Patriots

BSJ Game Report: Dolphins 27, Patriots 20 — Rare late-season clunker

(Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Everything you need to know about the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins in quickie form with BSJ insight and analysis:

HEADLINES

Patriots didn't come ready to play: Was trying to figure out the last time the Patriots had a chance to clinch the division — the proverbial t-shirt and hat game — and failed to deliver. But that's what happened in this one. Through three quarters, the Patriots trailed 27-10 and were outgained 329 to 151. To that point, Tom Brady was 15 of 26 for 134 yards and two interceptions for a passer rating of 39.6. On the other side, Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake had 95 yards on 19 carries and had 80 yards receiving, and Jay Cutler was 21 of 28 for 248 yard and three touchdowns for 137.2 rating. Talk about a bizarro world.

Patriots really missed Gronk: With Rob Gronkowski suspended for the game, the Dolphins were able to free up their safeties to play more in the box against the run and to aid in the pass rush. That cut down on the Patriots’ ability to run the ball, and it forced Brady more to the outside and deep with his passes. That was a good mix for them. The Patriots were an astonishing 0-for-11 on third downs.

Tom Brady struggled with his deep accuracy: Brady was picked off twice and both balls were underthrown, as was a deep pass down the right sideline to Chris Hogan when he had a few steps on the defender. If Brady was more accurate, the Patriots hit the one or two passes needed to loosen up the Dolphins defense. It never happened and that emboldened the Dolphins.

TURNING POINT