MIAMI -- Welcome to the big time, Ryan Tannehill. And welcome to the Dolphins, Michael Thomas.
The Dolphins' quarterback went out and beat Tom Brady.
Tannehill directed a 60-yard, game-winning touchdown drive, capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Thigpen with 75 seconds left.
Then it was on the Dolphins' patchwork defense to make it hold up.
Thomas, signed last week, did just that. He first broke up a would-be touchdown pass to Danny Amendola, then intercepted Brady in the end zone on fourth-and-5.
The Dolphins improved to 8-6 with the win. The Patriots fell to 10-4.
The Patriots opened the scoring with a 16-play, 83-yard that culminated with a 22-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The Patriots would have had more if it wasn't tight defense by Jimmy Wilson on third-and-goal from the 4, knocking down a pass intended for Josh Boyce.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, couldn't get out of their own way. After finally putting together a productive drive, the Dolphins were in position to kick a 42-yard field goal. But holder Brandon Fields wasn't ready for the snap, which hit him in the facemask.
That's all the spark Tom Brady needed. He capped off a productive drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Michael Hoomanawanui that was so pretty, words barely do it justice.
First, Brady stepped up to avoid pressure, then dropped a perfect pass to his tight end, which Hoomanawanui caught one-handed, to boot.
Finally, Tannehill and the Dolphins offense woke up. They covered 82 yards in two plays, with Mike Wallace doing the hardest lifting. He caught a post pass, broke a tackle and then raced 39 yards to the end zone to cut the lead to 10-7 at the half.
The Dolphins tied it up early in the third, as the Dolphins were able to execute a successful snap and hold, with Caleb Sturgis booting through a 32-yard field goal.
Miami's roll continued on its next drive, courtesy of Tannehill's arm and a little bit of misdirection. Down on New England's goal line, he faked the give to Daniel Thomas, faked the reverse to Wallace and then found Thomas wide open for a 2-yard touchdown catch.
Finally, the Patriots' offense woke up as the Dolphins had to dig deep into their bench. Nolan Carroll and Brent Grimes both missed parts of the next drive, with Brady finding Julian Edelman early and often. Finally, a free-running Derrick Shelby ended the drive when he rushed Brady's third-down throw, leading to a 23-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.
Neither Carroll nor Grimes were on the field when the Patriots next got the ball, meaning Jimmy Wilson was the team's base corner.
Brady exploited the weakness. He carved up the Dolphins on seven plays, going 73 yards in 2:36, capped by a 24-yard catch and run by Edelman.
Down a field goal, the Dolphins went all-in on their next drive. Coach Joe Philbin elected to go for it on fourth-and-5, and a second effort from Charles Clay on his first catch of the day kept the drive alive. A 24-yard catch down the left sidelines by Rishard Matthews put the Dolphins in field-goal range.
Tannehill had bigger plans.
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