MIAMI GARDENS (AP) — Knowshon Moreno had another huge game against New England.
This time, he got a win as well.
Moreno rushed for 134 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown that essentially sealed the outcome, Ryan Tannehill threw for two scores and the Miami Dolphins overpowered New England after halftime on the way to a 33-20 win over the Patriots on Sunday.
“The first step in a long journey,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said.
Moreno now has 358 yards on the ground in his last two regular-season games against New England, the first of those being a 224-yard effort in Denver’s loss at the Patriots last season.
That one, Moreno said he barely remembered. This one, he’ll surely savor.
So will the Dolphins, who put together 23 unanswered points in the second half to become the first team since 2003 to beat New England in a season-opener. And for the first time since Week 3 of the 2012 season, the Patriots will end a weekend without at least a share of the AFC East lead.
Tom Brady threw a scoring pass to Rob Gronkowski, and Shane Vereen had a rushing touchdown for New England. Brady finished 29 of 56 passing for 249 yards.
Tannehill completed 18 of 32 passes for 178 yards.
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“They just played better,” Gronkowski said. “They’ve got a good team. They’ve got a good defense.”
The Patriots had a 10-point lead at the half, which usually means a Patriot win. New England had prevailed in 16 of its last 17 games where it held a double-digit edge at intermission.
But on Sunday, an 89-degree day that felt like 99 degrees when factoring in the humidity, New England wilted.
Tannehill connected with Mike Wallace for a 14-yard score midway through the third quarter to tie the game, Caleb Sturgis added one of his four field goals on the day later in the third to put the Dolphins on top, and then Miami sealed it in the fourth quarter.
Helped by a roughing-the-passer penalty early in the drive and a pair of third-down completions by Tannehill as it went along, the Dolphins went 85 yards in about 6 minutes to put the game away. Moreno barged in from the 4 with 3:36 remaining to push the lead to 30-20, and the outcome was mostly academic from there.
“Once he has the ball in his hands,” Tannehill said, “he’s going downhill.”
The Dolphins blocked a punt on the game’s first possession, then took advantage of the short field with Tannehill connecting with Miller for a 4-yard touchdown. It marked the first time since 1992 — when a couple of guys named Dan Marino and Mark Duper hooked up for the honors — that Miami’s initial offensive sequence of a season ended with a passing touchdown.
The Patriots answered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive to tie the game on Vereen’s 2-yard run. And with the Dolphins, went into implosion mode, with turnovers on three consecutive possessions that New England turned into a total of 10 points.
Wallace fumbled away a catch, Tannehill was intercepted trying to find Wallace with a deep ball, setting up a possession where Brady found Gronkowski for a score. And that was followed by Miami’s Lamar Miller — on a run where he would have gotten a first down — getting flipped over on a play where both one of his shoes and the football went flying.
It was 20-10 at the half, New England outgaining the Dolphins 248-138 to that point. And then everything changed.
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