Jaylen Waddle broke the NFL rookie single-season record for receptions, and Xavien Howard scored on a pick-six as the host Miami Dolphins upset the New England Patriots 33-24 on Sunday afternoon.
New England (10-7), which entered the week already having clinched a playoff berth, lost a shot at winning the AFC East division title, although that became a moot point when Buffalo beat the New York Jets.
The Patriots on Sunday were led by Brandon Bolden, who scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Mac Jones completed 20 of 30 passes for 261 yards, one TD and one interception.
Miami (9-8), which had already been eliminated from playoff contention, got touchdowns from Waddle, Howard and Duke Johnson. Waddle finished the regular season with 104 catches for 1,015 yards.
He broke the NFL rookie reception record of 101 set by Anquan Boldin in 2003.
This was the first time since 2000 that Miami swept its annual two-game season series with New England.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 15 of 22 passes for 109 yards, one TD and no interceptions.
Miami took the opening kickoff and scored a touchdown on Tagovailoa’s 7-yard pass to Waddle. That drive went 77 yards on 13 plays as Miami converted three times on third down. Tagovailoa went 7 of 7 for 54 yards, including the throw to Waddle on third and inches. Waddle, uncovered, made a leaping grab.
On New England’s first possession, Howard scored on his 37-yard interception return. Howard faked man coverage and jumped a different route in his zone for his 27th interception since 2017.
The Dolphins stretched their lead to 17-0 on Jason Sanders’ 30-yard field goal with 11:09 left before halftime. That 15-play, 77-yard drive was kept alive on Bolden’s roughing penalty after a fake-punt run by punter Michael Palardy had failed.
New England cut its deficit to 17-7 on Bolden’s 15-yard run with 7:36 left in the second quarter. Bolden broke a tackle and made two moves on the third-and-1 play.
The Patriots took the second-half kickoff and cashed in on Nick Folk’s 43-yard field goal.
But Miami, on its ensuing possession, stretched its lead to 24-10 on Johnson’s 1-yard run around right end.
After a 49-yard fourth-quarter field goal by Sanders, New England cut its deficit to 27-17 on Jones’ dump pass to Bolden, who turned it into an 18-yard touchdown with 6:32 left.
Damien Harris’ 1-yard TD run with just 2:53 left cut further into Miami’s lead at 27-24.
But Miami made two first downs, and the Patriots had just three seconds when they got the ball back at their own 2-yard line.
New England tried a final-play lateral, which resulted in a fumble-recovery touchdown for Miami’s Sam Eguavoen.
–Field Level Media