MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. –In a surprising turn of events, it was not the Patriots offense that was largely responsible for their 41-14 win over the Dolphins last night.
It was their special teams. And Rob Ninkovich.
Patrick Chung blocked a punt and a field goal — both leading to touchdowns — Brandon Tate had a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Ninkovich had two first-half interceptions, leading New England to its first significant road win since late in the 2008 season, when it won in Seattle, Oakland, and Buffalo to clinch a playoff berth.
The Patriots became the first team in NFL history with a rushing touchdown, a receiving TD, a kickoff return for a TD, a blocked field goal for a TD, and an interception return for a TD in the same game.
Since it had been so long since they had a strong outing away from Gillette Stadium in a meaningful game, coach Bill Belichick played the “no faith’’ card during the week, noting to his players that none of the media members picking games for the team’s in-house publication had chosen it to win in South Florida.
After the game, members of the defense were crowing about the “so-called experts’’ and linebacker Gary Guyton sported a T-shirt that read “I [heart] haters!’’
Guyton’s unit has received much of the criticism for New England’s uneven start, and was able to an swer critics who said the offense would be bailing out the D for much of the season.