MIAMI -- The New England Patriots needed two missed field
goals and their longest pass play of the season to finally win in
the Miami heat.
Question on the Patriots: Are the Patriots the scariest team in the AFC?
They've shown an uncanny ability to come back from seemingly any deficit or situation this season. For that reason they very well may be the scariest team in the AFC. This is the second consecutive game where they've "lost" in the stats column but not the standings.
Question on the Dolphins: Any chance Wannstedt turns to Griese soon?
No, they have to allow Fiedler more of a chance to prove himself. But if there's a noticeable difference in Fiedler's and Griese's play during practice, then the coaching staff has to start thinking about making a move.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
The win was New England's first in the last six visits to Miami
and ended an 0-for-13 skid here in September and October.
The Dolphins (4-2) had two chances to win the game. But Olindo
Mare missed a pair of field-goal attempts on the infield dirt. The
NFL's second most accurate kicker of all time had one blocked near
the end of regulation and missed one wide right in overtime -- both
With the Florida Marlins playing the New York Yankees in the
World Series, infield dirt from the baseball field remains at Pro
Player Stadium. It played a key role in New England winning for the
first time in the season's first two months, when sweltering summer
heat and humidity are still lingering, and opponents unaccustomed
to the weather tend to suffer meltdowns.
"Go Marlins!" said Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour, who
blocked the fourth-quarter kick.
With the victory, the Patriots (5-2) moved atop the AFC East.
The Dolphins were poised to take the lead with less than two
minutes to play in regulation, but Seymour blocked Mare's 35-yard
"We can't put everything on the kicker," Dolphins center Tim
Ruddy said. "Everyone on this offense could have done more. We're
disappointed, but everyone is looking at themselves and asking what
they could have done better. We definitely had chances, and we
didn't do enough with those chances. That's why we lost this
The Dolphins won a controversial coin toss in overtime, and Jay
Fiedler hit Darrius Thompson for a 31-yard completion down the
sideline. Ricky Williams then ran 13 yards around the right end to
put Miami in field-goal range.
The Patriots called tails and said the coin landed on tails.
They said veteran referee Gerald Austin mistakenly turned it over
as he picked it up off the ground. Austin said the players were
confused about which side was which.
It worked out fine for the Patriots, though. Having lost the
toss, coach Bill Belichick instructed his team captains to make
Miami drive to the end of the field with the dirt.
And Mare missed a shot to win the game when his second 35-yard
attempt went wide right with 12:01 on the clock.
Mare had left the locker room by the time reporters entered.
"It was almost like they wanted to give it to us," Brown said.
"Finally we took advantage of it."
The Patriots' ensuing drive ended when Jason Taylor sacked Brady
on third down. Brady fumbled the ball but recovered, allowing a
But then Fiedler gave the ball right back with his second
On the next play, Brady found Brown slanting deep across the
middle. He caught the ball near the left sideline between safeties
Sammy Knight and Brock Marion and raced to the end zone with the
longest reception of his career.
"It was unbelievable," Brady said. "We were down and out a
few times. The offensive line gave me a lot of time. I let it go
and he made a great catch. This shows the mental toughness this
team has. We made the adjustments and we're only going to get
Since a dismal performance in a season-opening 31-0 loss at
Buffalo, the Patriots have won five of six despite a lengthy injury
list that includes defensive starters Ted Johnson, Willie McGinest,
Ted Washington and Ty Law.
All four defenders were inactive for the game.
Nonetheless, the Patriots held Williams in check most of the
game. The NFL's leading rusher a year ago, he finished with 94
yards on 27 carries.
Brady finished 24-of-34 for 283 yards. He also threw a 24-yard
touchdown pass to David Givens to tie the game at 13 in the third
Brown caught six passes for 131 yards.
"Everyone's telling them they can't win down here, everyone's
telling them it's too hot, everyone's telling them they have too
many injuries," Belichick said. "They didn't buy it. They came
down and played their hearts out. It felt good."
Notes: Brown's previous longest reception in 11 seasons went for
67 yards. ... Fiedler injured his left knee late in the fourth
quarter but returned with a brace in overtime. ... The Dolphins
missed a chance to start 5-1 for the fourth time in five years. ...
Patriots RB Kevin Faulk, starting in place of Antowain Smith, had a
combined 69 yards rushing and receiving. ... Dolphins LT Mark
Dixon, who has missed all season with an ankle injury, has targeted
a return next Monday night at San Diego.