Patriots storm back to knock off tumbling Dolphins


The New England Patriots taught the Miami Dolphins a lesson Sunday in how to close.

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Down two touchdowns at halftime, the Patriots ripped off the game's final 24 points on the way to a 27-17 win at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots successfully shook off last week's controversial loss to the New York Jets to reach the season's midway point at 6-2. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have dropped four straight after a 3-0 start. General manager Jeff Ireland must be thrilled he already got that contract extension done.

Here's what else we learned:

1. We were two quarters away from roughly six million "What's wrong with Tom Brady?" think pieces this week. Instead, Brady and the Pats came to life to keep the critics at bay. Brady -- playing with a clearly swollen finger on his throwing hand -- rebounded from a first half in which he threw for 24 yards and an interception.

2. Just a complete core meltdown by the Dolphins in all three phases in the second half. The game's turning point occurred early in the third quarter, with Miami up 17-3 and marching toward another score. Mike Wallace got open near the 5-yard line but was unable to pull in a slightly errant Tannehill pass. Tannehill took a sack on the next play, then Caleb Sturgis put a 45-yard field-goal attempt off the upright. The Patriots scored 14 points in the 106 seconds that followed.

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3. The pass play mentioned above was one that wide receivers in Wallace's tax bracket should make. Wallace finished with a very quiet 41 yards on three receptions. Tannehill and Wallace still are a work-in-progress from a chemistry standpoint. How much longer will that be the case?

4. Key players on each side appeared to suffer season-ending injuries. Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Gibson was carted off in the first half with what is likely a torn patellar tendon , according to NFL Media's Albert Breer. Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer also was carted after suffering what very likely is a broken leg.

5. Uneventful second game back for Rob Gronkowski, who finished with just two catches for 27 yards. He did have a pretty touchdown catch wiped off the board by a holding penalty.

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