Patriots

Patriots' streak of 11 consecutive playoff appearances ends in loss to Dolphins

Patriots

One of the most remarkable runs in NFL history came to an end Sunday.

The New England Patriots will not be going to the playoffs after losing 22-12 to the Miami Dolphins in their Week 15 matchup at Hard Rock Stadium. The defeat officially eliminated the Pats from playoff contention in the AFC, ending a streak of 11 consecutive postseason appearances for New England. That streak is an NFL record. 

The Patriots once again struggled offensively. They only managed 12 points on four field goals and have now failed to score a touchdown in back-to-back games. 

The Dolphins rushing attack dominated with 244 yards and two touchdowns. Miami running back Salvon Ahmed led the way with 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Here's how the Patriots' loss over the Dolphins unfolded.

FINAL SCORE: Dolphins 22, Patriots 12

PATRIOTS RECORD: 6-8

HIGHLIGHTS

--The Patriots and Dolphins went into the second quarter scoreless after New England cornerback J.C. Jackson intercepted Miami rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the end zone to end the first quarter. It was Jackson's eighth interception of the season, one behind Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard for the league lead.

--The Dolphins nearly scored the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter when Howard picked up a Cam Newton fumble and ran it back 86 yards for a touchdown. However, upon replay review, the football was returned to New England when it was ruled that a Miami player touched the ball along the sideline with a foot out of bounds. The Patriots kicked a field goal on the next play. 

 

--Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore suffered an apparent right knee injury late in the second quarter and did not return. It was a non-contact injury. 

--All of New England's first-half points came on Nick Folk field goals. The veteran kicker converted on attempts from 45 and 36 yards out in the second quarter.

--The Dolphins finally reached the end zone on their opening drive of the third quarter. Miami drove 72 yards in nine plays, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by Dolphins running back Salvon Ahmed. The Dolphins took a 7-6 lead as a result.

--Miami forced a turnover on New England's first possession of the second half. Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers caught a pass but lost control of the football when Howard came in and jarred it loose. The Dolphins recovered in Patriots territory at the 47-yard line. Miami's 20 consecutive games with a takeaway is the longest active streak in the league. 

--The Patriots went back ahead 9-7 on a 45-yard field goal by Folk with 4:23 remaining in the third quarter. New England went 65 yards in eight plays but the drive stalled at the Miami 27-yard line. 

--The Dolphins regained the lead with a 14-play, 90-yard drive that ended with a Tagovailoa touchdown run from three yards out. 

Ahmed scored on the 2-point conversion attempt to increase Miami's lead to 15-9 with 12:55 left in the fourth quarter.

--Where would the Patriots be without Folk? New England again marched into Miami territory but couldn't quite get into the red zone. The Pats were forced to settle for a 42-yard field goal, which Folk hit to trim the Dolphins' lead to 15-12 with 9:07 remaining in regulation.

--The Dolphins went up by 10 points when Tagovailoa scored his second rushing touchdown of the day. The rookie QB followed his offensive line into the end zone from one yard out to put Miami up 22-12 with 3:17 on the clock.