The New England Patriots didn’t have one more miracle finish in their repertoire.
They came close Sunday, but reserve safety Michael Thomas, playing in his first NFL game, intercepted Tom Brady’s fourth-down pass in the end zone with 2 seconds left and Miami held on to win 24-20, improving its playoff chances.
“We came up on the short end of the stick,” said Brady, whose Patriots are 10-4 and two games in front of Miami in the AFC East. “It wasn’t a good day. Just couldn’t make enough plays.”
The Patriots have made those plays throughout the season, including in tight victories over Denver, Cleveland, New Orleans, Houston and the New York Jets. This time, it was the Dolphins (8-6) who came through, snapping a seven-game losing streak against New England.
Miami is 5-2 since tackle Jonathan Martin left the team in a bullying scandal.
“We’ve grown a lot,” Ryan Tannehill said after he threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns, including a 14-yarder to Marcus Thigpen with 1:15 left that provided the winning margin. “Each of us has gotten stronger through the adversity we’ve faced off the field and on the field.”
Brady went 34 for 55 for 364 yards and two scores. Julian Edelman made 13 catches for 139 yards, and Danny Amendola added 10 receptions for 131 yards.
The weekend began with San Diego (7-7) beating Denver (11-3) on Thursday night, 27-20. Monday night’s game has Detroit (7-6) hosting Baltimore (7-6).
PACKERS 37, COWBOYS 36
Matt Flynn threw four touchdown passes in the second half, Eddie Lacy had the winning score on a 1-yard plunge after Tony Romo threw an interception, and Green Bay rallied from 23 points down at halftime.
Playing on the same field where they won the 2011 Super Bowl, the visiting Packers (7-6-1) stayed in the NFC North race and matched the 1982 team, which rallied past the Rams after trailing by 23.
“Most guys would pack it in: `Guys, it’s not our season. Let’s go home and get ready for next year,’” said Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams, who had an interception overturned on review before a clinching pick that was ruled incomplete and reversed on replay. “It’s not that vibe here.”
Romo tossed two interceptions in the final three minutes and the Cowboys (7-7) blew a chance to pull even with Philadelphia in the NFC East, remaining a game behind with two to play.
“We’ve got two weeks to get this thing right,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “Right now, words really have no effect. Complete debacle in the second half.”