Tony Sparano made no excuses for the woeful defensive performance: “That’s not acceptable. It’s not something we’re going to settle for. At times we made it a little bit easy for them – we didn’t tackle. The under coverage is something we’ve got to look at.
“We said it during the week that big plays are going to kill you against this team. Some of their scores looked like it was kind of easy. We had it down to a one-score game and then they threw whatever the heck that was from the 2-yard line” to Wes Welker for a long touchdown.
### Sparano said Chad Henne’s play was “outstanding. I thought the kid played a great game. That’s supposed to be a pretty good defense. I was pleased at times with how the line protected. There were some encouraging things. The receivers got downfield. Anthony Fasano caught the ball.”
### The Dolphins’ decision to cut Will Allen – and save his $1.5 million salary – looks like a mistake. Benny Sapp, who beat out Allen for the nickel cornerback job, allowed six of seven passes thrown in his direction to be caught, including Welker’s 99-yarder. On the plus side, Sapp deflected a pass that Jared Odrick caught for an interception.
Welker obviously is an awfully tough matchup, and Sapp figures to play better than he did Monday.
But here’s the main reason why cutting Allen was questionable: When Vontae Davis left temporarily in the third quarter with cramps, the Dolphins had to turn to Nolan Carroll, who allowed four catches and was overmatched against Patriots No. 3 receiver Deion Branch. Allen presumably would have done better. He certainly couldn’t have done worse.
Allen remains unsigned, and the Dolphins would be wise to give him a call on Tuesday.
### So much for the notion that the Dolphins would be more effective against tight ends. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were targeted a combined 14 times. They caught 13 of them for a combined 189 yards.
Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett, Yeremiah Bell, Reshad Jones, Sean Smith, Sapp and Jimmy Wilson were all burned in coverage against tight ends.
“We didn’t do a good job of covering it,” Sparano said. “Too many big plays again.”
### Wilson was beaten twice when he entered the game in the third quarter while Davis was out.
### Burnett, supposedly one of the NFL’s better inside linebackers against the pass, had an immensely disappointing debut. And Dansby wasn’t nearly the factor he should have been. Meanwhile, the defensive line generated very little pass rush.
### Though the Dolphins are utilizing the fullback less, ex-Dolphin Lousaka Polite’s good work in short yardage clearly was missed. Reggie Bush lost two yards on third and two in the first half. Lex Hilliard lost a yard in a goal line situation even with defensive tackle Paul Soliai as his lead blocker.
And Polite would have been an option on the late fourth and goal play, when the Dolphins went into the shotgun and threw an incomplete pass (a fade to Brian Hartline) despite being at the half yard line.
“It’s the right play,” Henne said. “Get the ball up and see if he can make a play on it.”
### Though the offense had some very good moments, the Dolphins were just 2 for 14 on third downs.
### Richie Incognito committed two holding penalties and allowed a sack.
### Linebacker Jason Trusnik, cited last week by Sparano as one of Miami’s best special teams players, committed two holding penalties on returns, including one that negated a long Clyde Gates gain.
### Defensive lineman Tony McDaniel left in the first half with a hand injury and did not return.
### Henne said, “We did some good things. We have to eliminate some of the three and outs.” But the result is “disheartening.”
### NFL Network’s Warren Sapp: “Nate Solder absolutely schooled Cameron Wake. … If you can’t win one-on-ones, you’re going to have a long, long season. If you can’t generate a pass rush against the better quarterbacks in this league, you’re going to be in trouble.”
After Sparano’s postgame news conference, Sapp said, “You can’t sit there and tell me we got 500 yards. This [Patriots defense] was the NFL’s 25th-ranked defense last year. There’s no such thing as a moral victory. It’s a black and white world in the NFL."
### ESPN’s Ron Jaworski apologized for inadvertently using a four-letter word that rhymes with hit. Or fit.