Patriots

A bold call on 4th-and-7 helped Mike McDaniel beat Bill Belichick in debut

McDaniels won his first game as an NFL head coach against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

Mike McDaniel gets his first shot at a head coaching position.

Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins matchup was the most lopsided in terms of head coaching experience among opponents in decades.

It was game No. 434 for Bill Belichick. It was game No. 1 for Mike McDaniel.

The first-timer’s team bested the six-time Super Bowl champion’s team. Miami won 20-7, notching its fourth straight win over New England.

It only took two touchdowns to beat the Patriots. One was a gift. An unprotected Mac Jones fumbled after being sacked near his own end zone. Miami’s Melvin Ingram didn’t have to move far to score after recovering the ball.

But the other one took some guts, according to Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins went for it on fourth-and-7 from the Patriots’ 42 with less than 30-seconds to go before halftime.

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“Coach McDaniel gonna need a wheel barrow to carry his nuts around. He’s got a lot of cojones, you know what I’m saying?” Hill said of the call after the game.

It resulted in Tua Tagovailoa’s first touchdown of the season, a 42-yard strike to Jaylen Waddle that opened up a 17-0 lead.

The Patriots never caught up, and McDaniel became the first Dolphins coach to win a debut since Nick Saban in 2005. Belichick is now 8-1 against coaches he has 400 or more games than, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

The Dolphins celebrated by giving McDaniel a Gatorade shower, which the former Yale wide receiver begrudgingly enjoyed.

“It was a very, very cool moment against my wishes,” McDaniel said. “They just showered me with Gatorade and made it about me which I know for a fact it’s not. But, the team celebrating for the direction that we’re going in, that’s why you do team sports. It was a good, exciting celebration because it wasn’t like a satisfied celebration.”

Miami has now won five of it’s last six against New England. The Patriots haven’t beaten the Dolphins since September 13th, 2020. The AFC East Division foes are scheduled to meet again on New Year’s Day in Foxborough.

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