Best and Worst: Dolphins 34, Patriots 33
Here's the best and worst of a wild shootout between the Patriots and Dolphins that ended with the one of the craziest plays in NFL history: A 69-yard pass-and-lateral that ended with Kenyan Drake racing in for the TD that handed the Pats a crushing defeat.
WHICH WAY DID HE GO?
Ryan Tannehill showed some sleight of hand on a first-quarter bootleg where he tucked it into Frank Gore’s belly and then went around left end undetected until he’d picked up 13.
A would-be pick-six slid through Stephon Gilmore’s hands on the second drive of the game.
ROYAL ALBERT HAUL
Albert McClellan, recently signed to help out on special teams, did just that with two blocked punts in the first half. The first led to a touchdown. The second should have.
RETURN TO EDELMAN
Julian Edelman scored a touchdown on a nifty return route that was reminiscent of his game-winning touchdown in the 2014 Super Bowl.
YEAH, HE JUST DOESN’T HAVE IT
Tom Brady threw successive ropes to Julian Edelman on a third-and-10 (16-yard gain) and Cordarelle Patterson (37-yard touchdown) that should signal what we’ve said often this season. Arm strength isn’t an issue.
LOWER BODY BEATING
Rob Gronkowski took three hard shots to the thighs after receptions and another to the back to get the Patriots inside the Miami 5 in the first half. He finished the first half with five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.
The Dolphins got the ball at their own 25 with 3:49 left in the half. The Patriots had three timeouts in their pocket. New England forced a three-and-out but did nothing to slow the drain of the clock as it ticked down to the two-minute warning. If the Patriots were saving their stoppages until after the two-minute warning, that made sense. Instead, the Patriots wasted time and did nothing to stop the clock after taking at their own 20. They punted back to Miami with one minute left.
MORE TIME TRIALS
So Miami – after a sack – is facing second-and-21 and the Patriots finally stop the clock with 46 seconds left. They get Miami into fourth-and-29 then block the punt and take over first-and-10 at the Dolphins 15 with 30 seconds left. A dart to Gronk put them at the Miami 2 with 21 seconds left. Brady then overshot an open Chris Hogan and took a sack on third down and got no points.
MISSING IN BUNCHES
After missing a 48-yard field goal last week to snap a hot streak, Stephen Gostkowski missed both an extra point and a field goal in the first three quarters.
But in spite of all that, it was Gostkowski's 32-yard field goal with 6:50 to play that put the Pats ahead. He'd add another in the closing seconds for good measure, putting the Patriots ahead 33-28 and seemingly clinching the victory that would have given them their 10th straight AFC East championship and 16th title in 18 years.
AND THEN . . .
A play that will be remembered forever: With seven seconds left from the Miami 31, a desperation, last-gasp throw over to the middle to . . .well, lets STATS describe it:
(0:07) Ryan Tannehill pass to the right to Kenny Stills for 14 yards to the Mia45. Lateral to DeVante Parker to DeVante Parker. Lateral to Kenyan Drake to Kenyan Drake for a TOUCHDOWN
Doesn't make sense? Neither did the play. It prevented the Pats, at least temporarily, from clinching the division. And it probably ended their chances of gaining the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, too, thanks to Kansas City's great escape against Baltimore. (Chiefs now lead by two games with three to play.) At least Houston lost, which enables New England to hold onto the second seed (for now).