With what might go down as the greatest play in franchise history, the Dolphins pulled off a miraculous victory against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Kenyan Drake scored on a 69-yard play that featured two laterals to turn a disappointing 33-28 loss into an exhilarating 34-33 victory at Hard Rock Stadium.
Drake did the rest, weaving his way through the New England secondary.
He got around two defenders before reaching the end zone and the last New England player to dive in vain in an effort to stop him was perennial Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski.
As he reached the back of the end zone, Drake threw the ball high into the stands as his teammates rushed from the sideline in celebration.
The touchdown came seconds after a field goal had given New England an insurmountable five-point lead.
Drake’s game-winning touchdown was the ninth lead change of a wild, wild affair and the Dolphins’ fifth victory in their past six home games against New England.
The dramatic victory capped a brilliant day for Tannehill, who overcame an ankle injury late in the first half, to pass for three touchdowns and compile a 155.2 passer rating.
Veteran running back Brandon Bolden, signed in September after being released by the Patriots, had his first two rushing touchdowns of the season after getting his first carry a week earlier. It was the first two-touchdown game of his career, which began in 2012.
Fellow running back Frank Gore rushed for 92 yards and had a 24-yard reception while moving past Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time yards from scrimmage list.
Stills caught one of touchdown passes from Tannehill, part of his 135-yard day.
And then there was Drake, who was relatively quiet until his gigantic play, for which he was credited with 52 receiving yards.
Newcomer Brice Butler also had a touchdown reception, a 23-yard catch that gave the Dolphins a 28-27 in the third quarter.
It appeared Butler’s touchdown would go down as the last time the Dolphins had the lead after Stephen Gostkowski’s 32-yard field goal with 6:45 left in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins trailed 27-21 after a wild first half that featured plenty of offense, big special teams plays and the injury to Tannehill.
They took a 28-27 lead when they scored four plays after Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.
After Gore gained 16 yards on a run and 24 more on a screen pass, Tannehill threw a beautiful 23-yard touchdown pass to Butler. It was Butler’s first touchdown for the Dolphins, who he joined two weeks ago.
In that first half, the teams combined for seven touchdowns, exchanging the lead six times after New England scored on the opening possession but Gostkowski missed the extra-point attempt.
The Dolphins also had 142 rushing yards and the only thing that kept them from doing more damage was the New England pass rush, which produced four sacks, including the one on the play where Tannehill was injured.
After that opening drive, which ended with a 2-yard run by Patriots fullback James Develin, the Dolphins answered by scoring a touchdown on their opening possession for the third consecutive game.
They needed only five plays to cover 75 yards, and they included a 15-yard completion from Tannehill to Parker, a 13-yard run by Tannehill and a 36-yard run by Gore, before Tannehill connected with Stills for a 7-yard touchdown.
After the Dolphins forced a three-and-out when linebacker Kiko Alonso for a 2-yard loss on a third-and-1 running play, Patriots linebacker Albert McClellan got his first of two blocked punts in the first half.
That set up Brady’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Edelman, which gave New England a 14-13 lead.
The Dolphins needed only two plays to answer that score. The first was a 21-yard run by Tannehill to Stills, the second Bolden’s 54-yard touchdown run. It matched Kenyan Drake’s touchdown against Detroit as the longest run of the season for the Dolphins.
After New England regained the lead on Brady’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson, Bolden scored his second touchdown on a 6-yard to cap a 75-yard drive that began with a 43-yard completion to Stills.
New England regained the lead with a touchdown drive that ended with consecutive completions of 15 and 16 yards to Rob Gronkowski, the first of which converted a third-and-7.
The end of the first half appeared disastrous for the Dolphins after Tannehill was injured and McClellan got his second block to give the Patriots the ball at the Miami 15-yard line in the final minute.
A 13-yard completion gave the Patriots a first-and-goal at the 2, at which time they called their final timeout of the half. After two incompletions, Robert Quinn sacked Brady in the middle of the field and time ran out before New England could attempt a field goal.
As it was, the teams combined for 35 points in the second quarter, tying for the second-highest-scoring second quarter in Dolphins history.
The Dolphins (7-6) return to action next Sunday when they face the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.