The Dolphins gave their playoff chances a big boost on Sunday afternoon and they also warmed the hearts of the Denver Broncos.
Michael Thomas, signed off the 49ers practice squad last week, intercepted Tom Brady in the end zone with one second left to play to give the Dolphins a 24-20 victory. That bumps their record to 8-6 and would put them in the sixth playoff position in the AFC with a Baltimore loss on Monday night. It also means that the Broncos are still in position to grab home field advantage in the AFC.
That wouldn’t have been the case if the Patriots won and they had a good shot at doing that. Tom Brady got the ball with 1:15 left to play needing a score, a situation that has worked out for Brady plenty of times in the past. As he racked up throws to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, it looked like Brady would put another notch in his comeback post. Three incompletions inside the 20 left the Pats with just one chance and Thomas, who previously knocked a ball away from Amendola in the end zone, made the play.
The Patriots also had a chance to protect a lead in the fourth quarter after an Edelman score, but Ryan Tannehill took the Dolphins 60 yards in nine plays after Stephen Gostkowski’s kickoff went out of bounds. He hit Marcus Thigpen for 14 yards to put the Dolphins ahead, his third touchdown pass of an excellent game. Tannehill was 25-of-37 for 312 yards overall, shaking off four sacks to get the Dolphins as big a victory as they’ve had since Tony Sparano’s first season on the sideline.
New England’s box score doesn’t make it seem they missed Rob Gronkowski that much as Brady threw for 364 yards and the Amendola/Edelman duo had 23 catches for 270 yards. Three trips into the red zone that didn’t result in touchdowns told a different story, though, and the Patriots’ failure to get those scores kept them from sliding ahead of the Broncos.