MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins continued to take small steps forward offensively in the team’s second preseason game, but the Fins will need to show some quick improvement by the time the season rolls around because it looks like the rumors of the New England Patriots’ demise were a little premature.

The Patriots were without tight end Rob Gronkowski, lost tight end Aaron Hernandez to an arrest for murder, and were without most of the pass catching leaders from last year’s squad including Wes Welker when they took the field for the first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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So how did Tom Brady and company respond?

Brady came out firing completing seven of eight passes for 65 yards and a touchdown during his brief appearance in Friday night’s game. Oh, and the Patriots offense also ran for 248 yards on 31 carries, or roughly 8 yards per carry against the Eagles.

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Out of eight drives in the first half, the Patriots punted just twice, scored three touchdowns, hit a field goal, and also missed a field goal. The Patriots led 24-14 at halftime and had it been a regular season game, Brady would have likely kept tearing apart the Eagles defense in the second half.

Much like the Dolphins victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t give a true picture of where the Fins’ offense is overall due to the Jags’ ineptitude; the Patriots rolling up 334 yards against a very porous Eagles defense said as much about Philly as it did about New England.

That said, the Dolphins, and the rest of the AFC East hoped that with the massive loss of talent at wide receiver and tight end, the Patriots might be vulnerable to finally get knocked off their perch atop the division.

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After one preseason game, granted it’s preseason, it looks like the Fins, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets still have plenty of work to do if they want to unseat the Patriots atop the division.