Well, that didn't go as planned. The Patriots, full of confidence on both sides of the ball, and with Tom Brady under center, headed to Miami for the season opener. Everything seemed to be going as expected through the first 30 minutes and then, before you could say "The ghost of Ronnie Brown and the wildcat offense" the Dolphins reeled off 23 unanswered second-half points and the Patriots found themselves on the wrong end of a 33-20 loss.
Brady finished 29 of 56 for 249 yards but was a non-factor in the final quarter, while the Pats' run defense was incapable of stopping Knowshon Moreno, who finished with 134 rushing yards on 24 carries.
“You can’t go out there and play the way we played today and think you will win a game this season,” Brady said after the game. “There is nothing positive to really take from the things that we were doing.
“It was a good example of if you do the things that we did today, you will get beat. We played a good football team at home. I would say we had a decent first half, but you have to put 60 minutes together if you are going to beat them.”
Making Brady's day more trying: New England's offensive line, which is without Logan Mankins, who was traded to the Buccaneers before the season, was a sieve. Brady defended the unit but the reality is that they struggled all afternoon.
“Those guys were working their tails off up front,” he said of the o-line. “We have to do better in all areas. I have to do a better job. That’s where I will focus this week.”
There's plenty of reason for optimism, however. For starters, as long as Brady and coach Bill Belichick are upright, the Pats have a good chance to win. They also play in the AFC East where they are the prohibitive favorite (though, ironically, they're in sole possession of last place in the division). And Rob Gronkowski returned to action, scoring a touchdown. Oh, and one more thing: The last time New England lost on opening day? A 31-0 thrashing at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. They went 14-2 that season and won the Super Bowl. So, yeah, come down off that ledge.