Comeback bid falls short, Pats lose Miami 24-20
When Tom Brady’s day ended with an errant final pass, he hung
his head, unsnapped his chin strap and looked up at the scoreboard,
which summarized his frustrating afternoon.
Dolphins 24, Patriots 20.
A late drive and the Patriots’ latest comeback bid came up short
Sunday, and they missed a chance to clinch their fifth consecutive
AFC East title.
Brady was intercepted in the end zone on fourth down with 2
seconds left by Dolphins newcomer Michael Thomas. That was the last
in a series of squandered scoring chances for the Patriots (10-4),
and a miffed Brady answered only two questions at his postgame news
conference before ending the session.
”We didn’t do a good job in the red area, and didn’t do a good
job finishing drives,” he said. ”We came up on the short end of
the stick. It wasn’t a good day. Just couldn’t make enough
The Dolphins (8-6) won their third game in a row to help their
AFC wild-card chances, and snapped a streak of seven consecutive
losses to the Patriots.
”We were short in every area,” New England coach Bill
Belichick said. ”Nothing was really good enough.”
Brady threw for 364 yards, but drives of 16, 15 and 13 plays
produced a total of only six points.
The last drive came in the final 1:15, when Brady led the
Patriots from their own 20 to the Miami 14. It was familiar stuff
from the Patriots, who had mounted second-half rallies to win their
past three games.
With New England out of timeouts, 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
Then, Thomas stepped in front of Austin Collie to make his
interception. The reserve safety, signed Tuesday off the San
Francisco 49ers’ practice squad, was making his NFL debut.
”I knew being the new guy that Tom Brady would come after me,”
Thomas said. ”He’s a great quarterback, and he’s going to exploit
any weaknesses. I knew if I got in there, I would have a chance. I
saw the ball in the air and I made a play.”
Thomas was part of an injury-depleted secondary that also
included backups at both cornerback spots on the final drive.
Brady went 34 for 55 and threw two scores. Julian Edelman made
13 catches for 139 yards, and Amendola added 10 receptions for 131
New England took a 20-17 lead when 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 40.
Charles Clay kept the drive going when he turned a short pass
into a 6-yard gain on fourth-and-5 at midfield, and Thigpen scored
five plays later.
”They were in some tight situations, especially late in the
game,” Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington said. ”They just wanted
New England, accustomed to slow starts, took a 10-0 lead on
Michael Hoomanawanui’s one-handed, 13-yard touchdown reception. But
on other trips to the red zone, they missed tight end Rob
Gronkowski, who suffered a season-ending knee injury a week
The Patriots mounted drives of 16 and 15 plays but settled for a
field goal each time, and Gostkowski misfired on a field-goal try
for only the third time this year when he sailed a 48-yard attempt
”Today just wasn’t my day,” Gostkowski said. ”It stinks to
play terrible and your team loses. It’s like salt on the
Notes: Patriots T Nate Solder aggravated a head injury in the
second half and sat out rest of game. … Dolphins DT Paul Soliai
sat out the last three quarters with an ankle injury. CB Nolan
Carroll (knee) was limited in the second half, and CB Brent Grimes
(cramps) went to the sideline in the fourth quarter. … The
Dolphins botched a field-goal try when John Denney snapped the ball
before holder Brandon Fields was ready, and the ball hit Fields in
the facemask. … Miami’s seven home games have been decided by a
total of 23 points.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and
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