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Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 22, Patriots 21

12/6/2009

MIAMI -- Over the summer, Joey Porter declared the road to the AFC East still went through Miami.

The Dolphins, after all, were the defending champs even though everybody was predicting the New England Patriots, with Tom Brady back at the helm, would regain their standing as the team to beat.

On Sunday, the Patriots came through Miami.

Consider it symbolic, then, that the Patriots went into Land Shark Stadium with the chance to essentially end the Dolphins' season but couldn't. In losing a 22-21 thriller, the Patriots not only failed to put away a divisional opponent, they also gave the Dolphins new playoff hope.

Dan Carpenter kicked a 41-yard field goal with 1:02 left to make matters a whole lot more interesting in the AFC East.

The Patriots lost two in a row for the first time since November 2006 and have lost three out of their past four games. They are 7-5, a single game ahead of the Dolphins and the New York Jets with four to play.

Tom Brady seemed to bounce back from Monday night's atrocity in New Orleans with a sizzling first half. Then, on second-and-goal from the Dolphins' 5, he threw an interception. He tried to force a ball to Randy Moss in the end zone with 9:39 to play, but rookie cornerback Vontae Davis snagged it.

Rather than pad their lead, it remained at two points. The Dolphins had three cracks to get into field-goal range, and finally did.

Chad Henne completed 29 of 52 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

Dolphins receiver Davone Bess had a career day with 10 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown. Brian Hartline scored Miami's other touchdown.

The Patriots scored touchdowns on each of their first two possessions and left three points on the field late in the second quarter, when Bill Belichick decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Dolphins' 6-yard line.