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(Sunday, December 6th)
Final Score: Miami 22, New England 21
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Dan Carpenter kicked a 41-yard field goal with 62 seconds remaining to give Miami the lead and Channing Crowder intercepted Tom Brady moments later, as the Dolphins tightened the AFC East race with a 22-21 victory over the New England Patriots at Land Shark Stadium.
Chad Henne threw for a career-high 335 yards with two touchdowns for the Dolphins (6-6), who rallied from a 14-0 first-half deficit and bounced back with a strong effort after last week's ugly loss in Buffalo.
"I felt like we could throw the ball and we did," said Dolphins coach Tony Sparano. "The offensive line did a nice job and guys played with a lot of emotion. I took my hat off to those guys in the locker room. There's too many times we come in here and give the other team credit."
Brady completed 19-of-29 passes for 352 yards with a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions for New England (7-5), which has lost two in a row and three of its last four. The Patriots were coming off a 38-17 loss at New Orleans on Monday night and now lead the division by just one game over Miami and the New York Jets.
After the Dolphins failed on 4th-and-2 from the New England 39 with just under five minutes left, the Miami defense forced the Patriots into a three-and-out. The Dolphins got the ball back at their own 26 with 3:44 remaining and Henne completed a pair of passes for a total of 27 yards to put Miami across midfield.
Henne soon after faced 4th-and-6 from the New England 41 and hit Greg Camarillo for 13 yards to pick up the first down at the two-minute warning. Three straight carries by Ricky Williams set up Carpenter's go-ahead kick with 1:02 to play.
The Patriots took over at their own 22 following the kickoff and picked up 11 yards on their first play before a deep pass fell incomplete. Brady was then rushed and threw as he was falling. The pass went right into the hands of Crowder. The play was reviewed to determine if Brady's knee hit the turf prior to the throw, but the interception stood.
"It was a tight game, obviously, but they made a few more plays than we did," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Brady, who entered the contest with questions about a finger injury, threw touchdown passes of 58 yards to Randy Moss and 81 yards to Sam Aiken. His favorite target, however, was Wes Welker, who finished with 10 catches for 167 yards. The former Dolphin, though, did not catch a pass on any of New England's final three possessions.
"Overall, [the Dolphins] did a great job through the stretch and we didn't," said Welker.
New England, which notched a 27-17 win over Miami in Foxboro on November 8, fell to 0-5 in true road games this season. The only win for the Patriots as the road team came in London against Tampa Bay.
The Patriots wasted little time in taking the early lead, as Brady hit Moss in stride with a 58-yard touchdown pass on the sixth offensive play. Brady was drilled by Randy Starks after he threw the pass and trotted to the locker room, but quickly returned to the sideline during Miami's first offensive series.
Miami crossed midfield with its initial possession, but a sack and a fumble out of the Wildcat formation lost 22 yards on consecutive plays and eventually forced a punt.
New England went right back to work with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a six-yard touchdown run by Kevin Faulk on the first play of the second quarter for a 14-0 lead.
The Dolphins answered with an 88-yard drive, converting a trio of third downs on the 10-play set. A 29-yard pass to Camarillo on 3rd-and-4 kept it alive early and Henne found Davone Bess with a 13-yard TD strike on another third down for the score.
Miami got the ball back after a New England punt and again moved across midfield, but Henne was intercepted on a deep pass by Brandon Meriwether and a 58-yard throw from Brady to Welker quickly put the Patriots in scoring range. The Dolphin defense stiffened inside their own five and stopped Sammy Morris short of a first down on 4th-and-1 from the six.
With just 1:55 left before the break, the Dolphins moved with stunning ease against the New England defense and added three points with one second to play when Carpenter connected on a 29-yard field goal.
The Dolphins went three-and-out to start the second half and the Patriots extended their lead on their second offensive play after the punt, as Aiken out-leaped Miami cornerback Sean Smith along the right sideline for a catch and turned it into an 81-yard touchdown.
Ted Ginn Jr. returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards and a pass interference penalty set up a first down inside the New England 10, but the Patriot defense forced a 24-yard field goal from Carpenter to make it a 21-13 game.
The Dolphins got the ball right back after a New England punt and drove 64 yards for a touchdown. Miami converted 4th-and-1 inside the 10-yard line before Henne found Brian Hartline in the back of the end zone for a seven-yard score. A two-point pass fell incomplete, leaving the Dolphins down by two late in the third quarter.
New England drove deep into Miami territory early in the fourth, keyed by catches of 12 and 18 yards by Welker. Brady, though, from the five-yard line was picked off by Vontae Davis in the end zone to keep Miami's deficit at two with just over 9 1/2 minutes remaining.
"When you get in the red area and don't score touchdowns, you're going to give the other team an opportunity," said Brady. "We certainly had our opportunities today and we didn't [take advantage of] them."
Crowder notched his first career interception...Henne completed 29-of-52 passes...Bess finished with 10 catches for 117 yards in the victory, while Williams ran for 75 yards on 18 carries...Moss had just two catches for 66 yards...Welker's 58-yard catch in the second quarter was his longest reception of the season...The Dolphins were 10-of-19 on third down, while New England finished 4-for-10...The Patriots were also penalized six times for 82 yards and Miami was flagged just twice for 10...The Dolphins were without center Jake Grove because of an ankle injury, while the Patriots were missing guard Stephen Neal because of an ankle problem...New England hosts Carolina next week, while Miami visits Jacksonville.
12/06 18:29:22 ET
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