The Associated Press
MIAMI–The celebratory mob scene in the corner of the end zone broke out far from Ryan Tannehill, leaving him in the open field, running and screaming as he waved his arms.
Since he couldn’t find anyone to hug, he flopped to the grass on his back–the job done and the game won.
“I collapsed–just the emotion of the whole thing,” Tannehill said.
Sixteen seconds from defeat, Tannehill threw a short pass and then watched his teammates save the season with the “Drake Escape.”
Kenyan Drake ran the last 52 yards as the Dolphins scored on a pass and double lateral on the final play to beat the New England Patriots 34-33 yesterday.
With that, Miami lived up to its nickname: the Magic City.
“They just made one more play than we did,” said Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick.
And what a play. The Patriots were on the verge of clinching their 10th-straight AFC East title when the Dolphins lined up at their 31 after a kick-off return trailing 33-28.
“We had them right where we wanted,” Tannehill said dryly. “Not really surprised with how things turned out.”
He threw a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills, who lateraled to DeVante Parker, who quickly lateraled to Drake along the sideline.
He cut toward the middle and found a seam, helped by a block from guard Ted Larsen at the 30.
Drake beat two Patriots to the corner of the end zone–defensive back J.C. Jackson and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was on the field as part of New England’s prevent defence.
“Drake runs a 4.3, and ‘Gronk’ probably runs a 4.6 or 4.7, so you feel good about that matchup,” Tannehill said.
Then came one last pass to punctuate the play–Drake reared back for a celebratory heave into the stands as the Dolphins’ bench emptied and teammates swarmed him.
“Football is a crazy game,” said Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady.
The Dolphins call the play “Boise” because it was borrowed from the Boise State playbook, and they had been working on it all year.
“You rep it in practice over and over,” Stills said. “Sometimes it’s like, ‘Why are we doing this?’ And now we know why.”
The play was the longest from scrimmage to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter since the 1970 merger.
Brady threw for 358 yards and three scores, but the stunned Patriots (9-4) lost in Miami for the fifth time in their past six visits.
The Dolphins (7-6) came from behind five times to help their slim wild-card chances.
“We’re playing one week at a time right now,” said Miami coach Adam Gase. “Any loss could be the end.”
The Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point for the first time in 38 tries this season early in the game, and also missed a 42-yard field goal try.
But his 32-yarder to cap a 55-yard drive put the Patriots ahead 30-28 with 6:45 left.
Belichick opted to have Gostkowski kick a 22-yarder in the closing seconds rather than pin the Dolphins near their goal line.
Instead, Miami returned the ensuing kickoff to the 31–and on the next play pulled off a miracle.
Brady broke the NFL record for career touchdown passes including post-season and now has 582, three more than Peyton Manning.
His scores covered two yards to Julian Edelman, 37 to Cordarrelle Patterson, and 16 to Gronkowski.
Elsewhere in the NFL, Green Bay beat Atlanta 34-20, Chicago downed the L.A. Rams 15-6, Detroit upended Arizona 17-3, Dallas edged Philadelphia 29-23 (OT), the N.Y. Giants bombed Washington 40-16, and Kansas City shaded Baltimore 27-24 (OT).
Cleveland beat Carolina 26-20, Indianapolis edged Houston 24-21, New Orleans doubled Tampa Bay 28-14, the N.Y. Jets nipped Buffalo 27-23, the L.A. Chargers downed Cincinnati 26-21, San Francisco upended Denver 20-14, and Oakland upset Pittsburgh 24-21.
Minnesota visits Seattle tonight.