Posted on December 29, 2019, by Travis Pulver
The Miami Dolphins have been known to give the New England Patriots trouble, but usually when the Pats come down south to Miami. But with something to play for late in the season, this one should have been easy for the Patriots. That’s why oddsmakers had them as 17.5-point favorites.
It ended up being anything but.
Miami led for most of the game. But with 3:53 left in the game, the inevitable appeared to happen—New England took the lead. Tom Brady connected with James White on a 13-yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots a 24-20 lead.
However, Ryan Fitzpatrick still had a little Fitz-magic left. He answered the Patriots score with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with him connecting with Mike Gesicki on a five-yard touchdown pass.
The score put the lead back in Miami’s hands, 27-24. Brady had 20 seconds to make something happen, but he couldn’t get it done. Just like that, for the first time since 2008, Miami beat the Patriots in Foxborough.
With the loss, the Patriots fall to 12-4 on the year. After going undefeated in the first half of the season, they finished the year going 4-4. The loss also costs them the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. So, for the first time since 2009, the Patriots will have to play in the opening round of the playoffs.
“It was a great chance for us to not play next week so we didn’t take advantage of it,” Brady said after the game via ESPN. “We just didn’t play good enough. We all wish we should have done a better job. Certainly, I do.”
Historically, the Patriots postseason has not gone well when they play in the wildcard. Since 2001, they have gone 3-3 in postseason play when they are in the wildcard round. But when they get a bye, they are 27-7 with nine trips to the Super Bowl.
“We needed our best football. We didn’t have it today,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the game, via ESPN. “Hopefully, it will be there next week.”
Brady had been undefeated in games where the Patriots were favored by two touchdowns or more (30-0), making this the biggest upset loss of his career. His previous worst was a loss to the Cardinals back in 2012 when the Patriots were 13.5-point favorites.
The last time the Patriots suffered such an upset was back in 1978. They were 17.5-point favorites then over Baltimore. The last time anyone suffered an upset like this, the Redskins beat the Cowboys in 1995; Dallas was favored by 17.5.
As for the Dolphins, the win gives them hope for next season. While they were incredibly bad to start the season (and went 0-7), they improved—a lot. With the win, they finished the year going 5-4 over the last nine games.
Don’t look now, but the Dolphins might be able to flirt with respectability next season. But that is assuming they can build off this one.
So, while Miami is celebrating an unexpected win, no one is celebrating as much as the primary beneficiary of the win—the Kansas City Chiefs.
New England losing and falling out of the No. 2 seed opened the door for the Chiefs to slide up and take it.
The Chiefs will not get the week off and will host a game in the divisional round. But should the Ravens get upset in the divisional round, the road to the Super Bowl could go through Kansas City. New England will host Tennessee next weekend.