The New England Patriots have mostly sailed through the 2019 NFL season as they normally do. Aside from a strong push by the Buffalo Bills for AFC East supremacy, they enter the final week of the year with a 12-3 record, another division crown, and another chance to get a first-round bye in the playoffs. The only thing standing in their way was the 4-11 Miami Dolphins, who were seemingly happy enough to lose as to ensure a high draft pick for next season.

Turns out, these Dolphins didn’t roll over and now the Patriots have stumbled into the playoffs with the road back to the Super Bowl presumably going through Baltimore or Kansas City instead.

It was a slow start for both teams and the Dolphins led 3-0 early in the second quarter when the whole game changed on a Tom Brady pick-six that gave the Fins a double-digit lead.

In fact, Brady had himself a miserable first half, especially by his own standards. Meanwhile, Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing like a guy trying to prove that his franchise didn’t need to spend their impending high draft pick on a quarterback.

Still, the Patriots are the Patriots and they got it together enough to tie things up headed into the fourth quarter.

After a Dolphins field goal gave them a late lead, the Patriots did what you figured they’d always do. Tom Brady found James White for a go-ahead touchdown with a little less than four minutes left. Based on everything we think we know, that should have been the backbreaker on the Dolphins’ charming efforts.

Alas, no one told Fitzpatrick and he marched the Dolphins down the field for a game-winning touchdown score with 30 seconds left.

A fun victory for Miami, who got to spoil New England’s final game of the season and force them to play in the first round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs, whose fans had been keeping a very close eye on this game, will get the first-round bye instead thanks to their win over the LA Chargers. In fact, the full outcome basically happened in real-time as both game finales played out at roughly the same moment, leading to CBS’ Kevin Harlan calling both at the same time.

It’s a great result for Patriots haters, though they should know by now not to count out Touchdown Tom and Bill Belichick just yet. Still, the road back to the Super Bowl got a little bit hard for them today and a little bit easier for the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens are just chillin’ out waiting for either of them.

[CBS]

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Curbed, Neighborhoods.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.