By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
December 21, 2004

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MIAMI, FL -- With 3:59 left in the game there were likely many Patriots fans who shut off the television thinking they could get to bed a little earlier thanks to New England quarterback Tom Brady.

After all, Brady had just thrown a touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Graham to put the Patriots up by eleven, and with one of the best quarterbacks in football running the show it would have been tough to imagine this game turning out any differently than any other the Patriots had played all season.

The bad news is when they woke up in the morning they instead found that it was Brady who played the large part in New England giving up that lead, which eventually ended in a shocking 29-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.

It all started with the Patriots defense, who on the ensuing drive let Miami march 68 yards on 7 plays including a pass interference penalty which put the Dolphins at the one yard line. One play later running back Sammy Morris ran it in for a touchdown, and after failing on the two point conversion all of a sudden Miami found themselves within striking distance at 28-23.

But on their ensuing possession the game was handed to the Dolphins when Brady gave Miami the football at the Patriots 21-yard line on an interception that never should have happened.

As Brady dropped back to throw he was facing pressure from the Dolphins defense that had caused him problems for most of the evening. While trying to avoid the rush Brady stepped up and was wrapped up by Jason Taylor, but instead of taking the sack the Pats quarterback attempted to get the ball out to tight end Daniel Graham as Taylor dragged him down. With nothing on the throw Brendon Ayanbadejo intercepted the ball for the Dolphins and suddenly Miami had just the spark they needed.

"It was just a bad play," a frustrated Brady told reporters after the game. "I was trying to throw it and got my arm ripped. You try to make the play when there's not one to be made, and that's when the mistakes come."

Four plays later the Dolphins were in the endzone and after again missing the two point conversion Miami had a one point lead at 29-28 with 1:29 left in the football game.

With one of the coolest quarterbacks and the most clutch kicker in football, the recipe for a victory was still there.

But after being sacked on the first play from scrimmage, Brady faced a 2nd-and-19 and had the majority of Miami's defensive line pushing hard on the play. As Brady stepped up to attempt the pass he had pressure in his face and as a result was unable to follow through on the throw. Arturo Freeman intercepted the pass which closed the door on the game and the Patriots six game winning streak.

It was an uncharacteristically poor night for Brady who finished with four interceptions on the evening. The Patriots offensive line, which for the most part this season had done a good job handling the pass rush, couldn't seem to find a solution for Miami who put pressure on Brady all night. Jason Taylor gave left tackle Matt Light problems and was in Brady's face for most of the evening. While the team had kept a tight end in to help Light with Taylor it wasn't enough, and it ended up being the Miami defensive end who made the key play of the game.

"We really didn't play that well defensively," Taylor told the Associated Press after the game. "But we made enough plays to win the ball game. That's all that matters."

As for New England after scoring first for the NFL record 19th time, they also lost after leading at halftime for the first time in 32 games.

"That's a situation we're usually pretty good in," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick of his team's inability to hold their 11-point lead late in the game. "We weren't tonight. I don't know how else to put it to you."

The loss drops the Patriots to 12-2 and if the season ended today New England would have the number two seed in the playoffs behind the Steelers who currently sit at 13-1 after beating the New York Giants over the weekend. But for now there's still plenty of football left to be played, and Brady and his teammates will have to spend this week trying to put this game behind them.

"We've got to play better, and it starts with me," said Brady. "You just try to learn from it and try not to let it happen again."


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