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Patriots move to 8-8, keep playoff hopes alive with 23-21 win over Dolphins

Mike Florio and Chris Simms break down a crucial matchup between AFC East rivals Miami and New England, and wonder whether the Patriots will be able to bounce back vs. Teddy Bridgewater and the struggling Dolphins.

The Dolphins were 8-3 and humming along toward their first playoff berth since 2016. Now, they are 8-8, down to their third quarterback and no longer in control of their playoff destiny.

The Patriots do control their playoff fate with the 23-21 victory over the Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. New England is 8-8 after ending a two-game losing streak and needs a win over the Bills next week to clinch a wild-card berth.

The Patriots trailed 14-7 at halftime and 14-10 late in the third quarter before disaster struck the Dolphins. Kyle Dugger picked Teddy Bridgewater and returned it 39 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

Adding injury to insult for Bridgewater and the Dolphins, the quarterback hit his hand on Josh Uche’s helmet on the follow through and then was unable to make the tackle of Dugger before the goal line. Bridgewater left with an injury to his right finger on his throwing hand and did not return.

Skylar Thompson replaced him.

The Patriots iced it with Mac Jones’ 1-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers with 4:37 remaining, though it did come down to an onside kick after the Dolphins scored on Mike Gesicki’s 4-yard reception from Thompson with 1:04 left.

Jones finished 20-of-33 for 203 yards and two touchdowns.

The Dolphins quarterbacks combined to go 24-of-40 for 265 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Miami outgained New England 333 to 249.