Final, Dolphins 20-10: The Patriots will need help from the San Diego Chargers to get the No. 1 seed. The Patriots failed to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by losing to the Dolphins, so they’ll need to the 4-11 Chargers to beat the 11-4 Denver Broncos. Seems unlikely.
Fourth quarter, 1:56, Dolphins 20-10: The Dolphins delivered the dagger with a field goal.
Jimmy Garoppolo is in the game for Tom Brady.
Fourth quarter, 4:41, Dolphins 17-10: Unless the Patriots get a defensive score, it’s looking like they won’t clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They can’t move the ball using a vanilla offense, which desperately misses Julian Edelman and is underutilizing Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola.
They were forced to punt again. The Dolphins have the ball on the Patriots’ 45-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 6:58, Dolphins 17-10: The Patriots’ offense has had trouble moving the ball all game, and now they need a touchdown.
The Dolphins scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Jordan Cameron. They gained 46 yards on a pass from Tannehill to rookie DeVante Parker. Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan got his hands on the ball, but it bounced back into the Dolphins receiver’s hands.
Fourth quarter, 9:50, 10-10: Ryan Allen and Matt Darr are getting plenty of action in this game. Ryan Allen just punted for his sixth time.
Fourth quarter, 12:57, 10-10: The Patriots forced another punt, keeping this game tied at 10. The Patriots were flagged for running into the kicker on the Dolphins’ first punt attempt and holding on the second. The Patriots started deep in their own territory.
Third quarter, 0:45, 10-10: Not a lot of offense in this one. The Dolphins are at their own 16-yard line after a Patriots punt.
Third quarter, 2:03, 10-10: The Dolphins marched down the field until they faced fourth and 1 at their own 39-yard line. The Patriots stuffed Lamar Miller, forcing a turnover on downs.
Third quarter, 5:17, 10-10: The Patriots keep heaving the ball deep, and it’s not working. Brady is 0 for 3 on deep throws with offensive and defensive pass interference penalties.
The Patriots were forced to punt.
Third quarter, 7:44, 10-10: The Dolphins were about to go for it on fourth and 9, and then they were flagged for delay of game. Doh. They punted.
A touchback put the Patriots on their own 20-yard line.
Third quarter, 10:41, 10-10: So much for running the ball. The Patriots threw the ball three times, and all went incomplete, taking less than 30 seconds off the clock.
Third quarter, 11:10, 10-10: The Patriots’ defense forced a three-and-out. Get ready to see more runs from the Patriots here, as they try to get this game over with.
Third quarter, 12:32, 10-10: We’re all tied up after the Patriots’ offense came out of the locker room with some extra juice. James White accounted for 68 of the Patriots’ 80-yard drive on a catch and run. Steven Jackson finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown — his first in over a year.
End half, Dolphins 10-3: Ryan Tannehill successfully picked on Leonard Johnson on the way to six points. He hit receiver Greg Jennings for 31 yards with Johnson in coverage. Then there was blown coverage on Tannehill’s touchdown pass to rookie DeVante Parker. It appeared Johnson was supposed to cover Parker but dropped into zone instead.
Second quarter, 1:56, 3-3: Stephen Gostkowski missed the 46-yard field goal. That one could come back to bite the Patriots.
Brady looked slightly uncomfortable on his banged-up right ankle, but he was still able to throw a deep ball down the sideline to tight end Scott Chandler, which drew a pass interference flag.
Second quarter, 5:55, 3-3: The Dolphins went three-and-out, and Tom Brady is back on the field. Crisis averted.
Second quarter, 8:06, 3-3: The Patriots tied it up with a field goal, but fans have bigger concerns.
Brady was rolled up from behind by Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and left the field slowly. He was briefly looked at on the bench by trainers, but they’ve left him alone. Brady is still grabbing at his right ankle, however. Brady had his right ankle re-taped by trainers and is warming up with Jimmy Garoppolo.
Second quarter, 14:07, Dolphins 3-0: The Patriots held the Dolphins to a field goal attempt, and Andrew Franks shanked it.
Rookie defensive end Geneo Grissom recorded his first NFL sack. That gives the 2015 Patriots 49 on the season — the most by a Bill Belichick head coached team.
Patriots cornerback Leonard Johnson made a nice pass breakup on third down and celebrated accordingly. Head coach Bill Belichick might not have been a fan of the celebration.
First quarter, 4:30, Dolphins 3-0: The Patriots just showed how seriously they’re taking this game when they ran an inside handoff on third and 8. Brandon Bolden took it for 6 yards, and the Patriots punted. Tom Brady has attempted just one pass, a shovel to Bolden. Not sure they’re going to clinch that No. 1 seed with this game plan.
First quarter, 8:07, Dolphins 3-0: The Dolphins lead early after driving down the field thanks in large part to a 29-yard carry by Lamar Miller. The Dolphins have 50 yards on six carries so far. The Patriots’ run defense has struggled when Hightower is out.
First quarter, 11:52: The Patriots did even less with their first possession, gaining just 8 yards. Steven Jackson drew the start at running back and had two carries for 2 yards.
First quarter, 14:01: The Patriots allowed just one first down on a catch by Jarvis Landry. Linebacker Jamie Collins recorded a pass breakup on Landry’s second target of the game.
Rob Ninkovich, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung all started for the Patriots alongside Jabaal Sheard, Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo, Leonard Johnson, Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan.
First quarter, 15:00: The Patriots called heads, won the toss and chose to defer.
12:57 p.m.: LaAdrian Waddle is active, but it appears he won’t play. He’s not on the sideline in uniform.
12:23 p.m.: Here’s the Patriots’ starting O-line in warmups:
LT Cameron Fleming
LG Josh Kline
C Bryan Stork
RG Tre’ Jackson
RT Marcus Cannon
12:08 p.m.: Keshawn Martin, Danny Amendola and Chris Harper are back catching punts in warmups.
11:30 a.m.: The Patriots declared their inactives, and there’s no one new on the list.
Hightower, Freeny, Siliga, Vollmer, Edelman, Jones and Coleman will be inactive.
That means wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee), safeties Devin McCourty (ankle) and Patrick Chung (foot), defensive end Rob Ninkovich (shin), guard Josh Kline (shoulder) and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle (shoulder) will suit up.
Ninkovich has a 112-consecutive-game streak to keep up.
11:16 a.m.: Amendola is on the field in game pants, indicating he’ll be active for the Patriots. It seems risky to play Amendola on his banged-up knee, but the Patriots could be gunning for that No. 1 seed.
11 a.m. ET: The New England Patriots already took the guess work out of their Week 17 matchup with the Miami Dolphins by declaring seven players inactive well before the 11:30 a.m. deadline.
The Patriots ruled out linebackers Dont’a Hightower (knee) and Jonathan Freeny (hand), wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot), defensive end Chandler Jones (toe/abdomen), cornerback Justin Coleman (hand) and offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer (ankle) on Friday. They declared defensive tackle Sealver Siliga (non-injury related) out Sunday.
The Patriots could rule out more players, but it’s not necessary. They also could suit up other injured players, like wide receiver Danny Amendola, free safety Devin McCourty and strong safety Patrick Chung, and either play them sparingly or not at all.
The Dolphins have lost their last three and seem to have given up on the season, but it could still be tough sledding for the Patriots without many of their star players. The Patriots can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a win. They would have to hope for a Denver Broncos loss to the San Diego Chargers otherwise.
Stay here for updates and analysis throughout the game.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jan 3, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks on from the sideline during the first half against Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports