EditorsNote: Adds Titans as wild-card opponent
Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mike Gesicki with just 24 seconds left in the game as the Miami Dolphins upset the host New England Patriots 27-24 on Sunday afternoon at Foxborough, Mass.
The Patriots (12-4), who started the season 8-0, could have clinched a first-round playoff bye with the win. Instead, their loss combined with Kansas City’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers dropped the Pats to the No. 3 seed — and means New England must host the Tennessee Titans in the wild-card round while the Chiefs get the bye.
It’s the first time since 2009 that the Patriots failed to get a first-round playoff bye. That season, New England won the AFC East but lost in the wild-card round to Baltimore. Since Brady became New England’s starting quarterback, the Patriots have played in the wild-card round three times. They are 2-1 in wild-card games and 3-3 overall, failing to reach a Super Bowl.
Miami (5-11), which started this season 0-7, won at New England for the first time since 2008. The Dolphins entered this game as 16-point underdogs.
Brady, who passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, is 15-2 at home against Miami.
Fitzpatrick completed 28-of-41 passes for 320 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions.
Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker had a big game with eight catches for 137 yards.
But one of Miami’s biggest moments came in the second quarter, when former Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe scored on a 35-yard interception return. It was Rowe’s first interception of the season and the first pick-six Brady has ever thrown against Miami.
Miami, beaten 43-0 at home by the Patriots on Sept. 15, got off to a great start on Sunday, taking a 10-0 lead on Jason Sanders’ 27-yard field goal and Rowe’s pick-six. Rowe stepped in front of Julian Edelman to make his play.
But New England went into halftime tied 10-10 on Nick Folk’s 25-yard field goal and Sony Michel’s 4-yard scoring run.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter. Fitzpatrick scrambled for a 2-yard score, and linebacker Elandon Roberts — who moonlights as a fullback — caught a 38-yard TD pass from Brady, breaking a tackle along the way. It was Roberts’ first career catch.
Miami took a 20-17 lead on Sanders’ 32-yard field goal with 8:29 left in the fourth.
New England took its first lead of the game, 24-20, on an eight-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a third-and-goal screen pass to James White that became a 13-yard touchdown.
Fitzpatrick then rallied Miami, engineering a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, with the flip to Gesicki at the end.
Brady tried to force overtime with a potential field-goal drive, but the Patriots could only gain 12 yards on five plays.
—Field Level Media