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Tom Brady's 4 TDs power New England Patriots past Miami Dolphins

By
Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) after a 47-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on October 29, 2015. Photo by Matthew Healey/ UPI
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) after a 47-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on October 29, 2015. Photo by Matthew Healey/ UPI | License Photo

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Miami Dolphins came to New England with two loud wins under an interim coach and feeling all kinds of good about themselves.

They left early Friday morning having been slapped in the face with a dose of unkind reality.

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After beating up the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans, the Dolphins were smacked around by the undefeated New England Patriots on Thursday, losing 36-7 in the latest reminder that quarterback Tom Brady and his buddies are on a mission.

"We're only seven games through, so we've still got a lot of work to do," Brady said.

They did plenty of work in this game.

Brady, continuing what looks like a season of revenge against anyone in his way after his Deflategate ordeal, threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns for his team's second AFC East win in five days. He completed 26 of 38 passes and didn't throw an interception.

Running back Dion Lewis returned from injury with a strong game as the Patriots cruised to their seventh consecutive victory.

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"I think this whole team knows that each week we gotta get better," said safety Devin McCourty, who had one of the five sacks of Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

New England's Stephen Gostkowski kicked two field goals in as many tries, one a 52-yarder. He has made 26 straight in the regular season, breaking Adam Vinatieri's team record of 25.

The Patriots scored in each quarter for the sixth straight game. After failing to score in the first quarter of the season, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the defending Super Bowl champions have scored in 27 consecutive quarters.

Brady, 9-0 on Thursday night, threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Julian Edelman and one each to tight end Rob Gronkowski and Lewis. The quarterback recorded his 69th 300-yard game, which ranks third all time, and his 24th game with four TDs or more, which also ranks third.

It was his 19th career game with at least four TDs and no interceptions, an NFL record. He has 20 touchdown passes this season, and his only interception went in and out of Edelman's hands.

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Lewis, who didn't play Sunday because of an abdominal injury, ran for only 19 yards on five carries Thursday, but he caught six passes for 93 yards.

Gronkowski caught a 47-yard catch and run for the first score of the game and later added a 30-yard grab. He finished with six catches for 113 yards, his 19th career game with at least 100 yards, tying him with Shannon Sharpe for sixth place all time among tight ends.

The loss brought the Dolphins crashing back to Earth after Miami scored 82 points and won its first two games under interim coach Dan Campbell.

"You have to play good football in all three phases when you play the New England Patriots," Campbell said. "They've always been that way. You can't have mistakes, or if you do, you can't have many of them. They have to be far less than (against) most teams you play. We didn't do that. We didn't make enough plays. Had a couple of turnovers, which doesn't help."

Tannehill, coming off a career game and a two-game stretch that saw him complete an NFL-record 25 consecutive passes, wasn't playing against the Tennessee Titans or the Houston Texans on Thursday night.

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Tannehill, who wasn't looking when he was hit with a shotgun snap that led to a safety, finished 28 of 44 for 300 yards and two interceptions. The Dolphins finished 2-for-11 on third downs and netted just 15 rushing yards for the game.

The Patriots led 19-0 at the half, and New England running back Lamar Miller scored from a yard out to cap an 80-yard drive that opened the second half.

New England running back LeGarrette Blount bulled his way to 72 yards on 17 carries.

To add insult to injury, the Dolphins (3-4) lost star defensive end Cameron Wake (Achilles) and offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James (toe). Wake was helped off the field and then taken by cart to the locker room. No details were available after the game.

NOTES: The Patriots' first-quarter safety was the club's first since Oct. 21, 2012. ... Patriots G Shaq Mason missed his second consecutive game with a knee injury, while G Tre' Jackson also sustained a knee injury late in the game. ... Miami LB Chris McCain, who said he wanted to "crush" Patriots QB Tom Brady's head when the teams got together, was inactive for the game. ... Dolphins CB Brice McCain, listed as questionable, did not dress. ... Willie McGinest, a new member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and in town working for the NFL Network, was honored at halftime. ... The Dolphins are at Buffalo and the Patriots host the Washington Redskins when the teams resume play Nov. 8.

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