Foxborough, MA - In my article that previewed Sunday afternoon's game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, I predicted that defense would be the deciding factor in the game. And while I ended up being correct, it was just not in the manner that I would have predicted. The Patriots fell to 9-4 with a 34-33 loss to the Dolphins that came down to the final seconds of the game.
The entire game was a back and forth affair that saw ten total lead changes throughout every quarter. The Patriots scored on touchdowns from their fullback, James Develin, their top slot receiver, Julian Edelman, their jack of all trades, Cordarrelle Patterson, and their Hall of Fame tight end, Rob Gronkowski. But it still wasn't enough because Miami matched New England with every score and while Stephen Gostkowski added two field goals, a miracle play at the end was enough to outdo it.
Sixty-nine yards away from the end zone, Ryan Tannehill dumped the ball off on a play that resulted in multiple laterals en route to Kenyan Drake acquiring the ball and dashing fifty-two yards for the final score, which was enough to give the Dolphins the win without even needing an extra point.
The play was miraculous and downright magical and it proved to be an excellent source of exuberance for Miami fans, but it was a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the Patriots. You could blame the missed field goals from Gostkowski earlier in the game or the slowness of Gronkowski as he aimed to make the game's final tackle or Tom Brady's lackluster drive to end the first half, but, truly, the blame lies with the team, as a whole. The mindset is lacking with this team because there's no way this play would have happened in any prior season.
The Patriots didn't give Miami the respect they deserved and they paid the price. Frankly, I didn't give Miami any respect either. And while the Patriots have a two game AFC East lead with three games left, I better start not counting out the Dolphins, lest it come back to bite me like it did Bill Belichick's squad. New England will aim to rebound from this demoralizing loss next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.