Dolphins Stun Pats: The Takeaway

The Miami Miracle Featured Two Laterals on a Game-Winning 69-yard Touchdown

Miami Gardens, FL — Including Sunday’s victory over the Patriots, Miami’s record with New England in their last 12 matchups is 5-7. All five victories have come at home. However, Sunday’s 34-33 win was the most exhilarating.

Sixteen seconds from defeat, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a short pass, then watched his teammates save the season.

Kenyan Drake ran the last 52 yards — dubbed the “Drake Escape” — as the Dolphins scored on a pass and double lateral on the final play Sunday to beat the Patriots.

“I collapsed — just the emotion of the whole thing,” Tannehill said.

Playoff Hopes Alive and Well

With the victory, the Dolphins are in a four-way tie (Ravens, Titans, Colts) for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. The Ravens hold the tiebreaker over all teams thus far. Miami beat the Titans week one, and loss to the Colts in week 12.

However, due to a few close losses earlier this season, the Dolphins playoff run starts now; as a loss surely will knock them out of the hunt.

“We’re playing one week at a time right now,” Miami head coach Adam Gase said. “Any loss could be the end.”

Up next the Dolphins have a tough road test vs. the Minnesota Vikings, who’s also fighting for a playoff spot. If Miami can get out of the Twin Cities with a victory, week 16 and 17 should be manageable with Jacksonville and Buffalo.

Adam Gase is Underrated

AP Photo – Wilfredo Lee

The Dolphins should have lost this game. Brady threw for 358 yards with three touchdowns, New England ran 75 plays to Miami’s 45, the Pats possessed the ball for over 35 minutes, and Miami was 1-7 on third down. However, the key stat of no turnovers was the difference in a close matchup.

Miami ran the ball for 189 yards with running back Frank Gore getting the bulk of the carries. Tannehill only threw the ball 19 times but completed 14 passes for 18.9 yards per completion as the Dolphins attacked New England’s weakness over and over.

Gore ran for 92 yards and had a 24-yard catch, giving him 18,530 career yards from scrimmage, surpassing LaDainian Tomlinson (18,456) for the fifth-most in NFL history.

At the end of the day, Miami did what they had to due to set up their game-winning touchdown.

Patriot Miscues

AP Photo

The Patriots squandered a scoring chance at the end of the first half. With 14 seconds left and no timeouts, Brady took the snap at the Miami 2, and when he was sacked by Robert Quinn the clock ran out, leaving the Patriots with a 27-21 lead

The Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point for the first time in 38 tries this season early in the game, and also missed a 42-yard field goal try. New England opted to have Gostkowski kick a 22-yarder in the closing seconds rather than pin the Dolphins near their goal line. Instead, Miami returned the ensuing kickoff to the 31 — and on the next play pulled off a miracle.

Also, the decision to have tight end Rob Gronkowski on the final play proved to be fatal as Gronk is not accustomed to tackling players in space.

“They just made one more play than we did,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.