The New England Patriots have it down to a science. Start fast, play with a lead, take away what the opponent does best. That’s why the Patriots are 7-0, and that’s why they have a point differential of +116.
Well, that all-too-familiar storyline unfolded Thursday at Gillette Stadium, as the Patriots dismantled the Dolphins, 36-7. New England led 19-0 at halftime and never looked back.
“The offense most definitely started off strong, and the defense just had to go out there, just play ball and just get the ball back to the offense,” Patriots corner Malcolm Butler said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “That changed the whole game, the whole swing of the game.”
The Dolphins had just 270 total yards, committed two turnovers and were 2-of-11 on third down. Butler, who has gone from unknown Super Bowl hero to the No. 1 corner for the Patriots, was stellar once more, blanketing Dolphins receivers and finishing with five tackles.
Not bad for a guy who seemingly no one had heard off just a few months ago.
“You’re right. No one knew who I was,” Butler said. “But you make a play like that, you’re going to get a little attention. So you just got to handle it all. The good with the bad come with the territory. I just go out there and compete hard each and every game and just try to do anything to help my team win. There’s always room for improvement. I’m just going to keep going, keep my head up, keep playing and just try to be the best player I can be for this team.”
Tom Brady had another vintage Tom Brady performance, going 26-of-38 for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski finished with a game-high 113 yards, while Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis combined for 13 catches for 174 yards and three touchdowns.
“Man, you know those guys, they’re going to play hard,” Butler said. “(Edelman is) going to fight for yards. He’s going to try to catch the ball and do anything to win. Dion, he can come out of the backfield, catch the ball, run the ball – he’s a big threat. That was two good players right there.”
The Patriots are off until Nov. 8, when they host Washington (3-4). Needless to say, New England will enjoy its mini-bye after playing two games in five days.
“It’s all about hitting the reset button,” Butler said. “It’s all about stopping and going. Just enjoy your days off and flip the switch when it’s time. You just got to be always prepared. Players play and work is work.”
There’s still a long way to go in the season, but at this point, the Patriots have no obvious weaknesses. Can anyone beat them?
“We’re just going out there and playing,” Butler said. “Just giving it our all each and every down, every snap, every play, every situation.”
Scott Ferrall wondered if the Patriots can run the table just as they did in 2007, but Butler isn’t looking at the big picture.
“Every team is good in this league,” he said. “You can get beat anytime if you’re not ready, so we’re just going to keep rolling and be ready whenever the opportunity comes to go out there and play.”