Newton shines in debut as Patriots knock off Dolphins
Cam Newton looked like his former self by scoring twice and amassing a combined 230 yards passing and rushing to lead the New England Patriots to a 21-11 season-opening win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Foxborough, Mass.
In his Patriots’ debut, Newton showed signs of what New England (1-0) hoped for when they signed him to replace the departed Tom Brady as their starting quarterback.
Newton’s ability to keep the Dolphins (0-1) off balance with zone-read options allowed the Patriots to seize control following a scoreless first quarter.
Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP for the Carolina Panthers, completed 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards and posted a 100.7 passer rating, while rushing for 75 yards on 15 carries. His rushing touchdowns from 4 and 11 yards out helped New England build a 14-3 lead with 10:14 to go in the third quarter.
The Patriots’ defense, despite losing several players before the season both to free agency and opt outs due to COVID-19 concerns, intercepted Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick three times, including two in the first half by Stephon Gilmore and Adrian Phillips.
J.C. Jackson’s interception in the end zone with 1:28 remaining in the fourth ended Miami’s hopes of a late comeback.
Fitzpatrick, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 191 yards with no touchdowns and a 44.6 passer rating, played the entire game, as first-round draft pick Tua Tagovailoa watched from the sideline.
Newton’s effectiveness opened up the Patriots’ running game, which amassed 217 yards. Sony Michel also ran for 37 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Newton nearly had a touchdown pass to add to his stat line late in the third, but receiver N’Keal Harry was stripped of the ball by Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker near the goal line resulting in a touchback.
The Dolphins cashed in with an 11-play, 80-yard drive capped by Jordan Howard’s 1-yard touchdown run. Fitzpatrick followed with a 2-point conversion run that cut New England’s lead to 14-11 with 10:31 left in the fourth. Howard was held to 7 yards on eight carries in his Dolphins’ debut and Miami rushed for 87 yards, led by Myles Gaskin’s 40 yards on nine carries.
But Newton answered by leading a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive during which he converted a fourth-and-1 at the Dolphins’ 6-yard line before Michel’s score.
Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker exited the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return.
–Field Level Media