MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa passed for 270 yards and a touchdown and the Miami Dolphins provided an early look at their ability to contend in the AFC East as they beat Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots 20-7 Sunday.
Facing Belichick in a head coaching debut is never easy. But Mike McDaniel, the former 49ers offensive coordinator who was hired as the Dolphins head coach in February, made use of a talented defense and the speedy options he brought in during the offseason to extend Miami’s winning streak against the Patriots to four games.
Miami swept the Patriots in 2021, including a win in Foxborough in the season opener.
Second-year receiver Jaylen Waddle scored the Dolphins' first offensive touchdown of the 2022 season, taking a fourth-down pass from Tagovailoa into the end zone for a 42-yard score. Waddle caught four passes for 69 yards.
Tyreek Hill, making his Miami Dolphins debut after the team traded for him during the offseason, led Miami’s receivers with eight receptions for 94 yards.
Patriots second-year quarterback Mac Jones threw for 213 yards with a touchdown and interception. Running back Ty Montgomery caught the Patriots' only touchdown of the game. Damien Harris led New England's rushers with 48 yards on nine carries.
In the second quarter, Hill ripped a jump ball away from defensive back Jack Jones, who nearly intercepted the pass from Tagovailoa. Hill, who is 5-foot-10, turned the play into a 26-yard gain.
Dolphins safety Jevon Holland made an immediate impact to start what is expected to be a breakout season.
On the Patriots' opening drive, Holland intercepted Jones' pass, which was intended for DeVante Parker, the former Dolphins receiver who was traded to the Patriots. Parker was working one on one against cornerback Xavien Howard, who tipped the pass away from Parker and into Holland’s hands.
The takeaway stifled the Patriots drive in which they converted four first downs to move into Dolphins territory.
Former Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram also played his first game as a Dolphin and scored a defensive touchdown in the second quarter. Safety Brandon Jones, on a blitz, got a strip-sack of Jones. Ingram recovered the ball for a touchdown to give the Dolphins a 10-0 lead.
Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers made a contested catch over Dolphins defensive back Nik Needham for a 9-yard gain in the second quarter. But the Patriots did little else on offense and faced a 17-point deficit at the half.
The Patriots scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the third quarter after Montgomery caught a pass in the flat from Jones on third-and-6 and rolled into the end zone to make it 17-7.
Miami answered with a 49-yard field goal from Jason Sanders to make it 20-7. On the drive, Raheem Mostert, whom the Dolphins signed as a free agent in the offseason, showed his shiftiness, catching a short pass from Tagovailoa and dodging several tacklers for a 16-yard gain.
The Dolphins’ defense capped a dominant day with a fumble recovery by linebacker Jaelan Phillips with about five minutes left. Rookie defensive back Kader Kohou knocked the ball out of Patriots receiver Nelson Agholor's hands. On the Patriots previous drive, Kohou broke up a pass to force a New England turnover on downs.
Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson was seen sitting next to Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
The Patriots arrived in South Florida a little early to get acclimated with the hot weather, which reached the low 90s in the week leading up to Sunday’s game. New England arrived in Florida on Tuesday and practiced at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Palm Beach County, about an hour from the Dolphins’ facilities.
Dolphins: RT Austin Jackson left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter. ... TE Cethan Carter left the game with a head injury in the second quarter and did not return.
Patriots: S Adrian Phillips left the game with a rib injury in the second quarter.
Patriots: at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Dolphins: at Baltimore on Sunday.