Dolphins in great playoff shape after win over Patriots


A safety that just landed in Miami from another team's practice squad picked off a likely Hall of Fame quarterback to win the game. In a Dolphins season filled with crazy endings, nothing tops this one.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Miami Dolphins' 24-20 win over the New England Patriots from Week 15 on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Safety Michael Thomas, just signed from the San Francisco 49ers, broke up a potential game-winning touchdown pass on first down and intercepted Tom Brady with time running out on fourth down to help the Miami Dolphins beat the New England Patriots on Sunday 24-20.

Here's what we learned from Miami's first win over the Patriots since 2009, the Dolphins' biggest win in years:

1. Ryan Tannehill makes throws that few quarterbacks can make. The Dolphins showed surprising aggression late in the first half to put up a crucial score before halftime. And Tannehill continued to throw some beauties on the game-winning touchdown drive, which gave Miami the lead with 1:21 left. Tannehill is able to throw the fastball and the change-up; he showed onions after Miami fell down 10-0 early.

2. The flow of this game required Tannehill and the Dolphins' offense to carry the team. He came through. It was a big step in his development.

3. Life without Rob Gronkowski wasn't easy. The Patriots' offense racked up 453 yards Sunday, but now relies on eight-yard throws to Julian Edelman and five-yard runs by LeGarrette Blount. Too many of New England's long drives stalled in the red zone. The Patriots couldn't manufacture big plays, especially with rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins out. Their margin for error went way down.

4. Despite the game-ending pick, this felt like one of Tom Brady's best games. He will regret his second-down throw to Danny Amendola with the game on the line. Amendola had Thomas one-on-one and a better throw could have won the close contest.

5. The Patriots lost offensive tackle Nate Solder to a head injury for the second straight week. He might be out for some time, which is a huge loss. Logan Mankins moved to left tackle.

6. Miami is in great shape for the AFC's No. 6 seed at 8-6. The team's schedule is far more favorable than Baltimore's schedule. New England just lost control of home-field advantage and could drop down to the No. 3 seed in the AFC.

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