Morning sports update: Analyst says Bill Belichick ‘completely botched’ final play in loss vs. Dolphins

"Review the final play closer, and another curious tactical choice by Belichick sticks out."

Bill Belichick Dolphins miracle
Bill Belichick during the Patriots-Dolphins game on Sunday. –Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Patriots lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Dolphins on Sunday, 34-33. Miami scored on a miraculous final play, sending Bill Belichick’s team back to New England with a shocking loss.

Elsewhere, the Bruins beat the Senators in overtime, 2-1.

The mistakes of Bill Belichick: In the aftermath of the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins on the incredible last play of the game, Washington Post national sport writer Adam Kilgore placed the blame on Bill Belichick.

“Bill Belichick screwed up the end of the game,” Kilgore wrote. “Completely botched it. In more ways than one.”

Kilgore pointed out that the mistakes extended beyond the decision to have Rob Gronkowski on the field for the last play, though that was one of them in his view. Another mistake was using linebacker Kyle Van Noy as a quarterback spy. This put him out of position to make a tackle on the inevitable sequence of laterals.

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“Had Van Noy simply dropped into coverage rather than pointlessly hovering around the line of scrimmage, he may have made the disaster-saving tackle, or otherwise help the play stall,” Kilgore explained.

Yet even before that, the Patriots should have gone for a touchdown on their final possession, instead of a field goal. This, as Kilgore believes, would’ve reduced the Dolphins to two stark options, while also giving the Patriots a chance to put the game out of reach (by scoring a touchdown).

“Had the Patriots gone for the touchdown on fourth down but failed,” posited Kilgore, “it would have left the Dolphins about 15 seconds — three plays at most — to move 60 yards with no timeouts to kick an extremely long field goal: a very unlikely proposition. And if the Patriots scored the touchdown, the game would have been over, period.”

“Belichick, maybe the greatest coach of all time, enabled one of the greatest plays of all time,” Kilgore concluded.

More from Boston.com:

Tennis player – and Super Bowl bettor – Eugenie Bouchard was at the Patriots game. Her grandfather wasn’t happy with the result.

Jack Nicklaus, whose grandson is Dolphins tight end Nick O’Leary, was also at the game:

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Is this the worst non-playoff loss in Patriots history? The jarring nature of the Patriots’ last-second loss to the Dolphins has left many wondering about its place in the ignominious chapter of all-time team losses. [The Boston Globe]

Trey Flowers helped deliver his daughter before playing for the Patriots against the Vikings: Prior to the Patriots’ win over the Vikings in Week 13, defensive lineman Trey Flowers was back in Alabama for the birth of his daughter, Shylo Reign.

“The nurses were out getting medicine, and she started coming out, so I kind of had to go into focus mode and just about catch her when she was coming out,” Flowers told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “It came kind of fast. I had to snap up into my tight-end mode, get ready to catch it. It was an experience.”

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Flowers returned to the Patriots in time to play against the Vikings, recording a sack in one of his best games this season.

A Patriots fan’s reaction to yesterday. (Caution: Strong language).

Daily highlight: The Cowboys defeated the Eagles in overtime on a tipped pass that bounced into the arms of Amari Cooper, who gleefully scored his third touchdown of the day:

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