The Miami Dolphins are setting the NFL on fire with their explosive and balanced offense, while the New England Patriots are sinking to new lows under Bill Belichick. Week 5 of the NFL season showcased the contrasting fortunes of these two AFC East rivals.
Dolphins break records with unstoppable attack
The Dolphins continued their offensive blitzkrieg on the league, scoring 70 points in a rout of the Houston Texans. Miami has now scored 181 points in their first five games, the most by any team since the 2015 Patriots and Cardinals. The Dolphins also have the most total yards (2,568) and yards per play (8.3) in any team’s first five games in NFL history, surpassing the 2000 Rams, who were known as the “Greatest Show on Turf”.
Miami’s offense is led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who has thrown for 1,639 yards and 15 touchdowns with just one interception. He has a league-high 10.0 yards per attempt and a 131.4 passer rating. Tagovailoa has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, including wide receivers DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki, and running backs Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed.
The Dolphins are not only prolific through the air, but also dominant on the ground. They lead the NFL in rushing yards (929) and yards per rush (6.9) this season. They have four players with over 200 rushing yards: Gaskin (287), Brown (246), Ahmed (212) and Tagovailoa (202). Miami’s offensive line has also been impressive, allowing just six sacks and paving the way for big runs.
The Dolphins have been scoring at will against any defense they face, averaging 37.5 points per game. They have scored at least 30 points in every game this season, and have scored at least 40 points in three of their five games. They have also been efficient and consistent, converting 52.9% of their third downs and scoring on 55.6% of their drives.
Belichick’s Patriots suffer humiliating losses
While the Dolphins are soaring high, the Patriots are crashing hard. After Sunday’s 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Patriots have been outscored 72-3 over the last two games. New England has just 55 points on the season, or less than what the Dolphins scored in one game.
The Patriots have been dealt back-to-back 30-point losses for the first time since 1970, and Belichick has suffered the two worst losses of his career in consecutive weeks. In his first 453 games as a head coach, Belichick lost by 30 points one time. He has lost by 30-plus points in his last two games.
New England is injured on defense and horrible on offense, benching rookie quarterback Mac Jones in consecutive games. Jones has thrown for 1,021 yards and four touchdowns with seven interceptions. He has a dismal 5.4 yards per attempt and a 66.7 passer rating. Jones has been sacked 18 times and hit 36 times behind a porous offensive line.
The Patriots have no playmakers on offense, as their leading receiver is Nelson Agholor with 211 yards and one touchdown. Their leading rusher is Damien Harris with 243 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots rank last in the NFL in yards per game (248.2), yards per play (4.1), first downs per game (13.8), and points per game (11).
The Patriots are off to their worst start since 1993, when they finished 5-11 under Bill Parcells. They are currently fourth in the AFC East, behind the Dolphins, Bills and Jets. The Patriots have not missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1999-2000, but that streak is in serious jeopardy.