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Patriots.com News Blitz 12/21/04

The Patriots let the Dolphins hang around throughout the game, and their inability to go for the kill cost them in the end. The Patriots lost last night for the first time since Halloween, and for the first time with Corey Dillon in the lineup. While many will undoubtedly suggest the Patriots underestimated the last-place Dolphins, or even try to connect the loss to the distractions ofCharlie Weis' Notre Dame hiring, Bill Belichick was accurate in attributing the loss to a simple lack of execution. The Pats played big at times, the Dolphins just played bigger. And there was that one little interception that might be nice to have back.

You can read game reviews by Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, Michael Felgerof The Boston Herald, Tom Curranof The Providence Journal, Alan Greenbergof The Hartford Courant, and Michael Parenteof The Woonsocket Call.

Bob Ryan of the Globe contends the Patriots deserved to lose last night. As Ryan points out, they allowed big plays throughout the game, and the passing game was largely ineffective, despite three touchdown passes by Tom Brady.

Ron Borges of the Globe attributes Brady's poor, four-interception showing to the beating he took during the entire game. For much of the game, particularly in the second half, Miami's front seven permeated the Pats offensive line, and thoroughly harassed Brady. Thus, Brady did not retain his typical poise, and pressed himself into some very costly mistakes.

Fluto Shinzawa of the Globe relives the most costly of Brady's mistakes, which came on a play that all would agree should not even have been attempted. Leading 28-23 with just under two minutes to play, Brady dropped back to pass, knowing that one first down would seal the deal for the Pats. Naturally, the defense broke threw and got a hand on him. As he fell towards the ground, Brady tried to make a miraculous pass to Daniel Graham. It was intercepted by Brendon Ayanbadejo, a turnover that set up a fourth-and-ten touchdown pass from A.J Feely to Derrius Thompson, giving the Dolphins the 29-28 triumph.

Jamey Eisenberg of the Globe reports from the Dolphins locker room, where there is a sense of euphoria for a 3-11 team that just knocked off the defending champs.

In his notebook, Cafardo discusses upcoming opponents' potential for keying against the Patriots weakened secondary and also updates the injuries around the locker room.

In his notebook, Felger assesses the secondary situation and asserts much will ride on the condition of Ty Law's broken left foot. With Tyrone Poole lost for the season, and members of the patchwork crew getting dusted last night, the Patriots are not-proud owners of a glaring defensive weakness.

Also in the Herald, Ed Gray reviews the defensive play of Troy Brown, on whom the go-ahead touchdown was scored.

Mark Murphy of the Herald reports from the Pats locker room, where a self-disgusted defensive unit aims to improve significantly in the regular season's remaining two games.

Kevin Mannix of the Herald looks ahead to next Sunday's game in New York, and reports the team may benefit from the Jets most recent distraction. Quarterback Chad Pennington refused to take questions after beating the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon, and when addressing the New York media, indicated his frustrations with what he perceived to be unfair media treatment. Mannix contends this will take Pennington's focus away from a very big division game in his home stadium.

In the Call, Parente breaks down the current playoff picture, an interesting story now that the Patriots have new scenarios to concern themselves with.

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