Henne throws TD, is intercepted twice by Ninkovich, and Dolphins lead New England 7-6 at half

By Tim Reynolds, AP
Monday, October 4, 2010

Henne has TD, Dolphins lead Patriots 7-6 at half

MIAMI — Rob Ninkovich had the first two interceptions of his career against his former Miami teammates, yet the Dolphins still led the New England Patriots 7-6 at halftime Monday night.

Chad Henne threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Davone Bess on Miami’s second drive of the game and was 11 of 15 for 124 yards in the half. But Ninkovich, who appeared in five games for Miami in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, intercepted Henne twice — the first near midfield late in the first quarter, then at the New England 27 late in the half.

New England got field goals from Stephen Gostkowski after both Miami turnovers, first a 23-yarder, then from 30 yards on the final play of the half.

The Dolphins outgained New England 169-148 in the opening two quarters.

Henne and Tom Brady combined for 25 completions in the opening two quarters — and strangely, none went to the Dolphins’ Brandon Marshall or New England’s Randy Moss.

Henne’s fourth touchdown pass of the season came on a third-and-8 with 5:48 left in the opening quarter, with Bess getting around the right corner and just inside the sideline into the end zone.

Monday night’s winner will be tied with the New York Jets atop the AFC East at 3-1. Both Miami and New England have byes next weekend.

Brady would be forgiven if he doesn’t spend his weekend off around South Beach.

Coming to Miami has never been an easy thing for the Patriots quarterback, who brought a 3-5 record from his past visits into Monday night’s matchup. Brady has thrown for 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the Dolphins’ home field, yet has two more losses there than he does as a visitor to New England’s two other AFC East rivals, the Jets (7-2) and Buffalo (7-1), combined.

And the first series Monday night did nothing to suggest this trip would be easy for Brady, either.

The Patriots avoided a huge blunder with 10:56 left in the opening quarter, when Wes Welker called for a fair catch at the New England 11 and ended up muffing Brandon Fields’ punt. Welker recovered the ball amid a swarm of Dolphins, but the Patriots managed only six yards on the way to a three-and-out on their first possession.

Brady went 0 for 2 on the opening drive, getting hit hard on the third-down attempt toward Welker.

Brady had the Patriots moving after the Dolphins’ first touchdown, but what would have been a 36-yard gain to tight end Aaron Hernandez — to the Miami 26 — was erased by Matt Light’s holding penalty with just under 5 minutes left in the quarter, and the Pats ended up punting again.

For the half, Brady was 14 of 18 for 99 yards. The Patriots held the ball for over 9 minutes on the drive following Ninkovich’s first interception, yet came away with just a field goal.

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