Patriots vs. Dolphins Week 15: Can Pats reverse recent struggles in Miami sun?

Nick Goss
·4 min read

Patriots vs. Dolphins: Can Pats reverse recent struggles in Miami sun? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Miami is a lovely place to be in December with its warmer weather and lack of snow. South Florida has mostly been anything but kind to the New England Patriots in recent years, however.

The Patriots have struggled to beat the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium, posting a 2-5 road record in their last seven matchups in the Florida sun.

Sunday afternoon's Week 15 game is an important one for both teams. The Patriots are in a must-win scenario. A victory for New England keeps its very slim playoff hopes alive, while a defeat would mathematically eliminate the Pats from playoff contention in the AFC.

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The Dolphins are expected to earn another victory over the Patriots as 1-point betting favorites entering the weekend. That said, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's impressive track record of success versus rookie quarterbacks is a reason for optimism for New England as it prepares to face Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Here's a recap of the last seven Patriots vs. Dolphins matchups played in Miami.

2013, Week 15: Dolphins win 24-20

The Patriots won five of their last six games to end the 2013 regular season, and their only loss over that span came in Week 15 to the Dolphins. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill outplayed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady by throwing for 314 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

New England took a 20-17 lead with 4:07 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Tannehill led Miami down the field for the game-winning drive, culminating with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Thigpen.

If the Patriots held on for the win and finished 13-3, they would've earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Instead, they ended up as the No. 2 seed and traveled to Denver for the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Broncos.

Cam Newton had awesome reaction to his first big snowstorm in Boston

2014, Week 1: Dolphins win 33-20

The Patriots jumped out to a 20-10 halftime lead and were poised for a season-opening win. It all fell apart in the second half, though, as the Dolphins dominated the Patriots and outscored them 23-0 over the final two quarters. Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno racked up 134 rushing yards and a touchdown in Miami's victory.

2015, Week 17: Dolphins win 20-10

This one hurt for the Patriots. They needed a win to lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, but the Dolphins earned a victory by outscoring the Patriots 10-0 in the second half. Tom Brady threw for a season-low 134 yards in the defeat.

The loss dropped the Patriots to the No. 2 seed and cost them home field in the AFC title game. They lost the AFC championship to the Broncos in Denver a few weeks later.

2016, Week 17: Patriots win 35-14

The Patriots finished the job in Miami after the previous year's lackluster showing. They defeated the Dolphins with ease to secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Veteran wide receiver Julian Edelman tallied eight receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown in the win. New England used homefield advantage to reach Super Bowl LI, where they beat the Atlanta Falcons with a historic comeback.

2017, Week 14: Dolphins win 27-20

Jay Cutler outplayed Tom Brady and snapped the Patriots' eight-game win streak. Yes, you read that right. Cutler threw for 262 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Miami led 27-10 in the second half and held on despite a late New England comeback attempt. Brady was intercepted twice and the Patriots offense tallied an abysmal 248 total yards of offense (including just 25 rushing yards).

2018, Week 14: Dolphins win 34-33

Patriots fans remember this game as the "Miami Miracle." The Dolphins beat the Patriots on a miracle 69-yard touchdown pass by Ryan Tannehill that included a few laterals before Kenyan Drake ran the final 52 yards into the end zone as time expired.

The Patriots also lost the following week to the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road, prompting another round of "Is the dynasty over?" debates. New England recovered, though, and went on to win Super Bowl LIII.

2019, Week 2: Patriots win 43-0

This was one of the most lopsided games in Patriots-Dolphins history. New England dominated on both sides of the ball, tallying 378 total yards of offense and scoring two touchdowns on interception returns in the fourth quarter. It also was the only game that wide receiver Antonio Brown played for the Patriots, and he hauled in a 20-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. 

The Patriots looked like a team that could go 16-0 after this win, while experts were wondering if the Dolphins would even win a single game. Both teams finished the season very differently, however, with the Dolphins beating the Patriots in Foxboro to prevent New England from earning a playoff bye.