The New England Patriots came out of the gate firing, recording five first downs on their first drive of the season. That was the peak of their performance on Sunday, as the host Dolphins beat the Patriots 20-7.
Although the clunker was a step in the wrong direction for quarterback Mac Jones and Co, there were some (not many) solid outcomes from the season opener. On the flip side, there were some disappointing performances as well. Here are your Week 1 winners and losers.
Winner: S Kyle Dugger
The 2020 second-round pick burst onto the scene last season and continued that on Sunday. Dugger was flying around the field, racking up four tackles and some key stuffs in the run game. Although he went down after a knee to the groin, the former Lenoir-Rhyne product shined in an otherwise touch game to watch.
Loser: CB Myles Bryant
Another member of the 2020 rookie class, Bryant was on the other side of the spectrum than Dugger. Although Bryant contributed a bit in the return game, his missed tackles and dropped interception left a bad taste in the mouth of New England fans. Jumping in front of Devin McCourty, who had an easy INT, was just the nail in the coffin.
Winner: WR Jakobi Meyers
With Kendrick Bourne seemingly in the doghouse, Meyers was able to elevate his game as Mac Jones’ top target. Highlighted by a leaping grab on third-and-long, Meyers racked up 62 total yards on the day and solidified himself as the Patriots’ best pass catcher to start the campaign.
Loser: OT Trent Brown
Jones was completing a number of passes to Meyers, but when he wasn’t, he was often hurried from the left side of the line. Jones was given an average of three seconds to throw, lowest in the NFL. Brown was sluggish all game, struggling with keeping up with either the Dolphins’ speed of the edge or the South Florida heat. Maybe both.
Winner: RB Ty Montgomery
After getting injury and carted off in the preseason finale against Las Vegas, Montgomery’s status for Week 1 was up in the air. He ultimately played and scored the lone touchdown for the Patriots offense. He found himself rolling into the end zone on Sunday and thus, rolling into the James White role this fall.
Loser: DT Carl Davis
Davis was on the field over second-year Christian Barmore for what seemed like a number of crucial snaps. In the first half, coming off a timeout, Davis jumped on a fourth-and-short, extending the Dolphins’ first drive of the day. It was a bad moment for the longtime veteran and led to points for Miami. Not good.
The Patriots will stay on the road and travel to Pittsburgh to face the 1-0 Steelers, who just came off a thrilling overtime win over division rival Cincinnati.