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Week 15: Pats Squished by Dolphins, Eliminated from Playoff Contention

Congratulations to all of the Patriots haters out there. Today is your day to celebrate. The New England Patriots had to win yesterday on the road against the Miami Dolphins to stay alive in the playoff race. Did I feel great about this game? Not at all. Weird things always happen in Miami and the Dolphins actually look good this year. Sure enough, the Patriots lost 22-12 and are now officially eliminated from postseason contention for the first time since 2008. Keep in mind, that was the Matt Cassel year.

The emoji in the tweet says it all. It’s sad. It really is. No January football for the first time in quite awhile. Two more weeks and the season is over. So before we move on to Buffalo, let’s recap the Miami game.

The Rush Defense

Pat Lane might be onto something here.

The Miami Dolphins must follow Pat Lane on Twitter because they did exactly that. Over 200 yards rushing for the Dolphins on the day. In the second half especially, you saw a lot of runs. It makes sense too considering DeVante Parker and Matt Gesicki were both out. This Pats rushing defense has been Jekyll and Hyde all season. Some games, they look really good. Other games, they look like a JV football team. You can’t expect to win when you’re giving up over 200 yards on the ground in a game.

The (Per Usual) Lackluster Offense

Second game in a row without a touchdown for the offense. No Damien Harris hurt yesterday for sure. But man, am I sick of watching this anemic offense. They drove down the field at times, but couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. You can’t win games with the offense that has been on the field the last two games. You simply can’t.

Stephon Gilmore

Stephon Gilmore came out of the game after a non contact play. At first glance, we were all hoping it wasn’t the knee. Well according to Ian Rapoport, it may not be the knee and it could be better than we all thought. Poor Stephon Gilmore. He’s had a rough 2020 with COVID, injuries, and everything else. This was just the icing on top of the cake for Gilmore in 2020. Shut him down and get him ready for 2021.

So Now What at Quarterback?

The Patriots are 6-8 and out of playoff contention. So what do you do now? Do you finish it out with Cam? Will we see Jarrett Stidham actually get a start? Personally, I’d rather see the latter. The Cam experiment in New England feels like it’s over and was a failure. It’s not entirely on Cam. This offense is putrid. I said this past week on Legends Lingo it was 50-50 with Cam and the rest of the team. I’ll take that back. It’s 75-25 with the team being 75 and Cam being 25. Personally, I just don’t think Cam is a schematic fit for the Patriots. Does he bring different elements? Sure. But could he flourish somewhere different, maybe in a system like Chicago? Also sure. Give Stidham two games to see if there’s something there for the future. If there isn’t, great. Now you know you have to get additional help at QB. But give the kid a chance at this point.

In Conclusion

Miami was better yesterday, plain and simple. They’re good, compared to their 2019 season. They might even sneak in a seven seed in the AFC playoffs. So where do we go from here? Try to not let these last two games bother us this much. Honestly, I’m okay with the Patriots losing out and getting a higher draft pick. Plus, it would take the Jets out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. I’m with Devin McCourty here.

I’m ready for 2021. Regroup, retool, and get ready to be contenders once again. Finish out these last two Sundays and then we’ll have the Celtics and Bruins to look forward to watching in the remaining winter months.

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Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793)

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Feat. image courtesy of dolphinswire.usatoday.com

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