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Dec. 29, 2002: PATRIOTS 27, Dolphins 24 OT
At 9-5, the Dolphins, boasting arguably the most talented Miami squad in the past 20 seasons, looked primed for another AFC East division title. However, after a loss in the penultimate game in Minnesota, the Dolphins went to Foxboro with a 2-5 road record. Still, the Dolphins led 24-13 with less than three minutes left in regulation. However, Tom Brady, propeled by a 30-yard pass interference call on Jamar Fletcher, connected with Troy Brown from 3 yards out with 2:49 left. He then found Christian Fauria for the two-point conversion to make in 24-21. The wheels started falling off. First, Travis Minor fumbled the ensuing kickoff and by the time he regained possession, the Dolphins were pinned at their 4. Then, inconceivably, the Dolphins did not give the ball to running back Ricky Williams, who had piled up 185 rushing yards on 31 carries. Instead, they passed twice and, then were stopped on third down on a Jay Fiedler 7-yard scamper. Then came a 23-yard Mark Royals punt and the Patriots had the ball at the Dolphins' 34 with more than two minutes left. Adam Vinatieri then kicked a field goal with 1:14 left, and then, after Olindo Mare kicked the overtime kickoff out of bounds, the Patriots drove to the Dolphins' 17 (in the previous overtime rules) and ended Miami's season with a Vinatieri 35-yard field goal. Going to waste with the disaster were Williams' 2,216 total yards for the season and Jason Taylor's 18.5 sacks.
December 27, 2002