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Final: Patriots 38, Dolphins 24

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  September 12, 2011 06:55 PM

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MIAMI -- Tom Brady shined in the Patriots' season opener against the Miami Dolphins, throwing for a franchise and Monday Night Football record 517 yards passing, powering the team with four touchdown strikes.

It was the 11th time a quarterback had thrown for more than 500 yards in NFL history.

3:37 4th quarter: Patriots 38, Dolphins 24 -- Reggie Bush caught a 2-yard TD pass from Chad Henne as the Dolphins cut the Patriots lead to 14. The Dolphins worked quickly after Tom Brady's 99-yard connection with Wes Welker. The Dolphins went 74 yards in 8 plays in 2:05.

3:52 4th quarter: Patriots 38, Dolphins 17 -- Just an update on Tom Brady. The 511 yards passing is the 11th 500-yard game in NFL history. That's the significance of the night.

5:44 4th quarter: Patriots 38, Dolphins 17 -- Were you watching? Tom Brady hit a streaking Wes Welker for a 99-yard touchdown after taking the ball over on downs from the Dolphins.

Brady is 31 of 46 for 511 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. The yards are a franchise and Monday Night Football record.

5:57 4th quarter: Patriots 31, Dolphins 17 -- Chad Henne found Davone Bess for a nice grab. It looked like Bess stretched out and touched the pylon for a touchdown, which was the ruling on the field. But after review, the replays confirmed he was down at the 1-yard line. On the next play, the Dolphins go for a fade to Brian Hartline that's unsuccessful.

4th quarter: Patriots 31, Dolphins 17 -- Did you know this is the ninth straight game the Patriots with 30+ points? It's the second longest streak in NFL history behind the Ram's 14 from 1999-2000.

4th quarter: Patriots 31, Dolphins 17 -- Stephen Gostkowski chipped in 20-yard field goal as the Patriots extended their lead to 14 points.

Tom Brady is now 30 of 43 for 412 yards, a career high in yards passing. It's only the second time he's passed for 400 yards. The last time he threw for 400 yards was Sept. 22, 2002 against the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a 41-38 win that went to overtime.

End of the 3d quarter: Patriots 28, Dolphins 17 -- Tom Brady now has 35 career 300-yard passing games, good for 11th in NFL history. According to the Patriots, next up on the list are John Elway (36) and Drew Bledsoe (37).

Brady is 26 of 37 for 354 yards and three scores.

0:10 3d quarter: Patriots 28, Dolphins 17 -- Tom Brady hit Aaron Hernandez for a 30-yard completion. The play was originally called as a touchdown on the field, but was overturned on review. Brady came right back to Hernandez for a 1-yard TD pass as the Patriots extended their lead to 11 points.

The drive was 8 plays, 78 yards in 3:26.

A Brady pass to Deion Branch helped set up the play. He hit Branch for 24 yards in wide open field but Branch couldn't shake the Dolphin defender.

3:23 3d quarter: Patriots 21, Dolphins 17 -- Chad Henne went to the right looking for Brandon Marshall and almost got picked off by Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. Next play, he goes to left looking for Marshall against the rookie Ras-I Dowling. No good there either. The 6-1 corner wasn't giving up much space to the 6-4 receiver. The Dolphins settled on a Dan Carpenter 20-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 87-yard drive in 4:47. Marshall had abused McCourty on two other receptions on the drive, both for 22 yards apiece.

8:23 3d quarter: Patriots 21, Dolphins 14 -- Tom Brady hit Wes Welker on a drag out for a 4-yard TD to give New England back the lead. The Patriots went 10 plays, 73 yards in 4:06 on that last drive.

Brady is now 20 of 31 passing for 279 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Branch was a key part of the last drive. He's coming up big.

11:20 3d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 14 -- Just a quick update on Dan Koppen. He's officially listed with an ankle injury and will not return to the game.

12:29 3d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 14 -- Chad Henne hit Brian Hartline for a 10-yard TD pass as the Dolphins tied the game. Jared Odrick's interception return set up the play.

13:13 3d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- On a busted screen play, Tom Brady throws an interception to the Dolphins Jared Odrick. He returned it 43 40 yards to the Patriots 9-yard line.

15:00 3d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- Third quarter underway.

End of the first half: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- With seven seconds on the clock, Stephen Gostkowski was wide right on a 48-yard field goal attempt on third down.

The Patriots have playing at a frantic pace, but their gameplay has been slowed by injuries. The Patriots lost center Dan Koppen (no word yet on him officially) and the Dolphins' Jason Taylor went down for some time with a leg injury. He was able to walk off the field.

Through the first half, Brady is 14 of 22 for 211 yards and one touchdown. His favorite target has been Rob Gronkowski who has five receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. Chad Ochocinco recorded his first catch with the Patriots, a 14-yarder.

1:18 2d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- Center Dan Koppen appears to have been injured on Tom Brady's sneak up the middle. They brought out the cart for Koppen. Brady was taking snaps from Dan Connolly. It appeared to be his left leg. The Patriots were charged a timeout on the play. The team, without Koppen, has six available offensive linemen.

4:31 2d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- It looks like there was a mix up on the Patriots' third down as rookie Nate Solder passed up on a block but nobody picked up on the Dolphins defender. The ensuing pressure rushed Brady into a bad throw and incompletion to Wes Welker. The Patriots went three-and-out.

5:43 2d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- Rob Ninkovich got some good pressure on Chad Henne to force an incompletion. I'm sure he was looking for the safety, as the Dolphins were sitting on their own 5-yard line, but that was almost as good.

6:34 2d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- Tom Brady was eyeing Wes Welker in the end zone, but the two just couldn't connect. The Patriots drive stalled after nine plays.

10:34 2d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- Dan Fletcher made a heckuva tackle on Reggie Bush to nip the Dolphins' drive in the bud.

The Dolphins weren't playing when they told Bush he could be the featured back. He's already got 11 touches (seven carries and four catches).

14:09 2d quarter: Patriots 14, Dolphins 7 -- Tom Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a 10-yard TD to cap a 7-play, 65-yard drive that lasted 2:54.

Again, the key connections were Brady to Deion Branch (14 yards), Aaron Hernandez (16 yards) and Wes Welker (21 yards). Branch must be happy to touch the rock. He went the whole preseason without a grab.

On a side note, Chad Ochocinco was called for an illegal formation on the first play of the drive.

With the TD pass, Tom Brady now moves ahead of Dave Kreig into 10th place on the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes with 262. He trails Joe Montana who finished his career with 273.

End of the first quarter: Dolphins 7, Patriots 7 -- The Patriots have quickened the pace here as the first quarter comes to a close. Tom Brady has made key connections with Aaron Hernandez(16 yards), Deion Branch (14 yards) and Wes Welker (21 yards) on the drive. They're in the red zone at the 8-yard line looking for paydirt.

2:11 1st quarter: Dolphins 7, Patriots 7 -- The Patriots defense just recorded its first three-and-out of the year. Albert Haynesworth made his presence felt with another tackle.

4:14 1st quarter: Dolphins 7, Patriots 7 -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis showed us some moves today. He hit a nice spin move to finish off a 5-yard run for a touchdown as the Patriots tied the game. Nate Solder had a solid block on the play.

The scoring play was set up by 46-yard reception by Matthew Slater from Tom Brady. Brady also hit Rob Gronkowski for 14 yards to get the ball down to the 5-yard line. The drive was 6 plays, 78 yards in 3:28.

On the drive, we also got to see the Patriots in their three tight end set a couple of times, with brothers Rob and Dan Gronkowski. New Gronkowski is fitting right in.

7:42 1st quarter: Dolphins 7, Patriots 0 -- Chad Henne scrambled up the middle for a 9-yard TD to cap a 12-play, 84-yard drive that lasted 7:18.

We got a chance to see the Patriots' new defensive line all playing at the same time on the drive. When the Patriots had the Dolphins at 4th-and-1, their line featured Shaun Ellis, Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork and Andre Carter. Lex Hilliard converted that fourth down for 2 yards.

It was Ched Henne's second career rushing TD.

9:15 1st quarter: The Dolphins have come out in spirited fashion. New feature running back Reggie Bush is already doing well and Chad Henne is tearing up the Patriots secondary. We're still in the first drive. However, the Dolphins have already burned two timeouts. Henne hit tight end Anthony Fasano for 22 yards to get the Dolphins down to the Patriots 2-yard line. It was a one-handed grab.

15:00 1st quarter: The Patriots won the toss and elected to kick. Game on.

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MIAMI -- We're getting ready to start here at Sun Life Stadium. It's 82 degrees, 73 percent humidity, partly cloudy skies and winds of 11 MPH northeast. Good football weather. Refresh right here to get the latest updates from the game.

Also, follow colleagues @shalisemyoung, @GregABedard, @monwalker, @cgasper and myself @zuriberry on Twitter.

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

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