Dolphins seeking streak buster, 4-0 start
Cameron Wake, Ryan Tannehill, Adam Gase and the rest of the Miami Dolphins may insist this is just another game against just another opponent.
And while history may not be on their side, they surely know what is at stake in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium.
A victory on the road would be Miami’s first win at New England since 2008.
Just as important, a win would result in the Dolphins’ first 4-0 start since
“To be honest, I could care less, and I’m sure they don’t care about what happened 10 years ago. … Sunday afternoon is what matters or doesn’t matter,” said Wake, who has yet to win a game in New England in his
10 seasons with the Dolphins.
“What happened two years ago, five or 10 or 20 … it’s play by play,” added Wake. “You’ve got to win the play. You’ve got to win the day. That’s all I’m focused on.”
The Dolphins (3-0) will enter the game as one of three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL, joining the Kansas City Chiefs and
Los Angeles Rams.
And with a two-game lead in the loss column over the Patriots, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets — all sitting at 1-2 — the Dolphins would remain atop the AFC East with a win or loss against the Patriots.
Still, Gase wants his team to maintain the proper perspective heading into the matchup.
After all, it has been a driving force in their fast, fun-filled start.
“It’s the fourth game of the year. I know everybody wants to make it bigger than that, but that’s what it is,” Gase said when asked what a win over the Patriots would mean for the Dolphins.
“It’s the first quarter of the season. There’s a long
ways to go. Every game is important and that’s the one we’re focused on right now. Anytime you can get a win and you keep stacking them on top of each other, it’s a positive.”
A win would be a solid foundation for this season as the Dolphins aspire to reach the playoffs for the second time in Gase’s threeyear tenure.
To peak their focus at the start of each practice this past week, the Dolphins have played classic songs “O Fortuna” — a popular 1930s ballad that has appeared in countless movies, TV shows and commercials — and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” over the practice field speakers.
Coincidentally or not, both songs are played during the Patriots’ pre-game introductions before every home game.
“I guess I didn’t notice it,” Gase said. “I have other things going on. I’m not picking iPod songs.”
Under Gase, and with Tannehill in the fold as starting quarterback, the Dolphins have won 10 of their last 11 games dating back to 2016.
This season, Gase has called a number of plays aimed at unleashing speedsters and Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson for big gains and touchdowns, while receivers like Kenny Stills and former Patriot Danny Amendola have become reliable targets for passes from Tannehill.
The Patriots have struggled to score without reliable receiving targets behind tight end Rob Gronkowski, and their defense ranks in the bottom four of the NFL, giving up more than 400 yards per game.
New England, which has had several poor starts to seasons in September, is off to another one. But history shows that the Patriots get stronger during the course of the season. An example: After 2-2 starts in 2003 and 2014, they won the Super Bowl.
The Dolphins don’t believe the Patriots game will serve as an early barometer for their team, which last made the playoffs in 2016 and 2008.
They should hope their loose “just-another-game” approach does not end in just another result in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
“I don’t know if it’s a measuring stick or anything like that,” Tannehill said. “Obviously I have a ton of respect for New England, and what they’ve done, and what kind of team they are. [It’s a] big opportunity for us to go up there and play well.”
Added Grant: “We’re not making it out to be this Super Bowl game or anything like that. … We’re playing against the Patriots — a very good team — but we’re a good team as well. They’re going to give us their best shot, and we’re going to give them our best shot.”
Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) gives a stiff arm to New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) during last year’s game in Foxborough, Mass.