Tom Brady (12)
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
Jarvis Landry (14)
MIAMI GARDENS — The Miami Dolphins undermined the New England Patriots’ chances for gaining AFC home-field advantage and Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry made sure the reigning Super Bowl champions made the historical connection to the NFL DeflateGate connection by mocking his opponent.
Landry, Miami’s star wide receiver, caught two of Jay Cutler’s three touchdown passes as the double-digit underdog Dolphins upset the Patriots 27-20 on Monday night at Hard Rock Stadium. After his second touchdown grab, Landry celebrated by pretending to inflate the football — perhaps mocking New England quarterback Tom Brady’s “Deflategate” issues.
After the game, Landry was asked what his celebration meant, and he answered in song.
“This song right here — ‘take the air out of the ball just so I can flex,'” Landry said. “I won’t say the rest (of the song) because you all will take it out of context.”
Asked again about his gesture, Landry said: “I’m taking the air out of the ball. I’m deflating.”
Landry wasn’t the only Dolphins hero.
Cutler completed 25 of 38 passes for 263 yards. Kenyan Drake led Miami’s ground game with 114 yards on 25 carries. It was the second consecutive 100-yard game for Drake, who also caught five passes for 79 yards.
“We felt that, with our personnel, we could take advantage of mismatches with their defense,” Drake said. “Jay was out there slinging the rock around the field, and everyone was making big plays.”
The Patriots (10-3), who visit the 11-2 Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in what was looking like a battle for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, may have been caught looking ahead as their eight-game win streak was snapped.
“We weren’t good enough in any area tonight to win the game,” New England coach Bill Belichick said. “It was not a good effort across the board.”
Brady got off to a poor start, missing all four of his first-quarter passes. For the game, Brady completed 24 of 43 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown, but he was intercepted twice, both times by cornerback Xavien Howard.
“They get them sometimes, too,” Brady said of defensive players. “I wish they never got them, but sometimes they do. There were a lot of 50-50 balls that were close.”
Before Monday, Brady had just four interceptions all season and never more than one in a game. His last multiple-interception game was in 2015.
The Patriots went 0-for-11 on third downs, a statistic that surely bothered Brady.
“We just didn’t make enough plays,” Brady said. “We’ve had a lot of good nights this year, but this was a bad night.”
Miami (6-7) compiled an impressive 123-2 yardage advantage after one quarter but led just 6-0. The Dolphins scored on field goals of 30 and 44 yards by Cody Parkey. The first field goal was the result of a 13-play, 69-yard drive. The second was set up by an interception by Howard.
New England got untracked in the second quarter, taking a 7-6 lead on a 3-yard run by Rex Burkhead.
On the next possession, Miami took a 13-7 lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Landry.
New England closed its deficit to 13-10 on a 46-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with two seconds left in the first half.
Miami extended its lead to 20-10 when Jakeem Grant made a spectacular, leaping 25-yard touchdown catch, crashing to the turf in the end zone.
The Dolphins closed the third-quarter scoring with Landry’s 4-yard reception.
New England crept closer as Brady’s 3-yard touchdown pass to James White cut Miami’s lead to 27-17 with 13:05 to play.
With 53 seconds left in the game, the Patriots, who had a first-and-goal at the Miami 1-yard line, had to settle for a 33-yard Gostkowski field goal after getting hit with illegal-shift and holding penalties.
Trailing 27-20, New England failed to recover an onside kick, sealing the win for Miami.
NOTES: Dolphins DE Andre Branch sustained a first-half knee injury and did not return. … Miami wore uniforms styled from its undefeated 1972 Super Bowl champion team. … Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski served his one-game NFL suspension for an intentional late hit last week against Buffalo Bills CB Tre’Davious White. … Miami’s inactive players included QB Matt Moore, RB Damien Williams, OG Jermon Bushrod and CB Cordrea Tankersley. … New England RT Marcus Cannon (ankle) was inactive. … New England added DE Jonathan Freeny to its roster.
NEW YORK – (Wire Service Report for Digital Sports desk by The Sports Xchange) -The NFL has denied New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s appeal of his one-game suspension for his late hit on Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White last Sunday in Buffalo.
Rob Gronkowski (87)
Gronkowski will miss Monday night’s game against the AFC East rival Dolphins in Miami.
The four-time Pro Bowler was assessed the one-game ban after his hit on White drew wide controversy. With the game in hand in the fourth quarter, Gronkowski dove into a defenseless White on the ground near the sideline, driving his head and back into the ground.
He was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the hit, but was not ejected from the game.
Gronkowski apologized for the hit after the game, which the Patriots won 23-3, and cited his frustration for a lack of penalties called against opponents defending him during the game as a reason for his actions.
Gronkowski, a native of nearby Amherst, N.Y., finished the game with a season-high 147 receiving yards on nine catches. He has 55 catches for 849 yards and seven touchdown receptions this season for New England (10-2)
NEW YORK – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots was suspended without pay for one game for a violation of unnecessary roughness rules in Sunday’s NFL game against the Buffalo Bills.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyon issued the suspension for multiple violations of NFL rules, including Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6 which prohibits “unnecessary roughness” and specifically bans both “forcibly contacting a runner when he is out of bounds,” and “running, diving into…or throwing the body against or on a player who (1) is out of the play or (2) should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead,” as well as Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 which prohibits “initiating unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture”. Players who are “on the ground” are both “defenseless” and protected from “forcible” hits to the “head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder.”
In his communication to Gronkowski, Runyan wrote:
“Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury. The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game. Those hits include the play you were involved in yesterday.”
Gronkowski will be eligible to return to the Patriots’ active roster on Tuesday, December 12 following the team’s December 11th, Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins.
Under the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension may be appealed within three business days.