The Patriots have been nothing shirt of dominant in the moth of December for the past few seasons. The Miami sunshine must have confused them.
With a chance to take advantage of Denver’s Thursday night loss at the hands of the Chargers, the Pats could not pull off their fourth straight gut-check win. Trailing the Dolphins, 24-20, Tom Brady was picked off by on a fourth-down play in the end zone by Michael Thomas, fresh of the 49ers‘ practice squad, as time expired.
“We didn’t do a good job in the red area,” Brady said after the game.And didn’t do a good job finishing drives. We came up on the short end of the stick. It wasn’t a good day. Just couldn’t make enough plays.”
They would come back to score the next 10, however, with a Stephen Gostkowki field goal from 23 yards out and a 24-yard pass from Brady to Edelman with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter. Gostkowski had missed his first attempt earlier in the game.
Again, however, the Pats’ makeshift D gave up the go-ahead score despite Miami facing a 3rd-and-16 to begin the drive. Tanehill would complete two straight and pick up the first down as the clock kept rolling. After mostly short and intermediate throws, he then connected with Rishard Matthews for a 24-yard gain to the New England 14 and then hit Thigpen on the next play to put the ‘Phins up, 24-20, with 1:15 to go. Gostkowski’s kickoff had gone out of bounds, which set Miami up at their own 40.
Then, facing a 4th-and-8 at his own 33, Brady threw a pea to Danny Amendola for one of his 10 catches, to pick up 12 yards with 52 seconds left. On the next series, Brady connected with Edelman for one of his 13 catches to pick up 16 on 3rd-and-10 now with 27 to play. And the Pats were in the red zone.
A Dolphins’ offsides set the Pats up at the 14, but Brady tried three times to get in the end zone and failed. The first was to Edelman, the second to Hoomanawanui and then his fourth-down pass intended for Austin Collie was intercepted by Thomas in the end zone to end the game.
“I knew being the new guy that Tom Brady would come after me,” Thomas said. “He’s a great quarterback, and he’s going to exploit any weaknesses.”
Brady finished the day 34-of-55 for 364 yards – his fourth straight 300-yard game. Edelman caught 13 for 139 yards and a score while Amendola snagged 10 for 131 of his own, but couldn’t haul in the game-winner in the end zone despite having both hands on the ball on the final drive. Both were huge in the comeback bid that fell just short while Shane Vereen mustered only 21 total yards on five touches for the day. Neither team ran for 100 yards.
The loss dropped the Patriots to 3-4 on the road this season while they are a perfect 7-0 at home. Fourteen fourth-quarter points allowed had a lot to do with that.
“We were short in every area [today],” Bill Belichick said, noting that special teams play had a lot to do with it.
Miami coach, Joe Philbin, said after the game that he might go home and jump in his pool for the second time since moving to Florida, referring to a celebratory swim.
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