FOXBOROUGH — It was a beautiful fall-like day, but that didn’t stop things from getting heated in the waning moments of the Patriots' 21-11 win over the Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.
A minor kerfuffle broke out when it appeared at least one Miami player tried to rip one of Cam Newton’s gold chains off as the final whistle sounded.
Former Patriot captain turned Dolphins captain Elandon Roberts was particularly agitated and he had to be talked down by Jason McCourty before he finally headed toward his tunnel.
“They were reaching for my chain,” said Newton, smiling as he checked his inventory during a postgame video call to confirm he still had both his chains. “I think that kind of got up under my skin, but throughout it all, man, listen, I don’t want nothing taken away from a great team game that we did have. And I don’t want to be selfish and kind of focus on that.”
Newton said “tempers can flare” because it was a “competitive game on both sides” and he understands that’s what happens in football.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about respect,”' he said. “I don’t disrespect nobody and I wouldn’t want anybody to disrespect me.”
Long after everything had settled down, Patriots left tackle Joe Thuney and Dolphins center Ted Karras were the final two players on the field as the two former teammates and study buddies caught up.
Newton was seen clutching at his hamstring a few times during the game but did sprint to the locker room after the game.
“I feel great,” he said.
The Patriots received a number or contributions from their rookie class, including undrafted back J.J. Taylor, who rushed for 28 yards on four carries and caught a 4-yard pass.
Taylor’s size (5 feet 6 inches, 185 pounds) and speed make him a tough guy for defenses to land a clean blow on. He shined during camp and carried it over into his professional debut.
Safety Kyle Dugger and linebacker Anfernee Jennings each got into the defensive rotation, with Jennings making a nice goal-line hit on Jordan Howard in the fourth quarter.
Offensive linemen Mike Onwenu and Justin Herron served as jumbo tight ends in several smashmouth situations and helped push the pile.
Stidham among inactives
Jarrett Stidham was a surprise as one of the Patriots inactives. The quarterback suffered a minor lower-body injury early in training camp and it effectively took him out of the running for the starting spot. Stidham, in his second year, was limited in camp for about a week but was not on the injury report this week.
The decision left Brian Hoyer as Cam Newton’s backup at least for Week 1.
Another surprise scratch for the Patriots was rookie linebacker Josh Uche, who saw a significant amount of snaps in camp and was used in a variety of roles. Uche was not on the injury report.
New England’s other inactives included tight end Dalton Keene (neck), linebacker Cassh Maluia (knee), and offensive tackle Korey Cunningham.
For the Dolphins, receivers Malcolm Perry and Lynn Bowden Jr., guard Adam Pankey, defensive end Jason Strowbridge, and safety Clayton Fejedelem were inactive.
With the win, the Patriots became the first original AFL franchise to reach 550 victories … Julian Edelman became the second Patriot with 600 receptions. He has 604 and trails only Wes Welker (672) … New England improved to 100-1 when leading at halftime at Gillette Stadium … It was the 13th time in franchise history that a quarterback has run for two touchdowns. The last to do it was Tom Brady against the Giants last October … There was an Iron Bowl summit before the game with Stidham (Auburn) chatting with Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) and Dolphins fullback Chandler Cox (Auburn) … Stidham, who was inactive for the game, was a busy man before it. He threw warmup tosses to Edelman (that duty was handled by a staffer in previous years) and he also caught up with Karras …. Roberts tapped his chest as a salute to his former teammates as he jogged by during New England’s stretching period.
More coverage from the game:
- Stephon Gilmore, Patriots secondary pick right up where they left off
- Tara Sullivan: Cam Newton steps up and steps in, and a new era begins in Foxborough
- Cam Newton made his own noise in a smashing debut for Patriots
- Chad Finn: Now that reality has set in, watching Cam Newton on the Patriots will be a lot of fun — and other thoughts
- Cam Newton rushed for more yards in one game than Tom Brady did in two regular seasons combined
- Instant analysis: Patriots win, and Josh McDaniels hasn’t unleashed the full Cam Newton experience yet