The Dolphins played a strong first half against the New York Giants on Sunday before things started going downhill after halftime in a 36-20 loss.
We examine the five biggest plays of the game.
1. Flores' successful challenge
The Dolphins never trailed in this game until the final five minutes, and that certainly was a factor in the victory. Head Coach Brian Flores played a key role in keeping the Dolphins' 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter when he successfully challenged a no-call after a 16-yard completion from Tom Brady to Mohamed Sanu that would have given the Patriots a first down at the Miami 29. The replay clearly showed tight end Ben Watson blocking a Dolphins defender into another, preventing the second one from staying with Manu as he ran a crossing route. After review, the ruling was changed to offensive pass interference on Watson and it instead became third-and-20 from the New England 35 and the drive ended in a punt.
2. Rowe's pick-six
The first pick-six of Eric Rowe's career had to feel so sweet considering it came against the team for which he played the past two seasons. The interception was the result of some confusion by the New England offense as Brady's pass, after he had plenty of time in the pocket, was thrown between two receivers on the outside, James White and Julian Edelman. With neither New England player making a play for the ball, Rowe simply cut between them, caught the ball on the run and easily covered the 35 yards for a touchdown to give the Dolphins a 10-0 lead.
3. Wilson's completion to Laird
The Dolphins' first touchdown drive featured two key plays, both of which involved Albert Wilson. The first was a beautiful 24-yard pass near the sideline to convert a third-and-2 from the Miami 35. On the very next play, from the Patriots 41, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a lateral to Wilson to the right of the formation. Wilson then threw a screen pass back to the left to running back Patrick Laird, who had a group of blockers in front of him. Laird easily made it all the way to the New England 21, setting up Fitzpatrick's 2-yard scramble for a touchdown four plays later to give Miami a 17-10 lead.
4. Parker's big catch
The Patriots matched up star cornerback Stephon Gilmore on DeVante Parker for most of the game, and it was Parker who got the better of this battle. His biggest catch was the one in overtime when he adjusted to a deep pass down the right sideline quicker than Gilmore and jumped in front of the cornerback to come down with a 24-yard reception to the New England 29-yard line. That play came right after the two-minute warning and right after Fitzpatrick had to fall on a loose ball after the shotgun snap from center came before he was ready to take it. Parker's catch was the longest gain in the game-winning drive.
5. The game-winner
On a first-and-goal from the 5, tight end Mike Gesicki lined up in the slot to the right of the formation with safety Patrick Chung lined up opposite him. Gesicki quickly got inside position and Fitzpatrick delivered a strike in the back middle of the end zone, just out of reach for the diving Chung. It was a beautiful capper to a beautiful game-winning drive in a beautiful regular season finale.