The Dolphins saw a 17-0 halftime lead disappear in the second half and then saw a valiant comeback effort fall just short, as the Patriots picked up a 27-24 win to complete the season sweep of the Dolphins.
Trailing 27-17, the Dolphins got the ball back with 2:56 to go in the fourth quarter and moved 80 yards in just over a minute to pull within one score. Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense, though, were able to kill off the final 1:48 to clinch a first round bye in the AFC playoffs.
While the Fins dominated the first two quarters on both sides of the ball, New England was equally impressive in the final two quarters as they came back thanks in large part to some critical Miami errors. A fumbled snap and an interception by QB Matt Moore were huge, as were the adjustments made by the New England defense.
The Dolphins opened the scoring with a 47-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter, which gave them a 3-0 lead after one quarter. In the second, Moore found Brandon Marshall for a 19-yard touchdown and Charles Clay from a yard out to extend the lead heading to the locker room.
In the second half, though, the Fins could only manage a late 15-yard TD pass from Moore to Davone Bess as Brady ran for two and threw one touchdown after halftime.
Reggie Bush left the game late with an apparent leg injury, but still carried the ball 22 times for 113 yards to go over 1,000 yards on the season for the first time in his career. It was also his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game.
Moore finished the day 17-of-33 for 294 yards, three TDs, and the interception while Brady threw for 304 yards and combined for the three touchdowns.
The Fins now head into the final week of the 2011 season as they get ready for next Sunday’s finale against the Jets at Sun Life Stadium.
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