FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- You can say a lot of things about the New England Patriots this season, but you can't say they're boring.
The Patriots erased their worst half minutes of football this season, in the span of about 3:31 game clock in the third quarter, and after being held to just three points in the first half, they pulled out the 27-17 win with 17 points in the third quarter, almost double their third-quarter output for the whole season.
With any game as up-and-down as this one, there are bound to be some players who stand out on either end of the spectrum. Here are my thoughts on those players.
Logan Ryan: Was benched in the first half after his controversial touchdown celebration on the pick-six against the Jets last week, but quickly made an impact with his second forced turnover in as many games, logging a sack-fumble of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill that helped the Patriots climb back into the game. Ryan was also in coverage on a 3rd-and-long pass for Rishard Mathews which was incomplete, with Ryan tightening the window for the throw. Nearly intercepted another pass on 3rd-and-2 late in the third quarter, jumping a short route to bat the pass down.
Aaron Dobson: Had one drop, but ran a beautiful sluggo route for a touchdown, the Patriots' first touchdown of the day. He also had a big catch down the sideline on third down that helped the Patriots keep another scoring drive alive. Dobson showed incredible concentration in making a difficult catch in traffic on a slant while being hit. His play remains up-and-down, but he was a bright spot for the Patriots in finishing with a team-high four catches for 60 yards and the touchdown.
Devin McCourty: Was on the right end of a pair of big plays, the first a pass broken up intended for Charles Clay and the second a pass tipped up in the air down the sideline, which was then intercepted by Marquice Cole. The Patriots called on McCourty to be a team captain when Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo both went down, and he has stepped up both on and off the field.
Stevan Ridley: It is just me, or does the Patriots offense seem to have a little extra boost with Ridley in the game? The Patriots coaching staff might disagree with me, but the stats don't: 14 carries, 79 yards and a touchdown. A big day for Ridley yet again. Let's keep this simple: get him the ball more.
Tom Brady: Brady continues to be up-and-down, and was the biggest part of the Patriots struggles in the first half with his costly interception on the Patriots' second play of the game. He didn't complete a pass until there was less than two minutes left in the first quarter, and went 6-of-8 for 25 yards and a pick in the first half. The Patriots can get by with struggles at wide receiver, on the offensive line and at running back, but are not equipped to win consistently unless Brady is playing up to his standard.
Logan Mankins: Allowed three sacks of Brady, two by defensive tackle Jared Odrick and another by defensive end Olivier Vernon. The Patriots offensive line has played well for much of the season, but seems to show up on the wrong end of plays at the wrong times.
Referees: There were 12 penalties for 96 yards on the day, and bad calls both ways, including a holding penalty that wiped away a Rob Gronkowski touchdown and a pass-interference on a pass by Brady to Gronkowski into triple coverage among others.
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