The Patriots do not lose games like this, and yet they did.
The Dolphins stunned the Bill Belichick-coached team on Monday (AEDT) with a 69-yard, lateral-filled last-play that ended in the end zone, turning a 33-28 Patriots victory into a 34-33 heatbreaker.
With seven seconds left from his own 31-yard line, quarterback Ryan Tannehill dropped back and passed to Kenny Stills near midfield.
After dancing for a second, he pivoted and tossed to DeVante Parker, who gained a few yards before a soft toss to a streaking Kenyan Drake.
The running back broke one tackle, slowed up and let blocks develop, and suddenly only had to beat Rob Gronkowski — Rob Gronkowski? — for the touchdown.
Gronk was on the field in case a Hail Mary developed, and the move backfired as Drake beat the tight end on his 52-yard charge to the end zone.
The Dolphins’ bench emptied as teammates mobbed Drake as Pats coach Bill Belichick faced immediate criticism on his decision to put Gronk in on defence.
Tom Brady threw for 358 yards and three scores, but the stunned Patriots lost in Miami for the fifth time in their past six visits.
It is an enormous victory for the 7-6 Dolphins, fighting for their playoff life, and the 9-4 Patriots will take a hit in the hunt for home-field advantage.
PLUCKY BROWNS RUIN CAROLINA
Baker Mayfield outplayed Cam Newton, Jarvis Landry caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score and the Cleveland Browns damaged Carolina’s playoff hopes with a 26-20 win Sunday over the Panthers, who dropped their fifth straight.
Mayfield bravely threw a 51-yard TD pass into traffic to Landry, who had a 3-yard scoring run and added a long run – on a similar call – early in the fourth quarter to set up a go-ahead touchdown.
Playing the spoiler role down the stretch, the Browns (5-7-1) improved to 3-2 under interim coach Gregg Williams, who needed just five games to match former Browns coach Hue Jackson’s win total over two-plus seasons.
The Panthers (6-7) suffered a loss that could haunt them for months and will increase the heat on coach Ron Rivera.
Newton passed for 265 yards, but overthrew Jarius Wright on 4th-and-goal at the 3 with 2:35 left. Carolina got the ball back, but Newton, who has been playing with a sore right shoulder, badly missed Devin Funchess and was intercepted by Damarious Randall with 57 seconds left.
Before taking a knee on the final two plays, Mayfield revved up Cleveland’s crowd, who counted down the final seconds.
Mayfield finished 18 of 22 for 238 yards, continuing his bounce back after throwing three interceptions in the first half last week at Houston. Carolina came in just a half-game out of the second wildcard spot in the NFC, but with only three games left, including two against New Orleans, the Panthers are going to need help to make the postseason.
Christian McCaffrey had two TD runs for Carolina and finished with 101 total yards.
WEEK 14 SCORES
Tennessee Titans 30 Jacksonville Jaguars 9
New York Jets 27 Buffalo Bills 23
Cleveland Browns 26 Carolina Panthers 20
Green Bay Packers 34 Atlanta Falcons 20
Kansas City Chiefs 27 Baltimore Ravens 24
Miami Dolphins 34 New England Patriots 33
New Orleans Saints 28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
New York Giants 40 Washington Redskins 16
Indianapolis Colts 24 Houstan Texans 21