Dolphins stun Pats as Chiefs win for bye, Eagles advance

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots hands the ball off to Sony Michel #26 during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

Los AngelesUnited State  (AFP)-The Miami Dolphins stunned the New England Patriots 27-24 on Sunday, allowing the Kansas City Chiefs to seize an NFL first-round playoff bye with a 31-21 triumph over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The heavily favored Patriots’ loss on their home field at Gillette Stadium, coupled with the Chiefs’ win, means Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champions will play in the wild card round for the first time since 2009 — when they were thumped at home by the Baltimore Ravens.

“We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing and it ended up costing us,” New England’s superstar quarterback Brady said. “Just too many bad mistakes.

The Pats will host the Tennessee Titans in the wild card round.

With plenty at stake on the final day of the regular season, the Titans secured the last American Football Conference berth with a 35-14 win over the Houston Texans.

That result extinguished the faint hopes of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders.

Green Bay locked up an National Football Conference first-round bye in dramatic fashion in Detroit, where Mason Crosby kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Packers to a 23-20 victory over the lowly Lions.

With quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggling, the Packers trailed by two touchdowns in the second quarter, and didn’t take the lead until Crosby came through.

The New Orleans Saints did all they could to assure themselves of a first-round bye, crushing the Carolina Panthers 42-10.

But the Packers’ victory left the Saints awaiting the outcome of the San Francisco-Seattle clash for the NFC West division title later Sunday, in which a win would give the 49ers the bye.

The Philadelphia Eagles locked up the final NFC berth, clinching the NFC East division title with a 34-17 victory over the New York Giants.

That result rendered the Dallas Cowboys’ 47-16 victory over the Washington Redskins meaningless.

– ‘Hail to the Dolphins’ –

The Patriots’ road to a title repeat was suddenly looking a lot tougher after their shock loss to the 5-11 Dolphins.

“It was a great chance for us to not play next week, and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Brady said after the Pats fell to No. 3 in the AFC behind the Baltimore Ravens and the Chiefs. “We just didn’t play good enough.”

New England have never won the Super Bowl without benefit of a first-round bye.

They looked set to escape with a victory when James White pulled down a screen pass and ran for a 13-yard touchdown that put New England up for the first time with 3:53 remaining.

But the Dolphins marched 75 yards in three minutes and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found tight end Mike Gesicki for the winning TD with 24 seconds left.

Brady struggled much of the day, completing 16-of-29 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns.

Brady’s first TD pass of the day moved him past Peyton Manning into second on the NFL’s all-time touchdown pass list headed by Drew Brees.

But his pass intercepted by former teammate Eric Rowe in the second quarter was returned for a touchdown that gave the Dolphins a 10-3 lead.

“It was just a bad throw,” the 42-year-old Brady said, insisting that he had no physical problems on the day.

New England’s top-ranked defense allowed a season-high in yards to a Dolphins offense led by Fitzpatrick — who threw for 320 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a TD.

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs didn’t waste the opportunity provided by the Pats’ defeat, locking in the AFC second seed and a bye with a gritty win over the Chargers.

Los Angeles led 14-10 after an early third-quarter touchdown, but Chiefs rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown to ignite a Kansas City rally.

Running back Damien Williams added an 84-yard TD run for the Chiefs.

“All in all a great game,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, drawing a laugh when he added: “Hail to the Dolphins.”