Opening up in Miami… ugh!
Even the most optimistic Patriots fans have to groan about an early September sweatfest in Miami. Generally, though, it doesn’t matter when the Patriots visit South Florida. Sunday will mark their 57th game in Miami and they will look to win for only the 17th time. New England’s 16-40 record against the Dolphins in Miami leaves them with a paltry .286 winning percentage (they beat Miami in Tampa in 1969). They just seem to frequently find ways to lose down there.
That darned 2018 Miami Miracle when the Dolphins, in last-gasp desperation mode, completed a short pass, lateralled twice and somehow found the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown as the clock read 0:00 for a 34-33 win was as painful as they come. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl, but that loss lingers in the memory bank.
Then there was the game in 2004 when Tom Brady, while being hurled to the ground by Jason Taylor, heaved a terrible pass up for grabs that was intercepted near the Patriots 20-yard line. It set up the 2-11 Dolphins for the game-winning touchdown in a 29-28 Patriots loss. New England was 12-2 and on its way to winning a second consecutive Super Bowl, but lost to the woeful Dolphins.
Of course, any long-time Patriots fan remembers that the team lost 18 consecutive games at the Orange Bowl between 1967 and 1985.
So blah, blah, blah. The Patriots have struggled to win there. Yet, it’s not all bad.
New England broke the 18-game losing streak with a 31-14 AFC Championship Game victory in January of 1986 and started a four-game South Florida win streak. In fact, Raymond Berry is the only Patriots head coach with a winning record on the road against the Dolphins (4-2). Five head coaches never won there. Bill Belichick had a winning record (7-6) through his first 13 trips, but is 2-6 in the last eight for a 9-12 overall mark. Under Belichick, the Patriots have suffered three shutout losses. Of course, one of those was in Miami – a 21-0 defeat in 2006.
He’s had some memorable wins though. The 82-yard overtime touchdown pass from Brady to Troy Brown on October 19, 2003 marked the first time in history the Patriots won in Miami in either of a season’s first two months when it is hottest there.
Watching Randy Moss toy with Miami defenders in a 49-28 win in 2007 was certainly enjoyable. The Pats even won there with Matt Cassell running the offense in 2008 – a 48-28 win. The Pats opened the 2011 season with a convincing 38-24 victory in Miami that featured the longest touchdown pass in team history – 99 yards from Brady to Wes Welker.
Sunday will be the 11th season-opening meeting between the Patriots and Dolphins and the third straight. New England is 4-2 at home in those openers and 1-3 in Miami.
So the odds are certainly in the Dolphins favor this week, and that might be especially true given the Patriots sluggish performances during this preseason. But, as we know, strange things happen in Miami, so perhaps this year’s potential oddity works in New England’s favor.
- Miami leads the all-time series, 59-54
- The Patriots longest wining streak against Miami is seven games (2010-2013 & 1985-1988)
- The Dolphins longest winning streak against New England is nine (1989-1993)
- The Patriots are 17-40 on the road and 37-19 at home in the series
- There have been seven overtime games in the series and New England is 3-4 in those games
- Miami has won the last three meetings
- The Patriots last swept the season series in 2016 (Miami swept in 2021)
- The series dates back to Nov. 27, 1966 (a 20-14 Patriots win in Miami)
- The Patriots largest margin of victory is 43 (43-0 win in Miami on Sept. 15, 2019)
- The Dolphins largest margin of victory is 52 (52-0 win in Miami on Nov. 12, 1972)