At times it wasn’t pretty but the Miami Dolphins put the New England Patriots away in the final weekend of the regular season to get above .500.
It is hard to believe that two months ago the Dolphins were struggling and on the tail end of a seven game losing streak. Last week their seven game winning streak, and their playoff hopes, all ended but on the final weekend of the year, Miami put the Patriots down.
The win gives Miami their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2002 and 2003 under Dave Wannstedt. While many fans want to see Brian Flores gone, you can’t summarily discount what he has done as a head coach. Although he needs to fix the offense.
The loss by New England doesn’t hurt them. They are already in the playoffs and will play next week in the number five or six spot depending on what happens with the Raiders and Chargers tonight.
Miami jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first half including a pick six by Xavien Howard on the Patriots first series. Miami would allow the Patriots back into the game late. Holding a 27-10 lead, the Patriots clawed their way back to within three. That’s when Tua Tagovailoa stepped up.
Facing third down and 8 on his own side of the field, Tua looked to pass but pulled it down and ran for the first down and with that, pretty much ended any chance of a Patriots comeback.
Three plays later, punter Michael Palardy downed the ball on the three yard line and Sam Eguavoen took a backwards lateral from the Patriots into the endzone as time expired giving Miami a 33-24 victory to close out their season.
There is a lot of room for improvement this off-season but the Dolphins look to be heading in the right direction but how far along they are is another question. For now, it was bookend wins over the Patriots to start and end the year.