5 things to know from Dolphins’ win over Patriots
Joe Philbin cracked a joke, which was just the latest surprise
from the Miami Dolphins.
Their season seemed derailed in November by a bullying scandal,
but Miami moved into the lead for the AFC’s final wild-card berth
Sunday by beating AFC East leader New England 24-20.
Dolphins newcomer Michael Wilson intercepted Tom Brady in the
end zone on fourth down with 2 seconds left to seal the victory,
the third in a row for Miami (8-6). The seesaw win left even stoic
second-year coach Philbin in a mood to celebrate.
”I might jump in my pool,” he said. ”I’ve been in it once
since I’ve been here.”
The Dolphins snapped a streak of seven consecutive losses to the
Patriots (10-4), who missed a chance to clinch their fifth
consecutive AFC East title. Here are five things we learned from
STYMIED COMEBACK: The Patriots had mounted second-half rallies
to win their past three games, and were on the verge of doing it
again when Brady led them from their own 20 with 1:15 remaining to
the Miami 14.
”I think it took about two years off my life,” said Miami
receiver Mike Wallace, who squirmed as he watched Brady from the
sideline. ”With that guy over there, you have to be nervous.”
New England was out of timeouts when Brady threw for the end
zone four times in a row. The first three passes went incomplete,
including one intended for Danny Amendola that Thomas broke up on
first down. Then Thomas stepped in front of Austin Collie to make
Brady threw for 364 yards but was frustrated by a succession of
squandered scoring chances. He answered only two questions at his
postgame news conference and cut the session short after saying,
”We had plenty of chances all day. We made some good plays, and we
made some (lousy) plays. Thank you.”
THE HERO WAS WHO?: Thomas, a reserve safety, made his NFL debut
after being signed last week off the San Francisco 49ers’ practice
squad. He celebrated his interception by flopping to his back and
was swarmed by his new teammates.
”I didn’t know what his first name was,” defensive tackle
Jared Odrick said. ”That’s being thrown in the fire and reacting.
That’s a pure athlete.”
Thomas was part of an injury-depleted secondary that also
included backups at both cornerback spots on the final drive.
TERRIFIC TANNEHILL: Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill shook off
four sacks to throw for 312 yards and three scores with no
turnovers. His passer rating was a season-high 120.6, compared with
Tannehill has led Miami to a 5-2 record since tackle Jonathan
Martin left the team in a bullying scandal that drew national
”We’ve grown a lot,” Tannehill said. ”Each of us has gotten
stronger through the adversity we’ve faced off the field and on the
WINNING DRIVE: New England took a 20-17 lead when Justin Edelman
scored on a 24-yard reception with four minutes left, but the
Dolphins caught a break when the ensuing kickoff by Stephen
Gostkowski went out of bounds, allowing them to start at their
Charles Clay kept Miami’s chances alive when he turned a short
pass into a 6-yard gain on fourth-and-5 at midfield, and five plays
later Marcus Thigpen put the Dolphins ahead to stay with a 14-yard
”They were in some tight situations, especially late in the
game,” New England cornerback Kyle Arrington said. ”They just
wanted it more.”
WHAT’S NEXT: The victory gave Miami a half-game lead over
Baltimore in the race for the sixth and final AFC playoff berth.
The Ravens play at Detroit on Monday night, then play host to New
England on Sunday.
The Dolphins will end their streak of four consecutive losing
seasons. They conclude the regular season with games at Buffalo and
at home against the New York Jets.
”We have a good thing going right now,” Wallace said. ”We
have to keep going. People were ready to bury us a few weeks ago
and throw us under the dirt.”
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