Brady's late TD pass helps Pats squeak by Dolphins

MIAMI (AP) -- Bill Belichick showed again how resourceful he can
be. Not that Nick Saban expected anything less from his mentor.

With no running back, a Saban castoff at fullback and reserves
at three other offensive positions, Belichick and the
injury-riddled New England Patriots still beat Saban's Miami
Dolphins 23-16 Sunday.

Tom Brady brought New England from behind twice in the second
half, throwing for the game-winning score with 2:16 left. Gus
Frerotte then drove the Dolphins 70 yards to the 5 with a minute
remaining, but his fourth-down pass went off Chris Chambers'
fingertips in the end zone with 36 seconds to go.

"This is one of those great games that went back and forth,"
Belichick said. "It turned into a track meet at the end. I'm proud
of the guys for hanging in there."

The game was the first between Belichick and protege Saban, a
friend of 23 years. When the game ended, they shook hands at
midfield and had a brief exchange.

Two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England (5-4)
remained alone atop the AFC East. The Patriots have won 21 of their
last 25 division games.

Miami (3-6) missed a chance to tie for the division lead,
instead losing for the fifth time in six games.

"I can't sit here and say that our players aren't as good as
their players," Saban said. "I feel terribly that we didn't get
the result that we wanted."

Four offensive starters were inactive for the Patriots, and a
fifth -- running back Corey Dillon -- was limited to two plays
because his leg tightened.

"They're great at making adjustments, and great at getting
things fixed," Saban said.

Belichick turned ball-carrying duties over to fullback Heath
Evans, signed after Saban released him Oct. 25. Evans carried 17
times for 84 yards, surpassing in one game his total for any of his
previous four NFL seasons.

"I remember the first day at practice when we thought, `Why did
somebody release him?"' Brady said. "We thank the Dolphins very
much for letting him go."

But it was Brady who bailed out the Patriots. He went 21-for-36
for 275 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to backup tight end
Benjamin Watson.

"As usual, Tom played his best football when it counted,"
Belichick said.

Brady's first scoring pass covered 16 yards and put New England
ahead 12-7 on the final play of the third quarter. But Frerotte,
who went 25-for-47 for a season-high 360 yards, regained the lead
for Miami on a bizarre 15-yard touchdown pass.

With the Dolphins in the shotgun on third-and-3, Seth McKinney
snapped the ball prematurely and it deflected off Frerotte's right
leg. He quickly picked it up and threw down the middle to Chris
Chambers, wide open in the end zone after slipping behind Ellis

The Dolphins' 2-point conversion failed, leaving them ahead
16-15 with 2:59 to go.

New England needed only two plays to come back. First, Brady
threw 59 yards to Tim Dwight, who outwrestled Reggie Howard for the
ball. Then, Brady hit Watson with a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Frerotte and the Dolphins weren't finished, and they reached the
5 with 58 seconds left. Saban, the target of much second-guessing
when he opted to throw rather than run with a chance to force
overtime a week ago, again went with passes.

Frerotte threw incomplete into the end zone on first and second
downs, then hit Ronnie Brown in the flat for a 5-yard loss.
Chambers had a chance to catch Frerotte's final throw, but the ball
fell incomplete.

"I got my fingertips on it," said Chambers, who dropped three
other passes. "I had a tough time picking up those low balls

Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals for New England. Olindo
Mare kicked one for Miami but missed a 31-yarder in the second

The Dolphins squandered another scoring chance when McMichael
lost a fumble at the New England 9 and Hobbs recovered.
^Notes:@ Patriots C Dan Koppen went to the locker room in the third
quarter with a left arm injury. ... Patriots WR David Givens, RB
Patrick Pass, TE Daniel Graham and T Tom Ashworth were inactive.
... Frerotte's yardage total was his highest since 2000. ... The
Patriots won in Miami for only the second time in their past eight


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