jones had himself a game, throwing for 281 yards on a 74% completion percentage and a touchdown, despite the loss, he was clearly the better QB and if the team can work on it’s discipline, they should defeat the New York Jets next Sunday. This team isn’t done developing and they should be a fun group to watch later in the season.