Gutsy Effort Falls Short In 23-16 Loss To New England

Posted Dec 2, 2012

Dolphins come close to pulling off upset of Patriots.

Based on the type of roll the New England Patriots were on coming into today’s AFC East showdown at Sun Life Stadium, what the Miami Dolphins did to slow them down cannot be understated. Of course the 23-16 loss that clinched the division for New England still hurts.

The Dolphins fell to 5-7 on the season, with a long road trip to San Francisco on the docket next week, and can look back at a few missed opportunities that allowed New England to escape with the win. Still, the job the defense did in holding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to just 238 passing yards and a pedestrian 74.8 passer rating. He was sacked four times and hit an additional seven while also throwing his first interception in 202 attempts to safety Reshad Jones in the first quarter of the game.

“It felt good but it would have felt better if we had won the game,” said Jones, who added a sack and finished second on the team with 10 tackles, all of them solo. “We started to put a little pressure on him as the game went on and we knew the ball was going to come out quick, but we weren’t able to finish it off on that last drive of the game.”

After the offense put together its second 12-play scoring drive of the game to make it a one possession game on Dan Carpenter’s 33-yard field goal with 8:28 left, it was up to the defense to try to get the ball back. It had done a stellar job earlier in keeping the Patriots out of the end zone after Brady drove them all the way down to the 2.

Sacks by Jones and Koa Misi forced New England to settle for a 32-yard field goal and open the door for the offense to score another touchdown. A key fourth-down conversion by running back Daniel Thomas helped the Dolphins get all the way down to the New England 7 but a sack of Tannehill made Miami settle for Carpenter’s kick. Brady then handed the ball off a bunch of times to Stevan Ridley and completed a few clutch passes while eating up 7:18 off the clock on a 16-play scoring drive. Gostkowski’s 20-yard field goal stretched the lead to 10 points again and all but clinched the win.

“The defense did some good things, but when the game was on the line they (the Patriots) were able to move the ball and make it a two-possession game,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “We made too many mistakes in general and we can’t make excuses. It was a team loss and all phases contributed.”
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