Rush to judgment: Newton, running game lead Patriots

  • New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, right, celebrates his second rushing touchdown as he heads to the bench in the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton scores his second rushing touchdown as Miami Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker tries to knock him out of bounds in the second half Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. Newton led the Patriots with 75 yards on the ground. Steven Senne / AP

  • New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, right, speaks to quarterback Cam Newton on the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, left, congratulates Cam Newton on his second rushing touchdown against the Miami Dolphins Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. Newton ran for two touchdowns in his debut as the starting quarterback. Story, B1 Charles Krupa / AP

  • Miami Dolphins place kicker Jason Sanders (7) watches his successful field goal attempt against the New England Patriots in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Miami Dolphins running back Matt Breida (22) carries the ball as New England Patriots defensive back Terrence Brooks (25) chases in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • New England Patriots running back Sony Michel drives ahead Sunday. Michel scored a touchdown for a Patriots rushing attack that accounted for 217 yards. Charles Krupa / AP

  • New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman catches a pass against the Miami Dolphins in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

Associated Press
Published: 9/13/2020 4:41:40 PM

Cam Newton looked just fine as Tom Brady’s replacement, rushing for two touchdowns Sunday, and the New England Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 21-11 to open the season.

Newton rushed for 15 times for 75 yards and threw for 155 yards, leading a Patriots offensive attack that did most of its damage on the ground in their first game since the departure of Brady to Tampa Bay as a free agent.

Sony Michel added a touchdown for New England, which had 217 of its 357 yards on the ground. Newton was 15 of 19 passing.

Most of the sights and sounds normally associated with Gillette Stadium’s usually raucous crowd were silenced by a Massachusetts COVID-19 ordinance prohibiting fans from attending for at least the first two games of the season.

Miami struggled for most of the game offensively and lost top receiver DeVante Parker, who left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 20 of 30 for 191 yards and three interceptions. Miami was held to 269 total yards.

Newton scored from 11 yards early in the third quarter to put New England up 14-3.

The Patriots were threatening again late in the period, but Jerome Baker kept the Dolphins in the game. He stripped N’Keal Harry inside the 5-yard line, causing a fumble through the end zone for a touchback.

Miami then cut New England’s lead to 14-11 in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard TD run by Jordan Howard and 2-point conversion run by Fitzpatrick with 10:31 left.

The Patriots went quickly on their ensuing series and moved inside Miami’s 40, thanks to a 23-yard run by Julian Edelman and 15-yard penalty on Baker for a late hit. Newton muscled inside the 1 on a fourth-and-1 draw play. Michel went over the top for a TD on the next play.

The Patriots’ defense then shut the door when Fitzpatrick was intercepted in the end zone by J.C. Jackson.




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