Both entered Sunday questionable — Phillips with a back injury and Armstead due to ankle, knee and back injuries.
Phillips popped up on the Dolphins’ injury report Friday for the back ailment after fully participating in Wednesday and Thursday practices.
Armstead’s season debut will have to wait after also missing the Dolphins’ 36-34 win in the opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. He injured the ankle on Aug. 17 in a joint practice with the Texans in Houston. He has also been rehabbing from an offseason knee procedure and is receiving treatment for his back.
Both Armstead and Phillips were seen going through a pregame routine on the field at Gillette Stadium but ultimately didn’t play.
Without Armstead, Kendall Lamm once again started at left tackle. He filled in formidably against the Chargers and edge rusher Khalil Mack for a Miami offensive line that didn’t give up a sack in Week 1.
Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah got more playing time in place of Phillips on the edge opposite Bradley Chubb for the Dolphins. Van Ginkel played 51 defensive snaps off the bench against the Chargers.
Miami also had outside linebacker Chase Winovich and Cameron Goode elevated from the practice squad. The two were expected to contribute on special teams.
Other Dolphins announced as inactive were tight end Julian Hill, defensive back Elijah Campbell, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr., cornerback Kelvin Joseph and quarterback Skylar Thompson. It was already known Saturday Joseph didn’t travel with the team due to a personal matter. Thompson was available as an emergency third quarterback if both Tua Tagovailoa and Mike White have to exit.
Campbell and Hill entered Sunday questionable with knee and ankle injuries, respectively.
Wilson, who signed a three-year contract worth $22.05 million with $12.75 million guaranteed in 2022 but had the deal restructured ahead of this season, was a healthy inactive for the second consecutive week.
Dolphins rookie running back and third-round pick De’Von Achane was active for his NFL regular-season debut. After the opener, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said the decision was simply about going light at running back against the Chargers. Miami had four tailbacks available against New England: Raheem Mostert, Salvon Ahmed, Chris Brooks and Achane.
The Patriots were also without two key starters, one on each side of the ball.
Brown, a massive 6-foot-7, 370-pound blocker, would’ve largely taken on the responsibility of pass protection against Chubb. Jones has been key to the Patriots’ secondary, and had historically had a level of success against Dolphins star receiver Tyreek Hill.
Backup offensive lineman Sidy Sow, also in concussion protocol, like Brown, was inactive.
The Patriots wore their red throwback uniforms for the prime-time game.
Based on the franchise’s uniforms from 1984 to 1992, New England entered Sunday 7-1 the instances it had brought back the retro threads. But the Patriots lost last time, a 24-10 defeat against the Buffalo Bills last Dec. 1.
As has been the case every time the Dolphins play at New England since 2019, it was a homecoming for defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
Wilkins is a Springfield, Mass. native and graduated from Suffield Academy in Connecticut before attending Clemson University.
Hurricane Lee avoided
Sunday night’s game was played after Hurricane Lee passed off the shores of New England in the Atlantic Ocean between Friday and Saturday.
The storm was about 250 miles east of Boston. Many flights into New England were delayed or canceled Friday and Saturday as strong wind gusts from outer bands of the hurricane affected the area.
Sunday was a pleasant evening in Foxborough at 68 degrees in the hours before kickoff.