Rally falls short for Patriots

MIAMI -- In what has been a weekly ritual of late, the New England Patriots found themselves knotted in a tight ball game late in the fourth quarter on Sunday in Miami.

The stakes were high and the circumstances were clear: Eighty yards to go for a touchdown, three timeouts remaining and down by four points.

Given their recent run of success in similar circumstances, you can’t fault the Patriots for feeling confident they were still very much alive with their backs against the wall.

“We work on the two-minute drill every week and, you know, we felt like we had a good chance and we wanted to execute the plays we had practiced,” wide receiver Danny Amendola said following the game. “You know it’s frustrating, but it didn’t work out today.”

The Patriots had their chances, as they quickly found themselves deep in Dolphins territory. Amendola had perhaps the best opportunity to put his team ahead, as a throw from Tom Brady fell into his hands as he attempted to outleverage a Dolphins defender in the end zone.

“I’d like to have that one,” Amendola, who was unsure if the defender jousted the ball free from his arms, said of the near touchdown.

“I don’t know, I’ll have to look at film, but the game’s on the line,” he said. “I’d really like to have that one.”

The near touchdown overshadows what was arguably Amendola’s best day as a Patriot, as he racked up 10 catches for 131 yards. He combined with Julian Edelman -- who chipped in 13 catches, 139 yards and a touchdown -- to give the Dolphins’ secondary fits for much of the afternoon.

Despite the production and exceptional effort in finding space, neither player was satisfied following the game, a 24-20 defeat.

“We didn’t find enough [space],” a disappointed Edelman said following the game. “We didn’t make the plays when we had to and Miami did.”

Ultimately, the Patriots came up just short, as Brady’s fourth-down throw on the game’s penultimate play was intercepted by Dolphins safety Michael Thomas.

The result wasn’t just a loss on Sunday, but it also prevented the Patriots from clinching their fifth straight AFC East division crown.

“That was a goal of ours,” Amendola said. “The bottom line is we wanted to win this game and it just didn’t happen.”

They’ll aim to atone for the loss next week against Baltimore, who they’ll quickly turn the page to in the not-too-distant future.

“We’re going to go back and watch this film, fix what we have to,” Edelman said. “Take the good from the good, the bad from bad, and everything in between, and prepare for the Baltimore Ravens.”