The New England Patriots' historic run and one of the best dynasties in all of sports came to an end Sunday.
The departure of Tom Brady combined with losing multiple defensive starters has officially led to the worst Patriots season since 2000 when Bill Belichick took over. You could see it coming Saturday when the Buffalo Bills clinched the AFC East for the first time in 25 years.
The notion was stamped with approval by the Miami Dolphins as they ran over the Patriots delivering the former Kings of the AFC East a 22-12 defeat. This loss drops the Patriots to 6-8 and officially crushes any playoff hopes they may have still had.
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (Photo: Chris O'Meara, AP)
This season, the Patriots fell behind two AFC East opponents (the Bills and Dolphins) for the first time in 20 years. They won’t finish first or second in the division for the first time since 2000. They’ll miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Both seasons were the last two seasons where Brady wasn’t the starting quarterback.
Now, the Patriots will focus on the future. They’re behind two divisional opponents, both who have their franchise quarterbacks in Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa. The Pats will undoubtedly search for their own next offseason.
Of course, you can’t put all the Patriots problems on the shoulders of Cam Newton (who threw for 208 yards). The Patriots have a laundry list of issues with this 2020 team. The offense is subpar and that was seen on Sunday as the group failed to score a single touchdown. Jakobi Meyers (111 receiving yards) looks to have a bright future, but the offense needs more weapons next season.
They also need a better defensive line. Against Miami, the Pats, once again, failed to stop the run. The Dolphins came into this game last in the NFL in yards per carry (3.63) and proceeded to run for 242 yards against the Patriots. Miami scored three rushing touchdowns against the Pats on Sunday.
The Pats made it close in the first half, but allowed all 22 points scored in the second half.
The Dolphins (9-5) took a step closer to clinching their own spot in the playoffs. Tua Tagovailoa, coming off his second loss as a starting quarterback, was 20 of 26 for 145 yards and an interception.
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