The Patriots will not be going to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Miami ran the ball down the Patriots’ throats and picked up 250 rushing yards in a 22-12 win that eliminated the Patriots from playoff contention in their first season. The last playoff miss came when Tom Brady tore his ACL in the season opener and this one comes with Brady now playing for the Buccaneers.
The Patriots led Sunday’s game 6-0 at halftime, but the Dolphins took the lead with a touchdown to open the third quarter and added two more while the Patriots remained unable to get the ball into the end zone. It’s fitting that the offense was so ineffective in the coda to their playoff hopes as the unit’s issues were a major issue all season.
Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah delivered the final blow with a sack of Cam Newton as the Patriots tried to convert a fourth down with just over a minute left to play.
New England’s run defense was a more recent concern and they took a step backward after allowing the Rams to go for 186 yards last week. Salvon Ahmed had 116 yards, Matt Breida had 86, and Tua Tagovailoa scored twice on the ground. Tagovailoa became the sixth rookie quarterback to beat the Patriots in the Belichick era and the Dolphins took a step toward joining the Bills in the playoffs in what’s become a season of change in the AFC East.
Miami will work for a win in Las Vegas next weekend in order to move closer to toward booking that berth. While that’s going on, the Patriots will play their first game with nothing but a spot in the draft order at stake in a very long time when they host the division winners from Buffalo.