Patriots 38

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Dolphins 24

(0-1, 0-1 home)

Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

7:00 PM ET, September 12, 2011

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 7 7 14 1038
MIA 7 0 10 724

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 517 YDS, 4 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: D. Woodhead (NE) - 14 CAR, 69 YDS

Receiving: W. Welker (NE) - 8 REC, 160 YDS, 2 TD

Tom Brady picks apart Dolphins as 517-yard, 4-TD opener fuels Pats

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Tom Brady sat on the bench, his sweat-soaked hair hanging in his face as he fumed about his first interception in nearly 11 months.

A little later he was back in the same seat wearing a wide grin as teammates congratulated him on a record-setting performance.

Brady shook off a rare turnover to throw for a team-record 517 yards and four touchdowns, including a 99-yarder to Wes Welker, and the New England Patriots started with a victory for the eighth consecutive season Monday night by beating the Miami Dolphins 38-24.

Defensive end Jared Odrick picked off a deflected pass to set up a Miami touchdown and end Brady's NFL-record streak of 358 passes without an interception.

Otherwise Brady and the reigning AFC East champions picked up where they left off last season, when he threw for 36 TDs and his team led the league in scoring.

New England totaled 622 yards, the most in franchise history and the most allowed by Miami. Brady's performance overshadowed Miami's Chad Henne, who threw for a career-high 416 yards.

The 906 net yards passing by both teams was an NFL record.

"They made some plays on us," Brady said. "We made a few more than them."

Brady, who went 32 for 48, became the 11th quarterback to throw for at least 500 yards. Norm Van Brocklin set the record of 554 yards in 1951.

"We're pleased to have him on our side," teammate Danny Woodhead said with a smile.

The capper came with 5:44 left and the Patriots leading 31-17. After they stopped Miami on downs at the 1-foot line, Brady lined up in the shotgun on first down and threw from his end zone to Welker, who had slipped behind Benny Sapp near the 30-yard line.

"When I saw the coverage as we lined up, I knew there was a strong possibility I could be getting the ball," Welker said. "I just wanted to make the most of the opportunity."

He did, catching the pass in stride and sprinting untouched for the score to complete the longest play in Patriots history.

"I only threw it 25 yards. Wes did all the work," Brady said. "When I saw him break away, that was awesome. Coach never lets us run that route in practice."

Brady also threw touchdown passes on consecutive plays. He hit Aaron Hernandez for a 31-yard score, and when a replay review determined the receiver was down at the 1, Brady threw to him again for a TD on the next play.

His other scoring passes covered 10 yards to Rob Gronkowski and 2 yards to Welker.

"Some of their scores ended up looking like it was kind of easy," Miami coach Tony Sparano said.

Said Brady: "I wouldn't say it was easy at all."

He was sacked only once, and good protection gave his receivers plenty of time to work their way open.

Newcomer Chad Ochocinco had only one catch for 14 yards. But Welker made eight receptions for 160 yards, and tight ends Hernandez and Gronkowski combined for 189 yards on 13 catches.

"It wasn't a one-man band out there," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We had a lot of contributions."

The Dolphins' defense returned virtually intact from last season and was expected to be the team's strength, but Brady riddled them from the start.

He completed his first eight passes for 127 yards on the Patriots' first two possessions, and both ended with TDs.

Brady's first interception since Oct. 17 came early in the third quarter, when he tried to hit Julian Edelman in the flat. Sapp deflected the ball to the 304-pound Odrick, who rumbled 40 yards to the 9. Two plays later, Henne hit Brian Hartline with a 10-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-all.

Brady was so rattled it took him 10 plays to put the Pats ahead to stay. They drove 73 yards and scored on his 2-yard pass to Welker.

Miami's problems with Brady were nothing new. He and the Pats beat the Dolphins twice last year while outscoring them 79-21. Losing at home was nothing different for the Dolphins, either, who have dropped 10 of their past 11 home games.

There was one change for the Dolphins. They promised a more aggressive, exciting offense under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and showed it from the start, scoring on a season-opening drive for the first time since 2000.

They lined up 355-pound nose tackle Paul Soliai in their goal-line offense, did damage with quarterback keepers by Henne and gave newcomer Reggie Bush 20 touches. Brandon Marshall gained 139 yards on seven catches, but he and Miami couldn't keep up with Brady.

"Not the defensive performance we were hoping for," Sparano said. "That's an understatement."

Game notes

Patriots C Dan Koppen rode off in a cart late in the first half with a left leg injury. He was on crutches after the game. ... Dolphins DE Tony McDaniel missed most of the second half with a hand injury. ... Brady's previous career high in passing yardage was 410 against Kansas City in 2002. ... A statue of founding Dolphins owner Joe Robbie was rededicated before the game. The statue had been in a storage area during stadium renovations. ... Celebrities in attendance included Dwyane Wade, Will Smith and Pitbull.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2725
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays7173
Total Yards622488
Yards per play8.86.7
Total Drives1213
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)4-63-6
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

miaTD7:47Chad Henne 9 Yard Run (Dan Carpenter Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 84 yds, 7:18
neTD4:21Benjarvus Green-Ellis 4 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 78 yds, 3:28
neTD14:15Rob Gronkowski 10 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 65 yds, 2:54
miaTD12:35Brian Hartline 10 Yard Pass From Chad Henne (Dan Carpenter Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 9 yds, 0:44
neTD8:27Wes Welker 2 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 73 yds, 4:06
miaFG3:40Dan Carpenter 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 87 yds, 4:47
neTD0:16Aaron Hernandez 1 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 78 yds, 3:26
neFG11:06Stephen Gostkowski 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 62 yds, 3:35
neTD5:57Wes Welker 99 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 99 yds, 0:00
miaTD3:43Reggie Bush 2 Yard Pass From Chad Henne (Dan Carpenter Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 74 yds, 2:05

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: Only 32.6 percent of Reggie Bush's rushes for the Saints the past three seasons were up the middle and Bush averaged 4.2 yards per rush on such runs. On Monday night, nine of Bush's 11 rushes were up the middle (81.8 percent) and they produced 3.4 yards per rush.
NEXT LEVEL: Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne looked like an improved quarterback from a season ago, particularly passing inside the numbers. Despite that interception on the final throw of the game, Henne finished with excellent numbers, particularly throwing over the middle of the field.
NEXT LEVEL: Tom Brady and the Patriots used no-huddle offenses to keep the Dolphins in small defenses (five or more defensive backs) against their two tight end offenses. The Patriots ran for 85 yards on 16 attempts (5.3 yards/rush) against the Dolphins' sub small defense and just 21 yards on 8 attempts (2.6 yards/rush) against the Dolphins' 3-4.
NEXT LEVEL: The Dolphins increased the blitz pressure after Patriots center Dan Koppen left the game with an injury with 1:18 left in the first half. Unfortunately for Miami, Tom Brady led the league last season with an NFL passer rating of 121.9 against five-or-more pass rushers.
The Patriots had a historic offensive performance. But they also allowed 488 total net yards of offense to the Dolphins. It is the 2nd-most total net yards they have allowed in a season opener, only trailing their 1994 opener...against the Dolphins. This is the only time they allowed more than 450 yards in an opener and won.
From Elias: The Patriots had 4 players with at least 6 receptions AND at least 85 yards receiving. They are the first team in NFL history to have such a performance in a single game.
NEXT LEVEL: Tom Brady targeted Wes Welker on throws of at least 15 yards four times Monday night, including Welker's 99-yard touchdown catch. Last season, Brady targeted Welker on throws of that length just eight times all season and never twice in one game.
The Patriots had a historic offensive performance. But they also allowed 488 total net yards of offense to the Dolphins. This is the most total net yards the Patriots ever allowed on Monday Night Football. It's the 1st time in franchise history they allowed more than 450 yards on MNF and won.
NEXT LEVEL: Brady was 10 of 17 for 310 yards on throws that traveled more than 10 yards in the air Monday night; his most attempts of that distance in a single game dating back to 2008.
NEXT LEVEL: Last year Tom Brady led the NFL with 2,227 yards in a 2+ TE formation. On Monday night, Brady's 416 yards in such formations was nearly 20 percent of that total yardage from a season ago and he maintained an almost identical completion percentage.
From Elias: The Patriots racked up the 2nd-most total yards in a season opener in NFL history.
After Juan Francisco's long home run tonight, Prince Fielder (486 ft), Francisco (482 ft) and Justin Upton (478 ft) have the longest homers in the majors this season. Tom Brady's passing yardage (517 yds) on Monday was 105 ft MORE (1,551 ft) than the distance of the 3 longest homers in MLB this season COMBINED (1,446 ft).
The Patriots had 622 total net yards, setting a franchise record, breaking the old record of 619 set in a 59-0 win over the Titans in 2009.
Last season, no quarterback passed more out of two-tight end formations than Tom Brady, who lead the league in attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns out of two-tight end sets. On Monday night Brady was even more prolific, recording 18.7 percent of his yardage total from a season ago while maintaining an almost identical completion percentage.
When you combine the pass yards for the Patriots (516) and the Dolphins (390), there has NEVER been a more prolific NFL game in terms of combined passing yards. The Dolphins were also involved in the previous record which came on Sept. 21, 1986 and that was a game that included overtime.

DolphinsPatriotsFueled in part by Tom Brady's 517-yard night, the Patriots and Dolphins combined for the second-most net yards of offense in a single game in NFL history.


BradyTom Brady had to wait until Monday night to open his 2011 season, but did so in grand fashion, torching the Dolphins for 517 yards and four TDs.

Tom Brady's 99-yard TD pass to Wes Welker was the 12th of its kind in NFL history. The history of the 99-yard touchdown pass spans back to 1939. Tonight's was the fourth 99-yard pass in the last decade.
Tom Brady's NFL record of most consecutive regular-season passes without an interception is over at 358 after a tipped-ball was picked off by Jared Odrick. He hadn't thrown a regular-season pick since Week 5 of last season vs the Ravens.
Surprised Brady went to Rob Gronkowski in the red zone? Don't be... Gronkowski's 9 Rec TD in the red zone last year led the NFL.
Tom Brady: 262nd career Pass TD; breaks a tie with Dave Krieg for 10th all-time. Next up for Brady is Joe Montana who had 273.

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