Playing without tight end Rob Gronkowski and receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, the Patriots were not going to go on the road and have an easy time beating a hungry Dolphins team that desperately wants a playoff berth.
Yet, New England was in position to win the game on the Patriots last drive of the game. Except Dolphins cornerback Michael Thomas -- a Michael Thomas you've probably never heard of before now -- broke up a pass intended for Danny Amendola with 27 seconds to play and then intercepted Brady in the end zone to end New England's chances.
Despite Brady's impressive stat line (34 of 55 for 364 yards, two touchdowns and that interception), the Dolphins' win improved their record to 8-6 and kept themselves alive in the playoff picture with two weeks to go. There were also some other impressive numbers to emerge from this game.
•Ryan Tannehill went 25 of 37 for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Pretty good day, right? Even better for him, he broke the franchise record for touchdowns in a season by a player not named Dan Marino with 23, via ESPN Stats Info. To put that in perspective, Marino, 11 times in his 17 seasons, threw for at least 23 touchdowns, and his career high was 48 touchdowns in 1984.
•Five days ago, cornerback Michael Thomas was a member of the 49ers practice squad. Then, the Dolphins signed him to the active roster, and Sunday, he made two key plays late in the game against Brady. He told reporters after the game that he knew the play calls but didn't know the signals. Instead, Reshad Johnson had to verbally tell him the calls.
•With the win, the Dolphins snapped a seven-game losing streak to New England.
•It's only the seventh time in Brady's career that he's lost a game in the month of December. He's won 43 times.
BY THE NUMBERS
1.7: The average yards per carry recorded by Vikings running back Matt Asiata. Oh, and he also scored three touchdowns. And he's the ninth player in NFL history to average as little as 1.7 yards in a game and score at least three touchdowns. (H/T to Sigmund Bloom).
4: The number of fumbles lost by the Redskins in the first half vs. the Falcons. According to Elias Sports, Washington is the first team since 1999 to lose at least four fumbles before halftime yet head into intermission winning the game (H/T to CSN Washington).
5: The number of interceptions thrown by Eli Manning, a career-high in a single game. That's painful and so is this: he's got a league-leading 25 picks on the season -- which also ties a career high. He also passed Charlie Conerly to become the franchise record holder for picks.
13: The combined length (in yards) of all five of Alex Smith's touchdowns, via Josh Dubow. That, my friends, is amazing.
23: The number of career wins for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. It's the most of any quarterback through the first two seasons of his career in the Super Bowl era (Ben Roethlisberger had 22 and Dan Marino had 21), via ESPN Stats Info.
30: The number of career starts made by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who's never lost two consecutive games. As Stats NFL points out, that's the third-longest streak for the beginning of a starting quarterbacks careers since 1950.
38: The number of first-half possessions from Week 7 to Week 15 it had been since the Colts scored a touchdown in the first 30 minutes of a game.
48: The number of passes thrown by the Cowboys on Sunday. Remember, they had a 26-3 halftime lead against the Packers, leading many to think Dallas would spend the second half running the ball. Instead, the Cowboys only ran the ball 18 times.
48: The number of points scored by the Vikings in their penultimate appearance in the Metrodome. It's only the third time since the stadium opened in 1982 that the Vikings have scored at least 48 points there.
56: The number of points scored by the Chiefs on Sunday, just the fourth time in team history they've scored at least 56 in a single game (the first time since 2004).
85: The number of receptions made by Tennessee's Kendall Wright this season after his 12-catch performance Sunday. The team notes that he's the first Titans player to accumulate that many since Derrick Mason had 96 and Drew Bennett had 80 in 2004.
104: The number of rushing yards gained by Jacksonville's Jordan Todman by the end of the third quarter. Which is more than any complete game this year by Maurice Jones-Drew (via Chris Wesseling). The bad news: Todman only gained five yards in the fourth quarter, and the Jaguars lost.
168: The number of passing yards accumulated by Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel in the first quarter of his team's win vs. Eagles. Seven times in the past three years, Cassel has started an NFL game and thrown for less than 168 yards for the entire contest.
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