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October 06, 2002
Make That 0-13, Pats Lose 26-13
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com

MIAMI, FL -- Make that 0-13.

The Patriots lost their 13-straight game against the Miami Dolphins in the month of September and October, losing 26-13 at Pro Player Stadium on Sunday.  New England went into the locker room down 16-0 at the half, netting just 26-yards offensively after being dominated by the Dolphins defense.

The Patriots had their share of bad breaks early in the game, with quarterback Tom Brady making two critical mistakes when he fumbled the football and threw an interception, with Miami turning each one into touchdowns.  New England blocked one of the Dolphins' extra points, one of the few first half bright spots for the Patriots.

Brady finished the day 17-of-31 for 240-yards and two touchdowns, but did throw two interceptions and was sacked three times.

The loss drops New England to 3-2 on the season, and also was their first back-to-back loss since they started out 0-2 last season en-route to their championship.  New England did manage to "hold" Ricky Williams to 105-yards on 36 carries (2.9 average), which was an improvement over San Diego's LaDanian Tomlinson's 217-yards last week.  Williams for the most part was a non-factor after they did a better job against the run this week, but the defensive backfield struggled, with Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler completing 17-of-27 for 190-yards, throwing two touchdowns and running for another.

Miami's offense held the ball for nearly twice as long as the Patriots, dominating the time of possession holding the ball for 39:59 compared to just 20:01 for New England.  They ran 21 more plays and were efficient, converting 53% of their third downs.

"We made too many mistakes in the first half and dug ourselves a hole,'' New England coach Bill Belichick told reporters after the game.

You can say that again.

The Dolphins sacked Brady three times in the first half and pressured him throughout, forcing him to make bad decisions and caused one of his interceptions.  They committed 5-penalties for 44-yards and had just one first down, failing on 5-of-6 third down attempts.

It wasn't pretty from the time the game began, with Brady being sacked on third down during the opening drive, forcing the Patriots to punt.  Miami put together a drive which fortunately for New England ended on a missed 45-yard field goal.

The Patriots dodged a bullet, but they just kept coming.

Brady was sacked again on the next drive, which came after center Mike Compton was called for a personal foul penalty after the officials said he hit a player late.  Replay revealed the penalty was invalid but instead of 1st and 10 at the Miami 34, the Patriots now were faced with 2nd and 23.  Marc Edwards then rushed for one yard, and now New England was looking at 3rd and 22.  Brady took the shotgun snap, and he was hit from behind by defensive end Jason Taylor which caused him to fumble.  The Dolphins recovered.

Miami then drove down to the New England 10-yard line, facing 1st and goal.  After a short run by Ricky Williams set up second-and-goal at the Miami eight, the Patriots pass rush had Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler in their sights, but he eluded both Willie McGinest and Steve Martin and ran into the endzone.  The Patriots blocked the extra point, but Miami had a 6-0 lead.

The Dolphins then picked off Brady at the Pats 29-yard line, and five plays later kicker Olindo Mare was lining up to attempt a 36-yard field goal.  Mare then booted the ball through the uprights, but a penalty on Tedy Bruschi for unsportsmanlike conduct for illegally trying to block the kick (which after looking at the replay was also a bad call) gave the Dolphins first and goal at the Patriots 9-yard line.  Two plays later Fiedler hit receiver Chris Chambers for a 7-yard touchdown strike, and Miami was in business leading 13-0.

The Dolphins later added a touchdown and went into the locker room with the lead, but New England would grab the momentum to start the second half.

Tedy Bruschi forced a fumble by Ricky Williams on the opening drive, and the Patriots recovered at their own 32-yard line.  Brady would later hit David Patten for a 34-yard touchdown pass, but failed on the two-point conversion attempt and the Patriots now trailed 16-6.

The two teams traded punts, and Miami then put together a 10-play 74-yard drive which ended in a 1-yard touchdown reception by tight end Randy McMichael.

New England now trailed 23-6, and the momentum had been snatched by the Dolphins.

Brady tried to answer on their next possession, driving the team down to the Dolphins 33-yard line.  But Brady was again intercepted, ending a potential score and the wind appeared to be taken out of their sails.

But on their next possession the Patriots put together an 8-play 80-yard drive which ended on a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Patten.  New England now found themselves down 23-13 with 4:41 left in the game.

However Miami would add a field goal, and the Patriots final drive saw the time tick away, and after driving down to the Dolphins 19-yard line New England couldn't convert a 4th-and-4 and the ball went over on downs with just :08 left in the game.  Miami knelt down and the game ended.

The loss gave the Dolphins sole possession of first place in the AFC East, and the Patriots will now head home to prepare for the Green Bay Packers who will face a short week of practice after they face the Chicago Bears on Monday night football.


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