The Miami Dolphins had the New England Patriots reeling in the first half. Behind the play of Matt Moore and Reggie Bush, the Dolphins opened the game to a 17 to nothing lead before giving the Patriots a field goal to go into halftime. Bush, who entered the game needing just over 20 yards to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark on the season, took the Patriots porous defense to school and quickly gained the needed yards.
Bush’s 1,000 yard season is his first as an NFL player and marks the first time in Miami Dolphins’ history that they have had both a 1,000 yard receiver (Brandon Marshall) and rusher in the same season. It all went for nothing after the halftime break as the team reverted back to it’s same old game play allowing the Patriots to get back into the game and eventually take the lead for good.
In the second half, the Patriots scored two touchdowns on Tom Brady‘s legs adding another through the air. Despite a late game heroic attempt by Matt Moore who spent most of the second half scrambling for his life, Moore was left standing on the sideline as the final two minutes ticked off with the Dolphins defense on the field. Moore led the team on a late game drive that ended with a TD pass to WR Davone Bess bringing the team to within three.
Interim head coach Todd Bowles opted to kick the ball away as opposed to going for the onside kick. He had three time outs left. More than the decision or non decision to kick an onside kick, the Dolphins failed to make any halftime adjustments opting instead to stay the course with what was working in the first half. It didn’t work in the second half.
The loss means nothing for the Dolphins in the overall scheme of things. Todd Bowles will find it harder to remain the permanent head coach and the Dolphins will still be looking for both a new HC and a franchise QB. For New England, they clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
In terms of draft slotting, the Bills and Panthers both win and will move to 6 wins on the season leaving only Miami and Washington with five wins entering the final weekend of the season. Of the teams in front of Miami, only Minnesota won moving to three wins on the season making the first overall pick slotted to either the Rams or Colts. The Dolphins will remain, for this week, in the eighth spot.