The Dolphins season is over, and it ends on a positive note, a 33-24 win over the New England Patriots. For the first time in 18 years, the Dolphins have had consecutive winning seasons, as they have swept the Patriots for the first time in 21 years. Quite remarkable considering the Dolphins were 1-7 at the end of October. Tua Tagovailoa did not play well in the finale but did not make a critical mistake. Meanwhile, Jaylen Waddle made history finishing with a rookie record with 104 receptions breaking the mark set by Anquan Boldin. While the 9-8 season is not good enough for the playoffs, there are positives all around, and if the Dolphins can have a good offseason could be in a position to become a legitimate contender in 2022.
The Patriots came into the game with a chance to win the division if the Bills slipped up and lost to the Jets at home. A longshot, but within reach if they had won in Miami. The Dolphins were just playing for pride as they wore their gorgeous throwbacks, the best uniforms in the NFL, and even threw back the end zone paint to the classic bubble script. The Dolphins got the ball first and set the tone early, driving 77 yards in 13 plays, as Jaylen Waddle caught a seven-yard touchdown pass to set the rookie reception record. The Dolphins quickly made it 14-0 when Xavien Howard returned a Mac Jones interception 37 yards for a touchdown.
As the second quarter started, Miami remained in command as they were able to extend the lead to 17-0 on a 30-yard field goal. However, the Patriots were able to answer with a touchdown, as Mac Jones shook off the early struggles as Brandon Bolden bull-rushed his way into the end zone on a 15-yard run.
Down 17-7 at the half, the Patriots got the ball first in the second half and got a field goal to get the game back within one score. Miami responded with Duke Johnson starting the Dolphins' drive with a 27-yard run. Johnson had another outstanding game with 117 yards on 25 carries, as the worthless Myles Gaskin lost a yard on his only carry of the game. Duke Johnson completed the drive with a one-yard touchdown to stretch the Dolphins' lead to two touchdowns again. As the third quarter came to an end, the Dolphins got another turnover forcing a fumble by Mac Jones. Miami was able to cash in with a Jason Sanders field goal to lead 27-10 early in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots made a charge in the fourth quarter, as Mac Jones was able to lead two scoring drives to get the game back to within a field goal. The first touchdown was an 18-yard pass to Brandon Bolden, where the officials picked up the penalty that appeared to be going against New England for an illegal block. The second drive came following a Dolphins three and out, as Jacoby Meyers reeled in a 39-yard pass from Mac Jones to spark a quick drive that ended with a one-yard score by Damien Harris.
The Patriots had the momentum and three timeouts; the Dolphins had the ball and were able to take down the clock to two seconds as Michael Palardy buried them at their own two-yard line with a perfect punt. The Patriots had just one option lateral the ball down the field, hoping for their own miracle in Miami. At last, it would not happen as the game ended with the Dolphins recovering a fumbled lateral in the end zone to make the final score 33-24.