The Miami Dolphins came from behind in thrilling fashion to defeat the New England Patriots 34-33 with a sensational 69-yard touchdown as time expired.
The game-winning miracle also made NFL history. Drake’s 69-yard touchdown marked the longest touchdown to win a game since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.
The Dolphins (7-6) were nine-point home dogs in this AFC divisional matchup. Despite three touchdowns from Tom Brady, the Patriots (9-4) dropped to 3-4 on the road this season.
Tannenhill > Stills > Parker > Drake
The Patriots led 33-28 with 16 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. With the ball at their own 31-yard line, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill dropped back and completed a 14-yard pass to WR Kenny Stills.
Stills, few yards shy of midfield and the classic Miami logo, quickly turned right and pitched the ball to WR DeVante Parker.
Parker caught the lateral on the 45-yard line and ran a couple of steps. At the 50-yard line, Parker lateraled to Kenyan Drake at the 48-yard line as time expired.
With no time remaining on the clock, Drake scampered down the sidelines, faked another lateral, then cut back toward midfield. Drake saw an angle for the corner of the end zone, but he also found Rob Gronkowski waiting for him.
Tight end Gronkowski played safety on the final play as part of the Patriots’ prevent defense. Drake easily beat Gronk to the goal line for the game winning touchdown.
“The way it ended sucked,” said Gronkowski. “I’ve never been a part of something like that. I have to make that tackle.”
The Dolphins won the game 34-33 on a walk-off touchdown and the entire team mobbed Drake in the end zone. In the victory, Tannenhill completed 14 of 19 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
— NFL (@NFL) December 9, 2018
In a back and forth exchange, the lead swapped hands seven times in the first half. The first quarter ended with a modest 7-6 score and the Dolphins ahead by a point. The offensive exploded in the second quarter with five touchdowns. The Pats pulled ahead late in the second quarter after a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski.
The Dolphins trailed 27-21 at halftime. The bookmakers in Las Vegas set the over/under at 49.5. Both teams combined for 48 points by the end of the second quarter.
Midway through the third quarter, the Dolphins regained the lead on a 23-yard strike from Tannenhill to WR Brice Butler. The Dolphins defense hunkered down and kept the Patriots out of the end zone in the second half.
Two drives in the fourth quarter ended in frustration for Tom Brady and the Pats settled on two field goals from Stephen Gostkowski. The Pats extended their lead to five points with sixteen seconds remaining.
Road Woes for Tommy Boy
The Patriots are undefeated in New England with a 6-0 record, however, the road is a different story completely. The Pats are like two different teams and currently have a losing record (3-4) away from Foxboro.
Brady finished the game with 358 yards on 27 of 43 passing. He threw three touchdowns to three different receivers. Ivy Leaguer, James Develin from Brown, scored the only rushing touchdown for the Patriots.
The offense went out of sync in the second half, but it’s the defense that let Belichick down. The Pats’ run defense allowed 189 yards. Veteran running back Frank Gore rushed for 92 yards on 12 carries for the Dolphins.
The Patriots dropped to 9-4 overall this season with road losses in Jacksonville, Detroit, Tennessee, and Miami.
The Dolphins kept their Wild Card hopes alive and now only two games behind the Patriots in the AFC East. Coming into Week 14, the South Point Casino in Las Vegas listed the Patriots as 5-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl.