Mostert runs for pair of TDs, Tagovailoa throws for another as Dolphins hold off Pats 24-17
Foxborough, Mass. — Raheem Mostert had a pair of TD runs, including a 43-yard romp in the fourth quarter, and Tua Tagovailoa added a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill to help the Miami Dolphins hold off the New England Patriots 24-17 on Sunday night.
Mostert carried 18 times for 121 yards and Tagovailoa completed 21 of 30 passes for 249 yards and an interception. After opening with two road wins, the Dolphins will try for their second straight 3-0 start under coach Mike McDaniel when they host Denver next weekend.
New England dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 2001, which was Bill Belichick’s second season as coach.
Trailing 24-17, the Patriots appeared to keep their hopes alive by converting a miraculous fourth-and-4 on the Dolphins 33. Mac Jones completed a pass to Mike Gesicki short of the first down marker, but the veteran tight end spun and flipped the ball to left guard Cole Strange, who lunged forward.
It was originally called a first down, but a review showed Strange was short of the needed yardage, turning the ball over on downs. Miami then ran the clock out.
Jones finished 31 of 42 for 231 yards, a touchdown and interception.
The Patriots played short-handed in the secondary after starting cornerback Jonathan Jones was ruled out prior to kickoff with an ankle injury. They took another hit in the second quarter when Marcus Jones left with a shoulder issue.
The Dolphins took advantage as Tagovailoa spread the ball around to eight different receivers, including nine completions to Hill and Waddle.
Defensively, Miami recovered a first-quarter fumble by rookie Demario Douglas, leading to Mostert’s first score. Then, leading 17-3 in the third quarter, Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard grabbed an underthrown pass from Mac Jones that was intended for DeVante Parker inside the 5.
Miami punted the ball back and New England found some traction, using an 18-yard run by Jones and a holding penalty on Howard to help set up a 6-yard TD pass from Jones to Hunter Henry.
New England got the ball right back when Tagovailoa had a deep pass intended for Hill intercepted by Christian Gonzalez. But backed up, the Patriots went three-and-out.
Then, on the first play after the changeover, Mostert took a handoff, found a seam in the middle of the Patriots defense and sprinted for his 43-yard TD.
New England marched right down the field and closed to 24-17 on Rhamondre Stevenson's 2-yard touchdown run, capping a nine-play, 75-yard drive.
Miami had the ball on its own 30 when Tagovailoa missed on a pass to Jaylen Waddle. But Marte Mapu was called for unnecessary roughness, giving the Dolphins a first down near midfield.
The Dolphins had a chance to extend their lead with a 55-yard field goal attempt by Jason Sanders, but it missed wide left.
Dolphins: RB Salvon Ahmed left with a groin injury.
Patriots: CB Marcus Jones injured his shoulder after tackling Waddle early in the second quarter and did not return.
Dolphins: Host the Broncos next Sunday.
Patriots: At the Jets next Sunday.
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