Another blown opportunity

For the second week in a row, the Dolphins saw their hope of tying a division leader in the final minutes end inside the opponent's 10-yard line. And Sunday's 23-16 loss to New England was just as frustrating as the 17-10 loss to Atlanta a week ago.

The one difference is that instead of a late interception, this time it was four consecutive incompletions that ended the Dolphins' final drive.

The Dolphins had a first-and-goal from the 5 with 58 seconds left against the Patriots, and the call was for Gus Frerotte to attemp fade passes to Marty Booker and Chris Chambers on first and second down. Both passes fell incomplete.

On third down, Frerotte threw a swing pass to running back Ronnie Brown, and was droped for a 5-yard loss to cornerback Hank Poteat.

So the game came down to a fourth-and-goal from the New England 10, and Chambers -- who had a totally up-and-down day -- couldn't come up with Frerotte's ankle-high pass in the middle of the end zone.

Chambers did catch two touchdown passes in the game, including a 15-yarder that gave the Dolphins a 16-15 lead with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter.

But it took New England all of those offensive plays to regain the lead.

The first was a 59-yard completion from Tom Brady to Tim Dwight, who stole the ball away from cornerback Reggie Howard when Howard went for the interception. The second was a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Benjamin Watson.

After a two-point conversion by former Dolphins fullback Heath Evans, it was 23-16 New England.

The Dolphins quickly got themselves in scoring position when Wes Welker took a Frerotte and tightroped down the sideline for a 47-yard gain to the Patriots 38-yard line.

It was part of a 360-yard day for Frerotte, who had his best game in a long time.

Thanks to Frerotte's touchdown pass to Chambers, the Dolphins took a 7-3 lead into halftime, but it could have been a lot bigger lead if not for Olindo Mare's missed 31-yard field goal and Randy McMichael's fumble inside the New England 20-yard line.

It was just more missed opportunities for the Dolphins, who unfortunately have gotten very good at doing that.


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