Foxborough, Massachusetts — In the regular season, the Miami Dolphins were swept by the reigning AFC East champions, the New England Patriots. However, whatever happened in the regular season did not matter because the Dolphins went toe-to-toe with the Patriots.
Most of us thought this game was going to be a shoot out; the Dolphins were ranked 11th on offense whereas the Patriots were ranked 4 in the regular season. However, the final scoreboard will say otherwise as the Patriots came out victorious in a 17-16 bout. The thirsty defense of the Dolphins managed to hold the red hot Patriots to three field goals and one touchdown. The Patriots had ZERO passing touchdowns which was unusual since Brady’s arm led the league in passing yardages and quarterback rating. Brady’s only highlight of the game was when he converted a successful two-point attempt to set up the Patriots’ lead by 7.
Although down by a touchdown, the resilient Dolphins did not budge nor give up. They found themselves backed up to a corner once again after Ryan Tannehill threw a costly interception to Patriots’ safety Devin McCourty. Luckily, the defense of the Dolphins held the Patriots to settle for a field goal attempt. Stephen Gostkowski would then miss a 51-yard attempt, and the momentum quickly switched back to the Dolphins. They took advantage of a good field position and drove the ball down for a 55-yard touchdown bomb to Mike Wallace.
Then Coach Matt had a choice… go for the victory or the tie… Tannehill and his offense stayed on the field for the 2-point attempt. Tannehill drops back, eyes a receiver and then throws a bullet… BUT only to be deflected by Chandler Jones and the Dolphins are down by 1 point!!! The Dolphins had only one chance now, an onside attempt. They had gone the whole season without any successful onside receptions. As Caleb Sturgis kicks the ball, the Patriots’ Danny Amendola hauls the ball in the air and gives himself up. And there you have it, the Patriots are advancing to the AFC Championship!
Although the Patriots did escaped with a victory, they lost something that you cannot replace. Two leaders on offense and defense: Tom Brady and Jerrod Mayo.
Coach Sean: “First off, let me address the injuries. Brady will be out for 3 weeks and Mayo is out for 16 weeks, thus ending both of their seasons. As for the game, I thought our guys had a great week of practice on offense, but it obviously did not show in game. We had guys dropping passes, stopping on routes, you name it. Bottom line is that we have a lot of work to do, especially since we lost two of our leaders on offense and defense. Their presence on the field will be certainly missed, but our mentality is the “next man up”. We drafted Garoppolo for a reason and here’s his chance to shine.
Coach Matt: “I just got greedy. There’s no sugarcoating it. We had a lot of momentum from that long TD to Wallace so I figured that maybe we can be up by 1 point and let our defense end the game for us. Obviously, we failed but it was a good game. I can’t wait to face them again next season.”
Game ball – Reggie Bush
Although the regular season stats would say otherwise, Reggie Bush was unstoppable! He came in the clutch with a 89-yard touchdown rush late in the 4th quarter. The Patriots would then successfully convert a two-point attempt to lead the Dolphins 17-10.