For the second time this season, Patriots kick returner Brandon Tate has given his team a major lift with a return touchdown.
Tate’s 103-yard touchdown opened the second half in Miami to put New England on top 13-7 early in the third quarter.
The Patriots defense survived the first half thanks to linebacker Rob Ninkovich. The former Dolphins castoff picked off Chad Henne two times to keep the Miami scoring to a minimum. Other than those plays, the Patriots defense has struggled to stop Miami’s attack.
Miami scored on a 19-yard touchdown by Davone Bess. The third-down specialist caught six passes for 71 yards in the first half. New England’s offense was stymied early by Dolphins linebacker Cameron Wake’s pass rush, but went on two solid drives that led to short field goals.
The loser of Monday night’s game will have two division losses and fall a game behind the Jets.
UPDATE: The Patriots blocked a punt after a Dolphins three-and-out, and then BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed it up the middle for a 12-yard touchdown. 20-7 Patriots.