Tom Brady kicked the door down to open the 2011 NFL season, and despite a defensive effort that was lacking, to say the least, Brady’s numbers and the Patriots’ no-huddle offense made up for it, being too good for the Dolphins (38-24) all night. Brady set a personal record with his 517 yards, a franchise record, that went along nicely with his four touchdown passes.
The season opened on Thursday with a QB duel between Brees and Rodgers, two of the league’s best. Brady, the 2010 MVP, stepped up to that standard and leapfrogged it.
It was a crazy offensive nights on both ends. Chad Henne did throw a pick near the end, but threw for 416 yards and two touchdowns. The 906 net passing yards by both teams combined is a new NFL record. The Dolphins did intercept Brady once, breaking his NFL record streak of 358 consecutive completions without getting picked, but all night couldn’t handle him or the running game, powered through the two Tight End formation.
Four receivers on the Patriots finished with at least six receptions and at least 85 yards. Wes Welker was above the rest with two TD and 160 yards. He connected for the 99 yard TD late in the fourth quarter, squandering any hope the Dolphins had of making a comeback.
Offense wins titles in recent years, that seems to be the trend, but the Pats D has to get better. Brady is incredible, and without Manning around right now, there’s no doubt he’s the best QB out there. But I don’t believe every team will be as helpless as the Dolphins were last night. Division rivals like the Jets should prove much more of a problem.
Reggie Bush made his premiere for the Dolphins, unable to really impress. His running game was average (38 yards in 11 carries) but he did manage to catch a pass for a touchdown in garbage time. Miami’s top rusher was actually Henne, running for 59 yards and scoring a touchdown. The Dolphins have a quarterback they can feel confident with, unlike a lot of other teams around the league, as Sunday and Monday showed us. A productive running game? That’s something else.
It’s a fine line between putting pressure on a defense and playing out of control. I thought at times we did both, and you never really want to play out of control on offense. It was a good pace at times but other times they adjusted to it. It didn’t seem like the Dolphins managed to adjust. The defense looked confused, penalized for having 12 men on the field one time. Other times they just had to burn time outs, hoping to stop the incoming waves.
Is this how it’s going to be in 2011? A fast, no-huddle offense all the way, attempting to put 50 on the board every week? Sometimes we go fast and sometimes we go slow, it’s just a matter of what the point of the drive is and how we’re trying to execute. We’re ultimately trying to get the ball in the end zone. On Monday night it was fast, very fast, too fast for the Dolphins, and a whole lot of other teams I can assume, that will encounter what looks like the scariest offense in the league right now.