Given 15 yards and a fresh set of downs, Brady and Welker worked their connection, with the receiver making four catches for 36 yards after the penalty, including the 7-yard touchdown.
“Oh man, I’m sick about that,” Wilson said. “I got a late jump. I shouldn’t have left my feet.”
The defense got its 33d takeaway of the season 90 seconds later when Trevor Scott, who saw a lot of playing time thanks to Chandler Jones’s injury and Jermaine Cunningham’s suspension, forced the ball out of Ryan Tannehill’s grasp when he hit him from behind. Wilfork fell on the loose ball.
“For the opportunity Trevor got — a two-sack game speaks for itself,” Rob Ninkovich said. “It’s great — with some guys down, other guys have to step up.”
Though they again started with a short field, the Patriots went nowhere; Gostkowski hit from 43 yards for a 17-3 lead.
The Dolphins got their only touchdown just before halftime, overcoming two early penalties that backed them up to the 5. Tannehill ran the ball in himself, though he was flipped off his feet by Alfonzo Dennard and absorbed a hit from Ninkovich.
Brady looked to Welker so often in the first half — he was targeted 13 times, as many as the other five targeted players total — that he had 10 catches by the break.
It gave him his 17th career game with 10 or more receptions, tying him with Jerry Rice for most all time.