|Television:||This week's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Greg Gumbel will provide play-by-play detail alongside broadcast partner Phil Simms. Armen Keteyian will report from the sidelines.|
|Radio:||WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, the voice of the Patriots, will call all the action along with Gino Cappelletti, his broadcast partner for 16 years.|
The New England Patriots (4-1) return home this week to host the division rival Miami Dolphins, who improved to 3-1 with a come-from-behind victory over the Indianapolis Colts last week. This week's game will be broadcast nationally on CBS. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:02 p.m.
Last week, the Patriots fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, dropping a two-point decision at Kansas City, 16-14. Despite surrendering four turnovers in the game, the Patriots still had an opportunity to win in the final seconds of regulation when they drove 53 yards on five plays, in just 26 seconds, only to have the would-be game-winning field goal carom off the right upright. It was the Patriots' first loss of the season and the first game-winning field goal attempt in which Adam Vinatieri has missed during his four-year career.
This week, the Patriots return home, where they will play before their 56th consecutive sellout crowd. The Patriots have sold out every game in Foxboro Stadium (preseason, regular season and postseason) since the 1994 regular season home opener. In recent years, that home-field advantage has paid dividends for the Patriots. Since 1996, the Patriots own a 20-6 regular season record at Foxboro Stadium and are 3-0 in playoff games. That 20-6 mark is the sixth-best record in football, just half a game behind Kansas City (21-6). The Patriots are 2-0 this year and have won five straight at home dating back to last season.
The Patriots have also enjoyed recent success against this week's opponent, the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins owned a 37-22 series advantage over the Patriots from 1966-95 (including playoff games). Since then, the Patriots have won six of eight games, including a 17-3 victory over Miami in the 1997 wild-card playoff game, and are 4-0 at home in those games.
Last year, it was a 26-23 victory over the Dolphins on a last-second touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Shawn Jefferson which snapped a two-game losing streak and began a three-game win steak, which propelled the Patriots toward their third playoff berth in as many years for the first time in franchise history.
The Patriots opened the 1999 season with a bang, defeating two division opponents (NY Jets and Colts) in the first two weeks of the season. Since Pete Carroll took over the coaching responsibilities of the Patriots in 1997, the Patriots have put together the best record within the division, including a 5-0 mark against the Colts and 3-1 regular season records against the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. With their 2-0 record this season, the Patriots are now 13-5 within the division since 1997. New England is the only unbeaten team in the division this season.
This week's game will be the 68th encounter between the two teams, dating back to the 1966 season. The Patriots trail the Dolphins in the series, with a 26-38 record (2-1 in the playoffs), but have won six of the last eight meetings. In fact, Pete Carroll has a 4-1 record against the Dolphins over the past two seasons.
The teams have met three times in the playoffs and the Patriots were victorious in two of the three games, including a 17-3 wild-card victory in 1997.
The New England Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins in a game for the ages, 26-23, on a last- second touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Shawn Jefferson. The Bledsoe touchdown pass capped a 15-play, 80 yard drive in which the Patriots converted plays of 3rd-and-11, 3rd-and-10, 4th-and -10 and 4th-and-7.
Bledsoe, who fractured his right index finger on the eighth play of the game-winning drive, was still was able to throw the game-winning 25-yard touchdown pass to Jefferson. Bledsoe, who was named Miller Lite player of the game, finished with 423 yards, his highest total for a non-overtime game in his career. His main targets were tight end Ben Coates, (nine catches - 78 yards - one touchdown), wide receivers Terry Glenn (7-66-0) and Shawn Jefferson (6-131-1). Glenn, who last participated for the Patriots on Oct. 19 versus the Jets, returned to action for only the seventh time this season.
The two teams traded early touchdowns and the game was tied at seven after one quarter. Dolphin quarterback Dan Marino teamed up with wide receiver Oronde Gadsden for a 35-yard touchdown pass on 4th down and 10. The Patriots followed Miami's score by driving 68 yards on 6 plays and scored when Bledsoe hit Coates on an 8-yard score.
Miami jumped out in the lead again following a Bledsoe interception in the second quarter. Miami cornerback Sam Madison intercepted Bledsoe and returned the theft to the Patriots 37-yard line. Four plays later, the Dolphins took a 14-7 lead when Marino and Gadsden combined for an 11-yard touchdown. The Patriots battled right back and on the first play of the ensuing drive, as Bledsoe hit Jefferson for a 33-yard completion. They moved the ball to the 8-yard line but had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri. The third-year kicker was successful on all six of his kicks, four field goals and two extra points and totaled 14 of the Patriots 26 points.
In the second half, the Patriots struck first when Vinatieri kicked a 44-yard field goal. The Dolphins followed with a field goal of their own, a 21-yard kick by Olindo Mare. Once again the Patriots followed with another score, a 45-yard field goal by Vinatieri, which cut Miami's lead to 17-16. In the fourth quarter, the Patriots jumped out to a 19-17 lead on Vinateri's fourth field goal. The Patriot lead was short lived when the Dolphins came back on the next series and scored a Karim Adbul-Jabbar 4-yard run. The Dolphins went for the two-point conversion but were not successful. On their next drive the Patriots scored the game-winning touchdown.