The Miami Dolphins lost their seventh game of the season today, dropping a 23-16 game to the New England Patrtiots. With the result, the Patriots were able to claim their tenth AFC East division title in 12 years.
Despite being able to harass New England quarterback Tom Brady, the Dolphins simply did not have an answer for the Brady to Wes Welker connection. Brady was often late, or slightly off with his passes, going 24-for-40 on the day. However, 12 of those 24 completions went to Welker, who finished the game with 103 yards and a touchdown.
Welker tied Jerry Rice for the NFL record with his 17th career double digit receptions game.
For the Dolphins, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 13-for-29 for 186 yards. Tannehill found the endzone with his legs in this game, just his second rushing touchdown on the year. Brian Hartline was the leading Miami receiver, with five receptions for 84 yards.
The Dolphins' Reggie Bush, who torched New England last year for 116.5 rushing yards per game, was held to just 64 yards on 15 carries.
The Miami defense recorded four sacks on the day, with Reshad Jones, Koa Misi, Cameron Wake, and Paul Soliai each pulling Brady down once. Jones also had an interception, the first interception Brady has thrown since Week 6. The Dolphins defense was able to control the line of scrimmage all day, disrupting the New England running game, and forcing the Patriots to throw.
However, Miami's self inflicted mistakes killed them in the end. Miami was penalized eight times for 90 yards, and, while they only turned the ball over once, four fumbles killed drives. The problems started with the opening drive, when punter Brandon Fields fumbled the snap, picked it up, but was brought down at the Miami 12. From then on, the Dolphins struggled to make up for the mistake.
The game also featured several Dolphins players having to miss snaps due to injuries, although most would return to the game. The biggest loss for Miami was left tackle Jake Long, who suffered a triceps injury in the first half, and was unable to return to the game. He spent the second half in street clothes on the sideline.