MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It was a Miami miracle.
With their playoff hopes hanging on by a slim thread, the Dolphins called a last-ditch hook-and-ladder appropriately named “Boise.” Two pitches, a cross-field zigzag and Kenyan Drake outrunning a stumbling Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown as time expired resulted in a 34-33 Dolphins victory Sunday over the Patriots.
“We have something for those type of situations. We work on it every Friday and Saturday,” coach Adam Gase said. “It’s boring because you might go three years without calling one of them. But these guys stuck with it and they executed that one for sure.”
Ryan Tannehill, on his own 31-yard line, dropped back for a pass to Kenny Stills. Multiple Patriots surrounded him, but Stills pitched the ball to receiver DeVante Parker as he was falling down.
Stills’ key role in the touchdown came after he dropped a third-down pass that could have extended a fourth-quarter comeback drive on the Dolphins’ previous possession; he responded with a timely, heads-up play in the game’s biggest moment.
“The Miami miracle sounds nice,” Stills said.
Parker pitched to running back Drake, who broke a tackle, looked for another player to pitch for before deciding to turn it back upfield. He outran several Patriots, but the final man between he and the end zone was Gronkowski.
The Patriots likely put Gronkowski back there preparing for a jump ball situation, but he was a liability as a tackler as Drake tightroped the sideline running right past him. Gronkowski lost his footing and tripped as Drake galloped into the end zone.
“The way it ended sucked,” Gronkowski said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that. I feel like it’s going to test our character big-time. I have to make that tackle.”
Hard Rock Stadium erupted in cheers. Drake was mobbed by a host of teammates. Two Dolphins offensive line laid on the field doing simulated snow angles. Patriots players, in shock, walked toward the locker room.
‘(There’s) a lot of excitement,” Gase said. “Those guys are fired up.’
Miami has long been the Patriots’ house of horrors, and Sunday might have the most horrifying loss of them all for the Patriots. Miami has now won five of their last six homes games vs. the Patriots. Tom Brady is 7-10 vs. the Dolphins in Miami.
The Dolphins (7-6) prevented the Patriots (9-4) from clinching the AFC East for the 10th consecutive time on their home-field. They also moved into a tie for 6th place with Baltimore, Indianapolis and Tennessee for the No.6 AFC playoff spot.
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