MIAMI – The New England Patriots had another big night, and this time the NFL’s highest-scoring team totaled most of its points with Tom Brady and the rest of the offense cheering from the sideline.
Patrick Chung blocked two kicks and returned an interception for a touchdown, and New England scored twice on special teams in beating the Miami Dolphins 41-14 on Monday night.
Brady threw for only 153 yards, and Randy Moss was held without a catch for the first time since 2006, but the Patriots still registered their biggest point total this season. They’re averaging 33 points per game.
New England trailed 7-6 at halftime, but when Brandon Tate returned the second half kickoff 103 yards for a score, the deluge was on before a stunned crowd. In the fourth quarter, the stadium quickly emptied.
“Where’s everyone going? ‘The party’ is just getting started at Sun Life Stadium,” the Patriots posted on their Twitter feed.
“We had a tidal wave hit us,” Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. “It was a mess. Embarrassing. These fans deserve better than this.”
New England (3-1) moved into a tie with the New York Jets for first place in the AFC East, while the Dolphins (2-2) dropped to third place with their second divisional loss at home in eight days.
Chung blocked a punt to set up a touchdown, then blocked a field goal that Kyle Arrington returned 35 yards for a score.
“We practiced everything that happened – all of those blocks, and people doing their job allowed me to make a play,” Chung said.
He returned an interception 51 yards for New England’s final score.
Another unexpected contribution came from linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who had the first two interceptions of his five-year career. Chung and Arrington scored their first career TDs, and Patriots reserve fullback Danny Woodhead scored on an 11-yard reception.
The Patriots totaled 17 points in a span of 2:16 bridging halftime to take command.
Miami’s Chad Henne was 29 of 39 for 302 yards and two scores, but was yanked with 61/2 minutes left after tying a career high with his third interception.
Henne blamed his first turnover on a forced pass, the second on inaccuracy and the last on a miscommunication.
“Overall, it’s my fault,” he said. “I’ll take that one as a quarterback. I’ll put that on my shoulders.”
The pass picked off by Chung was especially ugly.
“It shocked me,” Chung said. “I was like, ‘He threw it? Thanks.’ ”
Tyler Thigpen finished up and threw the Dolphins’ fourth interception.
The Dolphins lost even though they netted 400 yards and had 23 first downs. Ninkovich’s picks set up two field goals, and New England held Ronnie Brown to 27 yards rushing.