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Sports

October 26, 2013

Dolphins, Patriots meet, hoping to end slumps

(Continued)

He came through two weeks ago in a 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with 5 seconds left.

Miami coach Joe Philbin isn’t swayed by Brady’s subpar statistics.

“I’m not buying any of that,” he said. “This guy is one of the best ever.”

Five things to look for when the Dolphins visit the Patriots:

HOT AT HOME: The Patriots’ 3-0 home record continues a long tradition. Since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002, they are 76-15 there and 29-5 in the AFC East in the regular season, winning the last 13. They also lead the NFL in points scored and point differential at home in that span.

“There are definitely tough venues, and usually a tough venue is made by a tough team,” Tannehill said. “Of course, the fans, the elements are a part of a venue.”

TANNEHILL NEEDS PROTECTION: The second-year quarterback has been sacked an NFL-high 26 times. So the Dolphins obtained tackle Bryant McKinnie from the Baltimore Ravens last Monday, although he may not play Sunday. He lost his starting job two weeks ago, but Miami needs help at right tackle, where Tyson Clabo has allowed seven sacks, including two in the fourth quarter in the loss to Buffalo.

“We’re certainly not opposed to looking at any combination” of offensive linemen, Philbin said. “The goal would be to get the five best guys who give us the best chance to win against the New England Patriots ready to play Sunday at 1 p.m.”

HOBBLING PATRIOTS: Tight end Rob Gronkowski had eight catches against the Jets in his return from offseason forearm and back surgeries, but the Patriots are dealing with injuries to other key players. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo are on season-ending injured reserve, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly has a knee injury, and cornerback Aqib Talib has a hip injury.

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