The Miami Dolphins shocked the New England Patriots with a game-winning touchdown and stole their first-round bye this past Sunday in Foxborough. The touchdown came at the hands of tight end, Mike Gesicki, with 29 seconds remaining in the game, giving Miami the 27-24 advantage. It’s the first time since 2008 that the Dolphins have won a game in New England.
The Rebuild is Working – a Statement from Chris Grier
“I think from day one, we talked about Brian (Flores) coming in and creating the culture and setting the expectations for the organization and for us. I think we’re very excited about the future,” Miami’s General Manager Chris Grier said. “I think (Sunday) was a culmination of the guys’ work throughout the season. They improved each week, got better and better, and so I’m excited for the future.”
New England forced to No. 3 in AFC Playoffs
The upset knocks the Patriots to 12-4 for the season and from the number two seed to the number three seed in the AFC bracket of the NFL playoffs. This forces them to match up with the sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans during Wild Card Weekend this upcoming weekend. For the first time since 2010, the Patriots have had to settle for less than a first round bye, during their run of making the playoffs every year since 2009. New England has not won a Super Bowl under head coach Bill Belichick when having to play in the opening weekend of the postseason.
Miami Jumps Out to Early Lead, Hangs On
The Dolphins (5-11) started with a 3-0 lead to end the first quarter. They followed up, approximately one-third of the way through the second quarter, with a touchdown to increase their lead to 10-0. Miami’s defense forced Patriot quarterback Tom Brady to throw a pick-six to former New England cornerback, Eric Rowe. This was Rowe’s first interception return for a TD in his career. Despite the dominant start, the Patriots quickly came back to make it a tie game with 2:05 remaining in the first half.
After forcing a punt to open up the second half, the Dolphins scored on a two-yard run by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to end an 89-yard drive. However, New England came knocking on the door again with a TD of their own.
With a tie game to start the fourth quarter, the Dolphins connected on a 32-yard field goal to give them a three-point lead with eight and a half minutes to go. The response from New England was a 60-yard drive that ended in Brady’s 541st TD of his career. After passing retired-QB Peyton Manning’s NFL-record setting mark of 539 career TDs, Brady is in a race with New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees to earn the title of most TDs all-time. Brees currently sits at 547.
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Not done yet, the Dolphins capped the game with their 75-yard go-ahead drive. On the 13th play of the drive, Fitzpatrick hit Gesicki from four yards out to give them another 3-point lead with 29 seconds remaining in the game. Unfortunately for New England, it would fumble on the proceeding drive in a desperation attempt to make some laterals meet the end zone, though they weren’t quite as slick as the 2018 Miami squad. Does the Miami Miracle ring a bell?
Patriots Set Record for Points in Single Season
Despite the loss, the Patriots set a franchise record for points allowed in a in a season with 225, breaking their previous record of a season-low 237 in 2006.
Flores Sets the Record Straight
“We dealt with a lot of adversity. I really think when you deal with defeat, when you deal with disappointment, it either breaks you or makes you stronger, and I think this team got stronger,” head coach Brian Flores said. “And I think when early in the season, when a lot of people thought we were broken, we were actually building and strengthening as a team. I don’t think a lot of people knew that was happening. I think only the people in the building knew that, which is why I speak so much about us as a team, just blocking out anything from the outside and just really spending time just locking in on the things that are happening in the building.”
Fitzpatrick, Parker Key Contributors in Win
Fitzpatrick finished the game going 28-for-41 with 320 yards and one TD each on the ground and in the air. Nearly half his yards went to his stud wide receiver, DeVante Parker, who closed out the season with 137 yards on 8 receptions in the win. Parker finished with 1,202 yards for the season, his first 1,000-yard season, on 72 receptions and nine TDs.
Miami will currently draft fifth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, barring no trades, with three total picks in the first round.