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At the Half: Patriots 14, Dolphins 10

Posted by Albert Breer  December 6, 2009 01:20 PM

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Two stories in this one, both regarding quarterbacks.

On one side, you got Tom Brady, and that finger injury that's held him to 13 completions in his 14 attempts for 196 yards and a touchdown. On the other is Chad Henne, who I just checked for grass stains -- to no avail.

The Patriots have taken a more physical approach in this one, having multiple backs or tight ends in on all but seven offensive snaps, while churning out 65 yards on 16 carries. And Brady's taken advantage of his chances, only missing on one throw: a deep-out to Wes Welker in the red-zone. Another reason for the heavy offensive sets is likely to slow the pass rush, with Stephen Neal and Sebastian Vollmer sitting out this one.

The thing that's really killing New England, offensively here, was their inability to convert a fourth-and-1 deep in Miami territory in the second quarter, which opened the door for the Dolphins to keep this one tight.

Defensively, the Patriots are showing a lot of the same problems they did with the Colts and Saints. Only, this time, it's against the NFL's 30th-ranked passing game. The Dolphins have been able to effectively spread the defense out, and pick on Darius Butler (starting his first game) and Jonathan Wilhite, and Chad Henne's 19-of-26 for 205 yards and a touchdown. A costly pick might be the only thing that has Miami behind right now. Also, Henne and Co. have taken one page out of the Saints' playbook, making their mark through the air on early downs.

Should be an interesting second half. This, typically, has been the kind of grind-it-out effort that's gotten Miami in the win column. Not to cast a pall over you guys or anything ...

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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