The NFL regular season is officially over for the Miami Dolphins, who now move on to a head coaching search and preparing for the 2016 season. The season ended with a solid, all-around win for Miami, keeping the team from losing all six AFC East games this year.
Below, you will find my live thoughts from throughout the game, the final score, and my immediate reactions from the game.
- Good first play, an 11-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill to Jarvis Landry, with Tannehill rolling out of the pocket and away from pressure.
- That is it, though, as the Dolphins will now punt. Looked like Tannehill had Kenny Stills deep, but the wide receiver may have given up on the pass too early.
- Jordan Phillips is going to be a great player. Quick, big guy, who can get through the line and disrupt offenses. Playing next to Ndamukong Suh will only help him.
- Dolphins hold the Patriots to a three-and-out on their first drive.
- Great first down run for Lamar Miller. 29-yard gain.
- 3rd-and-8 and the Dolphins picked it up? Great spin by Damien Williams after making the catch and fighting his way for the first down.
- Williams comes right back and picks up eight on a handoff on the next play. Good hard play from Williams.
- Another good run from Lamar Miller, picking up five more yards.
- Oh, there it is. Dolphins offense in rhythm, time for a penalty. False start on Jarvis Landry.
- Back to 3rd-and-long, Kenny Stills has ball go right through his hands and the Dolphins settle for a 38-yard field goal from Andrew Franks. Dolphins 3-0.
- Another great defensive stand by the Dolphins. Patriots pick up 19 yards on 6 plays, but are punting again.
- Neville Hewitt seems to be everywhere on defense for Miami early in this game.
- A big catch and run from Greg Jennings. Have not seen him most of the year.
- And a great first down pickup with Tannehill throwing to DeVante Parker. Miami again moving the ball well.
- But it all stalls and Franks misses a 46-yard field goal. Still 3-0.
- That was just Franks' third missed field goal on the year. He has not kicked that many, but the rookie played well this year.
- Patriots running the ball a lot early in this game. Miami's defense had been stopping them, but they are picking up chunks of yards now.
- Steven Jackson is just running through the Dolphins defenders right now.
- The Patriots drive stalls, and the settle for a field goal. Tie 3-3.
- What a strange start to this game. Tom Brady is 2-for-3 for 26 yards and Tannehill is 8-for-13 for 78 yards midway through the second quarter. Running game is big for both teams to start this game, especially New England.
- Brady had to have his ankle re-taped after a hit from Ndamukong Suh.
- Dolphins go 3-and-out.
- Patriots again taking the attack to the ground, but adding in a few passes now. Still moving the ball easily.
- Reshad Jones with a horrible pass interference. Just shoved Scott Chandler out of bounds with the ball in the air. The ball really was not catchable, but they called the pass interference anyway. Odd decision by Jones.
- Patriots miss a 46-yard field. Still tied.
- Dolphins going through the air on this drive.
- Beautiful 31-yard pass from Tannehill to Jennings! Could not have been placed better.
- TOUCHDOWN! Ryan Tannehill to DeVante Parker for 15 yard score. Dolphins 10-3.
- Patriots get the ball to start the second half.
- Ouch. James White with the quick slant catch and he takes it 68 yards. Just ripped right through the middle of the Miami defense.
- Touchdown New England. Steven Jackson just powers his way through the Miami defense and scores. Tied 10-10.
- Dolphins respond with a 3-and-out.
- Patriots go 3-and-out as well.
- Tannehill again connects with Parker, who is having a good game. This one on a 29-yard gain as Tannehill fits the ball between the cornerback and the safety.
- Dolphins try a double pass, Tannehill backwards to Landry, who was looking for Parker, but ran for a one-yard gain instead.
- Dolphins stall and punt.
- Some great plays from the Dolphins defense suddenly. Brent Grimes with a great pass breakup (though Olivier Vernon negated that play with a late hit on Tom Brady), then Neville Hewitt with a pass breakup on Rob Gronkowski, then Hewitt with the run stop in the backfield, then Brent Grimes with an Oscar worth exaggeration of a push off (the push was there, Grimes just made it look worse) for offensive pass interference, then Tony Lippett with the outstanding pass breakup up deep down the field.
- Patriots punt.
- Tannehill with a gorgeous drop in a bucket as Damien Williams gets between the cornerback and the safety, picking up 22-yards on the pass.
- Greg Jennings with the 3rd down catch for 12 yards, needed 13. Initially called an incomplete pass because the ball came loose as Jennings tried to reach for the sticks. Review reversed it to a completed pass.
- And then the Dolphins get stuffed on 4th-and-1. Figures.
- Dolphins force 3-and-out and Patriots punting.
- Dolphins pick up a couple of good gains through the air, with Tannehill finding Landry for 19 yards and Jennings for 8 yards. End of third quarter.
- Dolphins stall out and have to punt.
- Running into the kicker and the Dolphins will get to re-kick. Better kick this time, pins Patriots inside 10 yard line.
- And another penalty moves the Patriots inside the five.
- 3rd-and-1, and the Patriots convert with reception by Rob Gronkowski. First reception of the game for the Pro Bowl tight end, three minutes into the 4th quarter.
- Patriots can't get anything going and punt.
- Ryan Tannehill lays a ball up deep for DeVante Parker....and he comes away with it as it gets tipped and he snatches it back from the cornerback! 46-yard gain and Miami is down next to the goal line.
- TOUCHDOWN! Tannehill finds Cameron Jordan for the score. Dolphins 17-10.
- Patriots go 3-and-out. Dolphins sack Brady twice one by Olivier Vernon and one by Derrick Shelby.
- Patriots punt and Landry nearly breaks the return, but it gets called back by offsetting penalties. Re-kick, and a false star backs up the Patriots even more. Landry returns this kick to the Patriots 35, but a holding penalty backs the ball back to the 45.
- Tannehill with the 19-yard run. Should have seen that more this year.
- Tannehill finds Dion Sims for 22 yards. This is the first game all year where Miami really got both tight ends, Sims and Cameron, involved in the game.
- Dolphins get down to the one-yard line, then settle for a field goal to take a ten point lead. Dolphins 20-10
- Patriots have no time outs. Pulling their starters.
- Jimmy Garoppolo throws three incomplete passes in four tries and turns the ball over to the Dolphins on downs.
- Tannehill kneels the ball to kill the clock.
Patriots 10 - Dolphins 20
The Dolphins came out to play this weekend, and the Patriots looked flat. New England clearly came out looking to run the ball against a bad Miami run defense, but the Dolphins stacked up the box and did well. They held Rob Gronkowski without a catch until the fourth quarter, and they were constantly in Brady's face.
The offense was effective as well, both on the ground and through the air. Tannehill was sharp on the day, finding eight different receivers on the day. Miller picked up 20 carries on the day, just the third time in his career that has happened, and the Dolphins typically win when they can get the running game started.
This game does nothing for the long-term, but it was good to see Miami come out and play a solid game for the full 60 minutes. It was especially nice to see them do it against a top tier team, and it was nice to see Miami not go 0-6 against the AFC East for the year. The Dolphins will not fall into the top 3-5 Draft picks, which will make some fans unhappy, but it is at least nice to go into the offseason with a win like this in the books.