Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The last time the Miami Dolphins saw the New England Patriots; Tom Brady torched the Fins for more than 500 yards passing in a game that set the tone for the Fins’ 0-7 start.
This Sunday, with just two games left, the Fins look totally different; but the Patriots remain one the NFL’s juggernauts.
Miami wants to lean on running back Reggie Bush to be the catalyst to the Fins’ offense. Bush is coming off a career best rushing day against Buffalo when he ran for more than 200 yards.
Still, the enduring memory of Bush from the first game against the Patriots is of then Pats defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth grabbing Bush with one arm and throwing him to the ground. But, it’s a different Bush this time around.
“I think first off this is a new offense for us, a new system,” Bush said. “Obviously for me this is completely new environment and team and everything.”
Bush knows though that anyone playing against a Bill Belichick coached team is going to face a tough matchup.
“They do a good job of playing fundamental football and bending but not breaking almost mentality,” Bush said. “They’re still pretty stout up front. They do a good job of creating some havoc in the middle so that’s something we’re aware of and got to do a good job at handling.”
But just as important for the Dolphins to have any chance of winning is finding some way of stopping, or at least slowing down, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Interim head coach Todd Bowles said he doesn’t think the Patriots will change a single thing from their game plan in the first game against the Fins.
“I don’t expect them to approach us any differently,” Bowles said. “I mean, they had a hell of a game the first game, so they kind of treat everybody the same. They’re a well-oiled machine. They’re a good football team.”
Just how good were the Patriots in the first-game? The term staggering would be fitting.
Tom Brady threw for 517 yards along with 4 touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Wes Welker had 160 yards receiving, including a 99-yard touchdown pass. The two tight-ends for the Pats had a combined 189 yards receiving, two touchdowns on just 13 catches.
The Patriots have long since clinched the AFC East title, but are still in contention to land home-field advantage through the playoffs. A win against the Dolphins will keep the Pats one game ahead of Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Houston in the race for home-field advantage.
A loss by the Dolphins would send their record to 5-10 on the season, but would go a long way towards keeping the Dolphins high enough in the 2012 NFL Draft to have a realistic shot at one of the top quarterbacks.