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Halftime analysis

Posted by Albert Breer  November 8, 2009 02:45 PM

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The Patriots have gone two backs quite a bit -- with BenJarvus Green-Ellis even playing a little fullback -- and have split tight ends and backs out in some spots to get into empty sets. The Dolphins like to sub quite a bit, and this is a way to spread the defense out without tipping your hand. And also protect against a rush that can come from all angles.

DEFENSE: New England's real problem came on Miami's breezy five-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, with new elements of the Dolphins' option game unveiled. This wasn't Wildcat, folks. It was pure spread-option, with Pat White as the triggerman.

White for 33 yards on an speed option keeper out of the pistol. White for 4 yards on the zone-read option keeper out of shotgun. Ricky Williams for 14 yards on a Wildcat speed sweep. And then Williams takes it in as the pitchman of another pistol speed option for a 15-yard touchdown.

College football fans, of course, recognize all this stuff. It's interesting to watch, and I'd assume it'll be a tough adjustment for the Patriots at halftime.

Outside of that, Miami has done a decent job extending drives, and avoiding three-and-outs, but if the Patriots offense keeps moving the ball like this, and starts converting, it may be difficult to keep up.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Right now, Stephen Gostkowski might have the game's most impressive play. Backed up to the 25 by a penalty, he still found a way to boom the ball through the end zone. Real impressive.

The depth of his kickoffs have mitigated any problem that Ted Ginn could, potentially, cause here. And he's hit three field goals.

Come to think of it, he might be the game's MVP right now. No kidding.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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