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3 things we learned about the Patriots

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Miami Dolphins came to New England with two loud wins under an interim coach and feeling all kinds of good about themselves.

They left early Friday morning having been slapped in the face with a dose of unkind reality.

After beating up the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans, the Dolphins were smacked around by the undefeated New England Patriots on Thursday, losing 36-7 in the latest reminder that quarterback Tom Brady and his buddies are on a mission.

“We’re only seven games through, so we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Brady said.

They did plenty of work in this game.

Brady, continuing what looks like a season of revenge against anyone in his way after his Deflategate ordeal, threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns for his team’s second AFC East win in five days. He completed 26 of 38 passes and didn’t throw an interception.

New England’s Stephen Gostkowski kicked two field goals in as many tries, one a 52-yarder. He has made 26 straight in the regular season, breaking Adam Vinatieri’s team record of 25.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski finished with six catches for 113 yards, his 19th career game with at least 100 yards, tying him with Shannon Sharpe for sixth place all time among tight ends.

The loss brought the Dolphins crashing back to Earth after Miami scored 82 points and won its first two games under interim coach Dan Campbell.

Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off a career game and a two-game stretch that saw him complete an NFL-record 25 consecutive passes, finished 28 of 44 for 300 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked five times.

What we learned about the Patriots:

1. The Patriots can spot talent other teams just seem to miss. Running back Dion Lewis failed with the Philadelphia Eagles, who drafted him in the fifth round, the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts — his Colts stay lasting less than a week. But like so many before, Lewis has found a home in New England and his dancing style makes tacklers miss in the open field.

2. Tom Brady is definitely on a mission. Roger Goodell made the mistake and the rest of the NFL is playing for it on what appears to be a revenge tour. The Patriots are 7-0 and Brady has thrown 20 touchdown passes and his only interception came when receiver Julian Edelman dropped a pass into a defender’s arms.

3. The battered offensive line has more than done the job. It seems like at least one player gets hurt every week on the line — and it doesn’t seem to matter. Guard Tre’ Jackson got hurt Thursday, but the yardage and scores keep piling up. Undrafted rookie center David Andrews, the man in the middle of it all, has played every snap of the season.

Etc.:

–QB Tom Brady just keeps mounting up special numbers. Thursday night, in his ninth win in as many tries on Thursday night, he threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns. He finished 26 of 38, recording his 69th 300-yard game — which ranks third all-time — and his 24th game with four TDs or more, also third. It was his 19th career game with at least four TDs and no interceptions, an NFL record. For the year he has 20 touchdown passes and his only interception went in and out of the hands of receiver Julian Edelman.

–RB Dion Lewis missed the game this past Sunday with an abdominal injury and returned with a bang on Thursday night. He ran for only 19 yards on five carries, but one was a dancing 10-yarder on a late drive. He also caught six passes for 93 yards and the touchdown that made it 19-0 at halftime. “He’s a tough guy to handle in space and he’s a tough in line,” said coach Bill Belichick. “It was good to have him back.” Said Brady: “He’s just a dynamic player for us.”

–K Stephen Gostkowski just doesn’t miss. He kicked field goals of 52 (in a crazy wind) and 36 yards and has broken Adam Vinatieri’s club record with 26 straight made field goals in the regular season. He has also kicked 439 straight extra points, tops in NFL history. “It’s just fun to be on a team that wins and scores a lot,” Gostkowski said … I’m just trying to do everything I can to stay in the groove and help this team score points.”

–TE Rob Gronkowski had a 47-yard catch and run for a touchdown and finished with six catches for 113 yards on Thursday — his 19th career game with at least 100 yards, tying him with Shannon Sharpe for sixth place all-time among tight ends. “What a playmaker he is,” says Brady. “He’s just an amazing player. It’s a privilege to play with him. I mean, he’s amazing.”


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