Final

Patriots 48

(7-4, 3-2 away)

Dolphins 28

(6-5, 4-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, November 23, 2008

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 3 14 14 1748
MIA 7 7 7 728

Top Performers

Passing: M. Cassel (NE) - 415 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: K. Faulk (NE) - 8 CAR, 53 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: R. Moss (NE) - 8 REC, 125 YDS, 3 TD

Cassel throws for 415 yards, Moss has three TDs in Pats' win

Associated Press

MIAMI -- The standards are awfully high for the New England Patriots, who were annoyed Sunday by a handful of penalties, a couple of turnovers and the necessity to punt once.

By the way, they beat the Miami Dolphins 48-28.

"At times we sputtered," receiver Randy Moss said with a straight face. "We've got a little work to do."

Fast Facts

• The Patriots' Matt Cassel threw for 415 yards to become the fifth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw for 400-plus yards in consecutive games (first since Billy Volek in 2004).

• The Patriots also recorded consecutive 500-plus yard games of total offense for the first time since the merger (1970) as they totaled 530 yards (they had 511 vs. the Jets last week).

• New England's Randy Moss recorded his seventh career three-touchdown game (first since scoring four at Buffalo in Week 11 last season) while catching eight passes for 125 yards.

• In his two career games at the Dolphins, Moss has 247 receiving yards and five TDs.

-- ESPN research

• Rapid Reaction

There actually were some rocky moments: Three times the Patriots lost the lead, and three times they took it back. Matt Cassel threw for 415 yards, Moss caught three touchdown passes and resilient New England pulled away in the fourth quarter against the feisty but outgunned Dolphins.

The Patriots (7-4), who remained a game behind the AFC East-leading New York Jets, avenged an upset loss to Miami in September. New England hasn't been swept in a season series by a division opponent since 2000.

"Every game is important," coach Bill Belichick said. "It was a division game, and they got us the first time. At least we squared it up with them."

For the Dolphins (6-5), the loss snapped a four-game winning streak and hurt their chances of an improbable playoff berth after going 1-15 last year. They unraveled as the game slipped away, drawing three late personal-foul penalties, and defensive linemen Vonnie Holliday and Jason Ferguson apologized for the emotional lapses of teammates.

"We didn't show much class at the end," Holliday said. "What's so disappointing about this loss is not only were we beaten, but the way we handled the loss, especially at the end."

They couldn't keep up with Cassel, who had his second consecutive 400-yard day, doubling Tom Brady's career total. Working mostly from the shotgun, Cassel completed 30 of 43 passes, including touchdowns of 25, 8 and 29 to Moss, and ran for a score.

The Patriots netted 530 yards. Their only higher total was 597 against the Jets in 1979. They've gained 1,041 yards in the past two games.

"The production is starting to come around," Cassel said. "When it all works together and works right, it's easy for me."

Moss was impressed by Brady's backup.

"Matt is getting in the comfort zone," Moss said. "He's playing some hellified ball."

Moss gained 125 yards on eight catches, several of the circus variety. It was his best day since an injury ended Brady's season in September, and he took advantage of frequent single coverage by the Dolphins.

"Anytime I feel disrespected, I want to go out there and make it happen," Moss said.

The Patriots needed the big showing on offense, because they had trouble stopping Chad Pennington, who threw for a career-high 341 yards and three touchdowns. The result was an offensive display reminiscent of the Dan Marino era, with the teams swapping scores until New England pulled away in the last 16 minutes.

New England Patriots Miami Dolphins

NFL.com Video

Watch highlights from the New England Patriots 48-28 win over the Miami Dolphins.

The sixth and final lead change came on Moss' 8-yard touchdown catch to put the Patriots up 24-21. After they forced a punt, Wes Welker took a short pass and hugged the sideline for a 64-yard gain -- the longest of his career -- to set up a 21-yard touchdown run by Kevin Faulk on the final play of the third quarter.

That made it 31-21.

The Dolphins weren't finished -- they drove 69 yards and scored on Ricky Williams' 13-yard reception. But Moss answered with a 29-yard touchdown reception, and Brandon Meriweather's interception sealed the outcome.

Then it got ugly: Miami linebacker Channing Crowder and New England tackle Matt Light were ejected midway through the fourth quarter. Crowder lost his helmet when blocked by Light on a field-goal attempt and shoved Light, who responded by taking several swings at Crowder's head.

"It looked like a lack of poise," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "We did the things that young, immature teams do."

With less than three minutes left, Miami's Joey Porter was penalized for a personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct.

New England bounced back from an overtime loss to the Jets on Nov. 13. Since the start of the 2003 season, the Patriots are 17-1 in games following a loss.

While their extensive use of the spread offense surprised Miami, the Dolphins' Wildcat formation was shut out after producing four touchdowns in six plays when they won at Foxborough in September. This time the Dolphins snapped directly to running back Ronnie Brown eight times, and the plays netted 25 yards.

"Having some time to prepare for it definitely helped," Belichick said.

Game notes


Dolphins WR Greg Camarillo left the game in the second half with a knee injury and did not return. T Jake Long left with an ankle injury but did return. ... Cassel is the fifth NFL quarterback to throw for 400 yards in consecutive games. The others: Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Phil Simms and Billy Volek. ... Moss moved into third place on the NFL career list with 132 touchdown catches. ... New England's 530 yards were the most allowed by Miami since Dec. 30, 1995.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
New England
Miami
1st Downs3023
3rd down efficiency
3-86-12
4th down efficiency
2-20-1
Total Yards530396
Yards per play7.66.4
Total Drives33
Passing408330
Comp-Att
30-4324-41
Yards per pass
9.58.0
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-73-15
Rushing12266
Rushing Attempts
2518
Yards per rush
4.93.7
Penalties6-388-60
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
11
Possession33:1026:50

Passing Leaders

NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cassel30/434159.7312-7
MIAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Pennington24/413418.3313-15

Rushing Leaders

NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Faulk8536.6121
Morris8354.409
MIACARYDSAVGTDLG
Brown10373.709
Williams6213.5013

Receiving Leaders

NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Moss812515.6329
Welker812015.0064
MIARECYDSAVGTDLG
Ginn Jr.58817.6046
Bess58717.4036

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEMIA
FG10:08Stephen Gostkowski 30 Yd 30
TD05:23Greg Camarillo 3 Yd Pass From Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter Kick) 37
SECOND QUARTERNEMIA
TD14:54Matt Cassel 8 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 107
TD05:05Chad Pennington 7 Yd Run (Dan Carpenter Kick) 1014
TD02:14Randy Moss 25 Yd Pass From Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 1714
THIRD QUARTERNEMIA
TD11:28Casey Cramer 2 Yd Pass From Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter Kick) 1721
TD06:12Randy Moss 8 Yd Pass From Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 2421
TD00:00Kevin Faulk 21 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 3121
FOURTH QUARTERNEMIA
TD13:11Ricky Williams 13 Yd Pass From Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter Kick) 3128
TD08:52Randy Moss 29 Yd Pass From Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 3828
FG07:08Stephen Gostkowski 30 Yd 4128
TD00:37BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 4828