Happy New Year, one final time.
Not so happy for Miami Dolphins fans.
In one not-so-happy moment, Kyle Dugger intercepted Teddy Bridgewater and returned it 39 yards for a go-ahead TD late in the third quarter as the New England Patriots kept their playoff hopes alive by rallying to beat Miami 23-21 on Sunday.
Miami played without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who’s in concussion protocol for the second time this season. Bridgewater started in his place and was solid, completing 12 of 19 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown before leaving late in the third quarter with an injured right ring finger after being picked off by Dugger.
Bridgewater, who didn’t return, was replaced by Skylar Thompson. He had an interception and a late TD pass to Mike Gesicki to trim the deficit to 23-21. He finished 12 of 21 for 104 yards.
The Patriots (8-8) snapped a four-game losing streak to their AFC East rivals and can earn a playoff berth with a win at Buffalo next week. Mac Jones finished 20 of 33 for 203 yards.
The Dolphins (8-8) entered with a chance to clinch a postseason berth with a victory and loss by the New York Jets at Seattle. Instead, Miami lost its fifth straight game and will need to win next week against the Jets and Buffalo to beat New England to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Weeks 1-3, Dolphins go 3-0; weeks 4-6:0-3; weeks 7-12: 5-0 and weeks 13-16: 0-4, their first winless December since 1993.
The Miami Dolphins head into week 18 needing help to enter the playoffs after an 8-3 record.
Dolphins lost by 2, and Jason Sanders missed a 51-yard field goal with 6:21 to play in the second quarter.
The Dolphins have been very unlucky at the quarterback position this season. The injuries and poor play have doomed this football team this season. You can look at a portion of the losses and trace it back to untimely interceptions and inconsistent play. Unfortunately, this is a very talented roster and a better team than we have seen. They will likely miss the playoffs, which is devastating considering this team started 8-3; I would never envision losing five games in a row.
Injuries to this team are the big elephant in the room for this team. Xavien Howard, Terron Armstead, and Byron Jones has been out the entire season, Brandon Jones has been out, Nik Needam has battled an injury, Bradley Chubb did not play in this Patriots game dealing with ankle and hand injury, their defensive MVP, last season Emmanuel Ogbah, has missed five games in a row including what I mentioned regarding the quarterback position injuries. The Dolphins team, who played credit to them, almost won the game.
If the doctors clear Tagovailoa from the concussion protocol, he should play hosting the New York Jets. If he is not cleared, Dolphins should keep the playbook simple and conservative for Thompson. Don’t beat yourself, have a game plan where you run the football and get the ball to your playmakers Jaylen waddle and Tyreek Hill and let the other team beat you; Dolphins have been beating themselves lately.
Thompson does give the Dolphins enough to win at home. The Jets are not any different from the Dolphins in their struggles. The Jets will have Mike White back at quarterback, but the Dolphins are the better overall team than the jets. They should win this game at home if they follow the game plan running the football and getting it to the playmakers without bad passes.