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Henne rallies Dolphins past Patriots and back into playoff mix

MIAMI -- The New England Patriots' road woes sent Tom Brady to his knees Sunday. When his final desperation pass was intercepted, he stooped over and buried his face in the turf, as if trying to hide.

There was no escaping the blown opportunities for Brady and the Patriots, who missed repeated chances to put the game away in the fourth quarter before the Miami Dolphins rallied for a 22-21 victory.

On NFL Replay
NFL Replay will re-air the Miami Dolphins' 22-21 win over the New England  Patriots on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Chad Henne threw for a career-high 335 yards and directed a 51-yard drive for the winning field goal with 1:02 left.

"When you lose, it's an awful feeling," Brady said. "We're just not closing the game out when we have an opportunity."

AFC East leader New England (7-5) remained winless in five games in opponents' stadiums. For the third time on the road, the Patriots lost after leading in the fourth quarter.

"If things don't go your way, you've got to fight back," Brady said. "At times we do, and at other times I don't think we fight very hard."

The Dolphins (6-6) overcame an early 14-point deficit to keep their playoff prospects alive.

"It puts us right back in the thick of things," coach Tony Sparano said.

The verdict was sealed when Channing Crowder made his first career interception, picking off Brady at the Patriots 40 with 35 seconds left.

Brady went to the locker room early in the game for treatment of an arm injury, but he returned without missing a play. He finished 19 for 29 for 352 yards and two long touchdowns, but he also threw two fourth-quarter interceptions, and New England scored only once in the final 44 minutes.

Four downs



» Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne is 4-1 at home as a starter.

» Dolphins WR Davone Bess recorded career-highs in receptions (10) and receiving yards (117).

» The Patriots are 1-5 on the road this season. The only road win was vs. the Buccaneers in London's Wembley Stadium).

» The Patriots suffered their first defeat in their last eleven games following a loss.

Brady declined to blame his health, even though he came in with right shoulder and finger injuries.

"There are a lot of guys who are banged up," he said. "I don't think many guys are 100 percent. It's late in the year. It's a physical game. You've still got to go out and get the job done."

Leading 21-19, the Patriots had first-and-goal at the 4 with 10 minutes left, but Brady was intercepted in the end zone by rookie Vontae Davis, who stepped in front of Randy Moss to make the play.

"Going against the top receivers week in and week out, you've got to grow up sometime," Davis said. "Today was one of those days to grow up."

New England subsequently forced Miami to punt twice, but each time Brady and the Patriots went three and out. On one play Brady overthrew an open Sam Aiken deep.

The Dolphins started from their 26 with 3:44 to go. On fourth-and-6, Henne hit Greg Camarillo for 13 yards to the Patriots 28. That set up Dan Carpenter's third field goal, a 41-yarder.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 58 yards to Moss and 81 yards to Aiken, and he also had a 58-yard completion to Wes Welker.

But New England twice failed to score inside the Miami 10. The Patriots were stopped on downs at the 6 in the second quarter.

"I have to coach better," coach Bill Belichick said. "We have to play better, just do a better job."

Welker had 10 receptions for 167 yards, but Moss was held to two catches.

"They're focusing a lot on him," Brady said. "You've got to get the ball to other guys when they do that."

Henne went 29 for 52 with one interception. It was the most passes thrown by the run-oriented Dolphins since 2006, and Henne endorsed Sparano's surprising game plan.

"If he wants to, we can throw all day," Henne said. "I love it. Put it in my hands in pressure situations."


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Brady hurt his arm taking a hit as he threw the touchdown bomb to Moss on the opening series. While the Patriots celebrated, their quarterback trotted off the field and kept going, vanishing through the tunnel.

He returned five minutes later, and following a Miami punt he was back in the game to direct a 13-play, 80-yard drive for a 14-0 lead.

On the Patriots' first play of the second half, Aiken caught a pass near midfield by snatching the ball away from rookie Sean Smith, who fell and then watched the receiver dash to the end zone.

But the Patriots didn't score again, and they couldn't stop the Dolphins at the end.

"You have to be mentally tough to win on the road," Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather said. "Right now, our team isn't mentally tough like it's supposed to be."

Notes: For the first time this season, Miami didn't run a wildcat play. ... Broadcaster Larry King joined the Dolphins' radio team for part of the game. King did color commentary for the Dolphins in 1969-71 and in 1977. ... Miami's Davone Bess had 10 catches for 117 yards, both career highs. ... In the past nine games, Brady has thrown only one fourth-quarter touchdown pass.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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