FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots
, waking up from a deep first-half slumber, stormed from behind to a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Down 17-3 in the third quarter, New England (6-2) reeled off 24 straight points in sending the Dolphins (3-4) to their fourth straight loss.
It was the Patriots' seventh straight over the Dolphins, who haven't won at Gillette Stadium since 2006. New England is 10-1 in the last 11 games of the division-rival series. Tom Brady
, saddled with a 30.6 quarterback rating through the first possession in the second half, finished strong to get the needed win. Brady was playing with an apparent right hand injury.
New England has lost two of its previous three games.
The Patriots got the benefit of two big penalty calls, one in each half, one in the fourth quarter that gave the ball back to New England after Brady fumbled -- Olivier Vernon called for batting the ball ahead during the scramble.
But the Patriots also came up with huge plays on defense. Rookie Logan Ryan had two sacks, one resulting in a fumble that led to the tying touchdown. The Patriots also pulled off an acrobatic two-man interception in the fourth quarter, Devin McCourty doing a volleyball set to Marquice Cole as McCourty was falling out of bounds. Caleb Sturgis
, who kicked a 52-yard field goal in the first half, hit the right upright with a third-quarter try that shifted the game's momentum. He also had a 39-yarder blocked by Chandler Jones with 2:50 left in the game (New England's first blocked field goal since 2010).
Rookie Aaron Dobson caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Brady and running backs Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley (79 yards on 14 carries) scored on runs, while Stephen Gostkowski kicked field goals of 34 and 48 yards.
Brady finished 13-for-22 for 116 yards (one interception, a 69.5 rating), while Ryan Tannahill, who made some key mistakes, was 22-for-42 for 192 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Dolphins, second in the league in red zone offense coming into the game, built their 17-3 halftime lead on a 4-yard pass to Brandon Gibson, a 5-yard TD pass to Daniel Thomas and a 52-yard Sturgis field goal. Patriots fans booed when their team took a knee with the ball and 30 seconds left in the half.
There were more boos when the Patriots, who deferred the opening kick to get the ball to start the second half, went three-and-out, including the second Jared Odrick sack of the day. That led to the field goal attempt that Sturgis clanged.
The 17-0 third-quarter run came after the Patriots came into the game having been outscored 44-9 in their first seven third quarters.
NOTES: The Dolphins lost Gibson (knee) in the first quarter and the Patriots RT Sebastian Vollmer (leg) in the second. Vollmer was fitted with an air cast on the field. New England CB Kyle Arrington (groin) left in the third quarter. ... LT Bryant McKinnie, acquired from the Baltimore Ravens
during the week to help a Miami team that had yielded 26 sacks, made his Dolphins debut, as a starter. ... CB Aqib Talib (hip) and DT Tommy Kelly (knee) were among the Patriots' inactives, while WR Danny Amendola returned after missing last week's game with a concussion. ... The Dolphins host the Cincinnati Bengals
on Thursday night while New England is home for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday. ... Brady's lone TD pass was the 343rd of Brady's career, moving him past Fran Tarkenton into fourth place on the all-time NFL list. Brady also moved into 10th place on the all-time pass attempts list. ... DE Rob Ninkovich's third-quarter fumble recovery extended the Patriots' turnover streak to 35 straight games, the longest active streak in the league. ... The teams meet again Dec. 15 in Florida.
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