Week 17 Game Recap: Miami Dolphins 28, New England Patriots 26
What you need to know
With this win against the Patriots, the Miami Dolphins have won their last six games to end the 2005 season on a high note.
Ricky Williams continued in the role of featured running back and turned in 108 rushing yards on his 28 carries. In the first quarter he rushed in for a two yard score. He had a second touchdown brought back with a holding penalty. Ronnie Brown contributed minimally to the game with eight rushes for 21 yards.
For the second and third quarters, it seemed as though the only scoring that would be done would be by the kickers. Olindo Mare made four field goals, three over that span.
Marty Booker was Gus Frerotte’s favorite target in this game, receiving 11 looks in the offense. He converted seven of them into receptions, including a 15 yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Chris Chambers ended his streak of four straight games with at least one touchdown, though he did pull in five catches for 75 yards.
With two successful drives in the fourth quarter, the Patriots narrowed the Dolphins’ lead and were within a two point conversion of tying the game.
Tom Brady only played through the first quarter. He was intercepted on the Patriots’ opening drive of the game, but it was not his fault as David Givens tipped the ball into the air and Lance Schulters came down with it. His last completion of the game was an 11 yard touchdown strike to Deion Branch.
Corey Dillon did not play in the game, and the Patriots’ rushing attack was anemic at best. Kevin Faulk, Patrick Pass, Heath Evans rushed for 45 yards on 21 carries between the three of them.
In a very surprising play, Doug Flutie came in and drop kicked the extra point after Tim Dwight’s touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. This was the first successful dropped kick extra point in the NFL since 1941.
Matt Cassel came in relief of Brady. The Patriots’ offense stumbled without Brady at the helm until the fourth quarter when Cassel led them downfield on two scoring drives. He completed touchdown passes to Tim Dwight and TE Ben Watson. But the two point conversion attempt that would have tied the game and sent it into overtime was no good.
What you ought to know
|QB Gus Frerotte, Pass: 22 - 35 - 239 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 19 - 0|
Frerotte completed 22 of his 35 passing attempts for 239 yards. He led the Dolphins on a scoring drive to start the third quarter that used up nearly five minutes of time and resulted in a field goal. With his touchdown pass to Marty Booker in the fourth quarter, Frerotte set a career high with 18 touchdown passes in a season.
In the first quarter, Williams rushed straight up the middle to score a two yard touchdown. Williams had a second touchdown on a 16 yard run nullified with a holding penalty, and the Dolphins were forced to settle for a field goal. Williams limped off the field near the end of the first half, but was back in the game at the start of second half. This was the second 100 plus rushing game in a row and this season for Williams.
|RB Ronnie Brown, Rush: 8 - 21 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)|
Brown carried the ball for the first time in the second quarter and gained two yards on his carry and finished with only 21 yards on his eight carries. With Ricky Williams effectively moving the chains, Brown remained second fiddle in the Dolphins’ run game.
Booker was the leading receiving for the Dolphins both in yardage and targets. Booker made an eight yard reception in the first quarter. He also made a 16 yard reception to the two yard line that set up Ricky Williams’ touchdown run. He had a pass knocked away by Ellis Hobbs. He made a sharp 18 yard reception along the sidelines. In the fourth quarter, Booker made a 15 yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone.
For the first game since November, Chambers did not score a touchdown, though he did make five completions for 75 yards. Chambers made an 11 yard reception during the first quarter. He made his second reception of 20 yards during the opening drive of the second half. Chambers was well covered on a deep passing attempt in the fourth quarter. He made a 20 yard reception in the fourth quarter.
Both of Welker’s receptions of 11 and nine yards were for third down conversions.
Gilmore was targeted in the end zone, but it was overthrown.
McMichael was targeted on the opening drive. He made his first catch for nine yards during the Dolphins’ second drive and that was his longest reception of the game.
Diamond made a ten yard reception in the fourth quarter that helped to set up Marty Booker’s touchdown.
Mare made field goal attempts of 36, 38 and 41 and 42 yards. He also converted two extra point attempts.
The Dolphins blitzed New England at the one yard line and gained a safety off of a sack of Matt Cassel. The Dolphins held the Patriots’ rushing game in check and to a total of 55 rushing yards. Zach Thomas led the team with nine tackles and one assist.
Brady was intercepted on the opening drive of the game by Lance Schulters, but Miami’s offense was quickly stalled and went three and out. An interception that would have ended the game, was nullified with a roughing the passer penalty. And instead, two plays later, Cassel completed his second touchdown pass bringing the game within two points for the Patriots.
|QB Matt Cassel, Pass: 11 - 20 - 168 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0|
Cassel, a rookie out of USC, came in to the game for Tom Brady near the end of the second quarter. After fairly mediocre play, he led the Patriots on a touchdown scoring drive in the fourth quarter completing a nine yard touchdown pass to Tim Dwight. With no time remaining, Cassel threw a touchdown pass to Ben Watson. But he was unable to make the two point conversion attempt that would have tied the game.
|QB Tom Brady, Pass: 3 - 8 - 37 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
Brady only played for two series of the game through the first quarter. He was intercepted, but the pass was deflected into the air by David Givens. His second drive resulted in a touchdown pass to David Branch.
Flutie came into play with a little over six minutes to play in the fourth quarter. He came in after Cassel’s touchdown pass to Dwight and drop kicked to score an extra point. The first successful drop kick in the NFL since 1941.
Pass gained seven yards on his first carry of the game. He was used throughout the game and was the leading rusher for the Patriots with his nine carries for 26 yards. But playing behind in the game, the Patriots abandoned the rush.
|RB Heath Evans, Rush: 6 - 7 - 0, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (2 targets)|
Evans gained one yard to make a successful fourth down conversion attempt. Near the end of the game, Evans turned a short catch into a 19 yard gain.
Faulk got the start in the game but was not effective rushing. He only carried the ball six times for 12 yards; his longest rush was for five yards.
Dillon was inactive for the game.
|WR Tim Dwight, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 26 - 1 (3 targets)|
Dwight made a nine yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Childress saw a couple of targets with Matt Cassel in the game. He drew a defensive interference penalty near the end of the first half that helped to set up Adam Vinatieri’s 49 yard field goal. Childress added a 21 yard reception near the end of the game.
Davis was targeted deep with the first pass of the game but was overthrown. His best contribution to the game was a 64 yard kick off return in the first half. And then he made a 36 yard reception in the third quarter that set up a field goal.
Branch made an eight yard reception on the opening drive. He made an 11 yard touchdown reception at the back of the end zone. Branch had a six yard reception in the fourth quarter brought back with a holding penalty against Tim Dwight.
Givens had a pass go right through his hands during the Patriots’ first drive. He made an 18 yard reception two plays later. He deflected a pass into the air that he should have caught, and Miami intercepted the ball.
Watson had his first target go through his hands. He was targeted in the red zone by Cassel in the third quarter, but it was a poorly thrown pass. He made his first reception in the fourth quarter, a nice 30 yard catch. And at the end of the game, scored the Patriots’ third touchdown with his nine yard reception.
Vinatieri made a 49 yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, his longest of the season. He made a 33 yard attempt in the third quarter. He made one extra point attempt in the first quarter.
The Patriots’ rush defense had no answer for Ricky Williams who rushed for 108 yards against them. They gave up an additional 40 yards to Ronnie Brown and Gus Frerotte. Frerotte was sacked twice in the game. Matt Chatham led the team with eight tackles.
The Patriots gave up 239 passing yards to Gus Frerotte. They did not get very much pressure on him and he was able to find his receivers throughout the game.