There were two plays that stuck out the most in the New England Patriots’ 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday: Trent Brown missing a key block that led to a Mac Jones strip sack fumble recovery for a touchdown, and Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle blowing past a pair of defenders for a 42-yard touchdown on a fourth-down before halftime.
As a defensive coach, Steve Belichick’s frustrations lean more towards the latter.
But it wasn’t just on the Waddle play in particular. Sure, the Patriots got caught out of position, and Ja’Whaun Bentley and Kyle Dugger couldn’t corral the speedy receiver, who blew right past them and waddled in the end zone, literally.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 12, 2022
It was the other plays where Dolphins players were making defenders miss on initial contact and pushing for extra yards. On Tuesday, Belichick had an opportunity to address the team’s performance on Sunday, and he admitted things got off to a rocky start.
“Usually, the tackling in Week 1 is as low as it gets,” said Belichick.
Steve Belichick: "Usually, the tackling in Week 1 is as low as it gets."
Said the Patriots weren't as good in that area as they needed to be vs. Miami. Hopes and expects that to improve moving forward. pic.twitter.com/unkTBkz9ki
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) September 13, 2022
Of course, that comment leaves room for optimism that things will get better as the season goes on. For the most part, however, the Patriots looked great defensively.
The only touchdown they gave up was on the completely blown play to Waddle. Erase that play from existence, and we’re looking at a game where the unit didn’t give up a single touchdown.
It gives reason to hope things will get better in the coming weeks.