Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Dolphins pull big upset over New England Patriots


Tom Brady threw a dumb pass and AJ Feeley threw a beauty, finally giving the Miami Dolphins something to savor in this long, miserable season: An upset of the New England Patriots.

With Brady's ugly interception providing an opening, Miami scored two touchdowns in the final 2:07 to stun the Patriots 29-28 on Monday night.

The much-maligned Feeley threw for the game-winning score, a 21-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Thompson on fourth-and-10 with 1:23 left.

The stunning victory rivaled the biggest in Dolphins' history, because they have rarely been so woeful. With the win, Miami (3-11) avoided being swept by AFC East opponents this season.

"I keep asking everybody, `Is it real?'" said linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who made the pivotal interception. "It's a big-time win. I can't believe it."

New England (12-2), which has already clinched the AFC East, lost ground to Pittsburgh (13-1) in the race for a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage. The defeat was just the second in 29 games for the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Patriots appeared to clinch the win when Brady threw his third touchdown pass, a 2-yarder to Daniel Graham for a 28-17 lead with 3:59 left.

"That's a situation we're usually pretty good in," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We weren't tonight. It wasn't about intensity. It was about execution."

The Dolphins drove 68 yards to score on Sammy Morris' 1-yard run with 2:07 remaining, and then came Brady's uncharacteristic mistake.

On third down, he threw as he was being sacked by Jason Taylor. The ill-advised, off-balance pass sailed directly to Ayanbadejo, giving Miami a first down at the Patriots' 21 with 1:45 to go.

Three plays later, on fourth and 10, Thompson beat Troy Brown -- a receiver who doubles as a fifth cornerback -- and made the winning catch in the end zone.

"We've been on the losing end of so many drives like that," Feeley said. "It feels good to come out on top."

Brady's fourth interception, a desperation throw picked off by Arturo Freeman with 58 seconds left, sealed the upset. The takeaways offset a 121-yard rushing performance by New England's Corey Dillon.

"We really didn't play that well defensively," Taylor said. "But we made enough plays to win the ball game. That's all that matters."

New England lost after leading at halftime for the first time in 32 games.

The victory fattens the resume of interim coach Jim Bates, who was expected to interview for the coaching job yesterday.

"We'll think about that tomorrow [yesterday]," Bates said. "Right now I'm just enjoying this victory. It is a sweet win to beat the world champions."

Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga interviewed former Oakland Raiders coach Art Shell on Monday but is expected to offer the job this week to LSU coach Nick Saban.

The game was one of the coldest ever at Pro Player Stadium, with the temperature 11?C at kickoff and then falling into the single digits.

But the Patriots were raring to go, as usual, scoring first in their 19th consecutive game to extend an NFL record.

In other news, Eagles star receiver Terrell Owens will miss the final two games of the regular season and the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl because of a sprained right ankle, a devastating blow for a team that has lost three straight NFC title games.

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