Dolphins Beat Patriots 27-24, New England Denied First-Round Bye in the Playoffs

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Ryan Fitzpatrick delivered the final blow, as he tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mike Gesicki in the last 24 seconds of the game. New England (12-4) was left to play in the opening weekend of the postseason for the first time since 2009. This will be the first time the Patriots would have to earn their way to the Super Bowl by beginning their playoffs starting in the wild-card round. The last time this happened was 2009 when the Baltimore Ravens dominated the Pats in Foxboro. The Patriots will face AFC wild card recipients Tennessee (9-7), who earned their reward with a win at Houston.

The Dolphins (5-11) themselves scored a wild series of laterals on the final play to win the game last season in Miami in what became known as the “Miami Miracle”. Ryan Fitzpatrick led his team to victory by ending their rivals AFC streak of nine straight first-round playoff byes and earning himself a role as the starting quarter for 2020.

Tom Brady threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to James White to put New England in front 24-20 with 3:53 left. But Fitzpatrick, who finished 28 of 41 for 320 yards and a touchdown, maintained his composure, leading Miami on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that included him recovering a fumbled snap and completing a 24-yard pass to DeVante Parker.

This victory for the Dolphins gave first-year coach Brian Flores season split with former boss Bill Belichick. Miami finished the season 5-4 after a 0-7 start.

The Patriots won their first eight games, then split the next eight, including the rare but possible two losses at home. Then the New England defense allowed the Dolphins to rack up 389 yards and 5 of 12 on third down. The Patriots were allowing teams a league-low 23% on third down entering the day.

New England had to catch up to Miami throughout most of the game. This led to a 10-0 early and a 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Brady finished 16 of 29 for 221 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He went over 4,000 yards for the 11th time in his career. This ties him with Philip Rivers for fourth on the all-time list.

The Dolphins drove inside the Patriots 20 early in the fourth quarter. 

Brandon Bolden took the kickoff and returned with 38 yards to the New England 40. Rex Burkhead rushed 14 yards on the first play to get the Patriots across the 50. 

Brady made a short pass to Ben Watson, followed by a 20-yard strike to Mohamed Sanu. Three plays later, Brady and White scored for the team.

Miami took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter when Eric Rowe stepped in front of Brady’s pass to Julian Edelman and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.

The Patriots won 27-17.

The Patriots got a 25-yard field goal from Nick Folk. They tied it by capping a five-play, 82-yard drive with a 4-yard run by Sony Michel just before the half. Michel’s TD was set up by a 50-yard pass from Brady to Phillip Dorsett along the sideline, his first catch since Week 13.

The Patriots later trailed 17-10 in the third, when Brady connected with the quarterback and part-time fullback Elandon Roberts for a 38-yard touchdown.