The New England Patriots' streak of 10 consecutive opening-day wins has come to an end, with the Miami Dolphins picking up a 33-20 win in SunLife Stadium on Sunday.
Things started poorly for the Patriots with a blocked punt that the Dolphins turned into a short touchdown drive. The Patriots turned the tide in time to take a 20-10 lead into the locker room for halftime, taking advantage of three Miami turnovers in the first half.
The Patriots' poor trench play caught up to them, though. Quarterback Tom Brady was sacked four times, the most ever for him in a season-opener. The Patriots' defensive line was moved off the ball in the running game, and could not get pressure on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. That led to the Dolphins scoring 23 unanswered points to win 33-20.
The Patriots' resiliency will be tested with the loss in their opening game.
As is the case in just about every game, several players stood out, some for better reasons than others. Here's a look at which players performed well and others who struggled.
Rob Gronkowski: We knew Rob Gronkowski wouldn't play every snap, but he managed to make an impact even in limited playing time. He caught four of the 11 passes thrown his way, going 40 yards and catching the Patriots' lone passing touchdown. Gronkowski played 23 of 47 snaps in the first half before playing only 15 of 39 snaps in the second half.
Julian Edelman: The Patriots turned to Julian Edelman frequently in 2013, and they may do so once again this season. Not only did Edelman reel in six of eight passes in his direction for 95 yards, but he also took two carries on reverses for 21 yards. Not surprisingly, all of Edelman's yards came in the first half.
Shane Vereen: The Patriots could have their goal line back in Shane Vereen. He plowed ahead for the Patriots' lone rushing touchdown of the game behind some good blocks by the interior of the Patriots' offensive line. It appears Vereen will once again be a big part of the offensive game plan, as he accounted for 12 touches and 71 total yards of offense.
Offensive line: There's no one person to blame for the offensive line struggles against the Dolphins, it was a group effort. As mentioned, Brady was sacked four times and hit many more. The Patriots went to a lot of screens early, perhaps an indication that they had an inclination that their offensive line might struggle.
Defensive line: The Patriots have been running more 3-4 defensive looks this preseason, and that continued on Sunday. There will be more than a little second-guessing after the Patriots' poor effort up front against the Dolphins. Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller combined for 193 rushing yards, and the Patriots were moved off the ball time after time like it was 2013 all over again. Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo were expected to provide some assistance in that area, but neither had the kind of impact that moves the needle.
Punt team: There was a bad feeling about this game from an early stage, mainly as a result of Danny Aiken's low snap to punter Ryan Allen that resulted in the first blocked punt of Allen's career. Allen also had a bad punt that resulted in a 16-yard return by rookie Jarvis Landry.