Dion Lewis brings 'spark of energy' to Patriots with career-high 112 yards

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Without the benefit of film review, an initial look at which New England Patriots were “up” and “down” in Sunday’s 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins:


Dion Lewis -- The sixth-year veteran eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game for the first time in his career, totaling 112 yards on 15 carries (7.5 avg.) as his sharp cuts gave the Dolphins’ defense fits. Said fellow running back Rex Burkhead: “He did a tremendous job, making guys miss, finishing runs, and really just giving this offense a spark of energy. It’s fun to watch.”

Trey Flowers/Elandon Roberts -- On a day when the Patriots racked up seven sacks, they each had two, with Roberts’ knack for blitzing up the middle and closing ground quickly showing up. Said Flowers, who also forced a fumble that the Patriots recovered: “When there’s a game like this, obviously you’re competing against each other to try to get to the quarterback. You can have a little fun with it as long as the team is doing [well] and you understand it’s not just the defensive front.”

Rob Gronkowski/red-zone offense -- Finishing with five catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns, he was a big part of the offense going 5-for-5 in the red zone, which has been a trouble spot for the team at times this season. “That was good,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “Obviously those are big swings, four-point swings, whether it’s a field goal or a touchdown. We’ve got to keep that going.”


Ted Karras/offensive line: -- The second-year center (playing in place of starter David Andrews) took the blame for firing a shotgun snap back to Brady when the QB wasn’t looking, which the Dolphins recovered and returned 14 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Overall, Brady was under duress too often, taking eight quarterback hits. That isn’t all on the offensive line, but this performance wasn’t as solid as the line has put forth in recent weeks.

Ryan Allen -- The normally reliable punter had a rare touchback (only his third of the season) and also seemed to be involved in the play in which special teams coach Joe Judge wasn’t pleased with the punt team taking a delay-of-game penalty. It was unclear if the Patriots were running a fake and didn’t get it off, but there seemed to be some type of breakdown and Judge was yelling in the direction of Allen afterwards.

Malcolm Butler -- Two plays stood out: a missed tackle on Jarvis Landry in the second quarter that was followed up two plays later with a 34-yard pass interference penalty. But in fairness to Butler, it is hard to watch a player’s coverage without film review, so this spot could be vacated after a closer look.