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Patriots defeat the Dolphins 23-21 and keep playoff hopes alive

Publish Date: 01/02/2023
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

The Patriots defense forced two second-half turnovers, including the game-changing Kyle Duggar pick-six to take the lead. It kept their playoff hopes alive with a 23-21 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Gillette Stadium.

Following a Miami punt on the game’s opening possession, the Patriots offense smoothly operated down the field. It ended the drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones to rookie Tyquan Thornton. A well-called drive from offensive play caller Matt Patricia and a couple of solid throws from Jones provided Patriots fans hope that the offense had finally found some rhythm.

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Those hopes were squashed as the Patriots offense stalled on five consecutive drives. The offense amassed just 55 yards on 19 plays during the stretch that spanned nearly two quarters, showing an inability to muster up any rhythm.

The score was 7-7 for most of the game until the Dolphins took the lead with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter on a Raheem Mostert touchdown catch. In what was a gut-check test, the Patriots followed through with a field goal and a pick-six to regain the lead.

The Patriots offense contributed again in the fourth quarter with a long, impressive drive that ended in a fantastic throw and catches by Jones and Jakobi Meyers. Nursing just a two-point lead at the time, the Patriots went into attack mode and pushed the ball down the field. Jones went deep to Meyers on two consecutive third-down attempts and converted both times.

The Dolphins scored a touchdown late in the game and raised the blood pressure of Patriots fans, but an unsuccessful onside kick sealed the win for the Patriots.

There will be plenty to correct from this game, beginning with the offenseโ€™s inability to move the ball for most of the game. They were also unable to convert on two straight third and one situations. The special teams unit had a costly running into the kicker that set up a fourth and one Miami converted in the first quarter. The Dolphins scored a touchdown and tied the game on that drive. Check out the top football betting strategies.

Nevertheless, the Patriots held on in a must-win game and look to build off of this performance. They head to Buffalo next week for a pseudo-playoff game, where the Patriots will have to win to get into the playoffs as the AFCโ€™s seventh seed.

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