Dolphins Upset the Patriots 29-28
Brady Giftwraps a Present for the Dolphins
By Jon Scott, Patriots Insider
In a night filled with that air of uncertainty, the Dolphins were sure of one thing. They were sure they had Tom Brady's number. Not the one on his back (12), but the one coming off his arm (4). That's 4, as in interceptions on the night.
The Patriots, took control of the game early, but kept letting Miami hang around. After the Patriots managed their first score, a 31-yard wobbler from Brady to RB, Kevin Faulk, the Dolphins got back into the game on a 2-yard TD dive by RB, Sammy Morris. The key was a 71-yard punt return by the speedy KR, Wes Welker, a rookie out of Texas Tech.
Patriot's running back Corey Dillon managed to gain the tough yards when needed, grinding away at a normally stout Miami defense. The Patriots regained the lead on a 12-play drive highlighted by 10 run calls, capped by a 3-yard Dillon TD run.
Interim Dolphins head coach Bill Bates told ABC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya at the half, that the one thing they needed to do better was to run better (on offense) and slow down the run, referring to Dillon.
The Dolphins opportunity came from Brady's last gaffe, a horrible decision to try to salvage something from nothing. The Dolphins managed to capitalize on the opportunity and take the lead late, on a team unaccustomed to being behind late.
That pass, intercepted by Dolphins second year outside LB, Brendon Ayanbadejo gave the Dolphins 1st and 10 on the New England 21 with less than two minutes to go. The Dolphins took the lead for good four plays later on a 4th and 10 TD pass from A.J. Freeley to Derrius Thompson.
The Dolphins defense pinned their ears back and went after Brady on the final possession forcing his 4th and final INT of the game, sealing the upset.
Brady never looked comfortable, except when he handed the ball off to Dillon. His deep throws were to receivers who were rarely open, and often double covered. Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis appeared to keep calling deep pass routes to keep the Miami defense from teeing off on Dillon and the jumping the short routes, but it never allowed Brady to get his rhythm.
Special teams breakdowns, errant throws, execution errors and gaffes by a normally unflappable QB, setup the possible upset. Miami's determination to play a divisional rival tough sealed the game.
Behind the Numbers:
Brady's numbers were a mix, going 18 of 29 for 171 yards, with 3 TDs and 4 INTs. Dolphins QB, A.J. Feeley went 22 of 35 for 198 and 1 TD with 0 INTs.
Corey Dillon managed another 100 yard outing gaining 121 yards on 26 rushing attempts, with 1 TD in the air and another on the ground.
The loss by the Patriots puts the Pittsburgh Steelers in the driver seat for home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC. In spite of winning the AFC East last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, the team needs another win next week to preserve their chance at keeping a bye in the playoffs. They are now 1 1/2 games behind the Steelers for home field.
Clinching a playoff bye might not be so easy, as their next game comes against
another division rival fighting for a playoff spot, the 10-4 New York Jets.
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