Rapid Reaction: Patriots 27, Dolphins 17

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Miami Dolphins pulled out all the stops. They ran the option for a touchdown, had running back Ronnie Brown throw for a touchdown and went for it on fourth down on the opening drive of the second half.

It wasn't enough.

One week after Ted Ginn returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and Jason Taylor scored on a fumble recovery to compensate for an anemic offense, the Dolphins weren't able to find enough points Sunday in Gillette Stadium.

In a game that was closer on the scoreboard than many anticipated, the New England Patriots were obviously the better team in a 27-17 victory.

With the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills off this weekend, Sunday's lone AFC East game padded the Patriots' lead and put the Dolphins in a precarious position. The Patriots are 6-2, two games ahead of the Jets and three ahead of the Dolphins and Bills.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was in command throughout the game. He threw a long interception while trying to go deep to Randy Moss on the Patriots opening possession.

Brady completed 25 of 37 throws for 332 yards, a chunk coming on Moss' 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Brady also connected with Moss for the two-point conversion and for a 36-yard strike to set up a Laurence Maroney touchdown from the 1-yard line a play later.

Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne went 2-0 in his first NFL starts but had his third straight ordinary Sunday. He was 19-of-34 for 219 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions.

The Patriots mostly held the Wildcat in check, but rookie quarterback Pat White optioned them into the end zone -- two keepers for 37 yards and a pitch to Ricky Williams for a 15-yard score -- and Brown did throw to tight end Joey Haynos for a 2-yard touchdown.

Brown finished with 15 carries for 48 yards.