FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots blew it.
All they had to do was beat the 4-11 Miami Dolphins to clinch the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. They couldn’t do it. The Patriots lost 27-24 to the Dolphins, who were 16 1/2-point underdogs in the game.
The Patriots must play wild-card weekend after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
New England’s offense struggled to move the ball all game, and its defense couldn’t make a goal-line stand with 24 seconds left in the game.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw a costly interception early in the second quarter that New England could never quite recover from. They fell down 10-0 early, gained a 24-20 lead with just under four minutes left in the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold on late.
Patriots safety Patrick Chung let up a 5-yard touchdown catch to Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds left in the game.
New England picked up just 12 yards on five plays on its final drive. The Patriots had 24 seconds and three timeouts to drive 75 yards down the field. A last-second lateral play went for a loss of 1 yard after the Patriots fumbled and the Dolphins recovered.
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who is a defensive player of the year candidate, allowed over 100 yards to Dolphins top wide receiver DeVante Parker. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went 28-of-41 for 320 yards with a touchdown in the game.
This is the first time since 2009 that the Patriots must play wild-card weekend. Their opponent has not yet been decided.