FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa has heard a lot about his shortcomings during his NFL career. Beating the New England Patriots is not one of them.
Raheem Mostert had two touchdown runs, including a 43-yard run in the fourth quarter, and Tagovailoa added a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill to help the Miami Dolphins hold off the Patriots 24-17 on Sunday night.
With the win, Tagovailoa improved to 5-0 against New England coach Bill Belichick.
“It’s never about me,” Tagovailoa said. “Every time we play Coach Belichick’s team, it’s always a challenge, and we know we’re going to do their best. … We’ll take them as they come.
Mostert carried 18 times for 121 yards and Tagovailoa completed 21 of 30 passes for 249 yards and an interception. Jaylen Waddle added four catches for 86 yards before leaving in the fourth quarter following a Marte Mapu hit.
“One hundred yards is difficult to achieve, especially in a passing league. That means everything was going full throttle,” Mostert said.
After opening with two road wins, the Dolphins will look to earn a second straight 3-0 start under coach Mike McDaniel when they host Denver next weekend.
New England fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2001, which was Belichick’s second season as coach.
Trailing 24-17, the Patriots appeared to keep their hopes alive by converting a miraculous fourth-and-4 at the Dolphins 33. Mac Jones completed a pass to Mike Gesicki before the first marker, but the tight end turned and returned the ball . ball to left guard Cole Strange, who rushed forward.
It was originally a first down, but a review showed Strange lacked the necessary distance, turning the ball over on downs. Miami then ran out the clock.
Jones finished 31 of 42 for 231 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“It just wasn’t our day. It hasn’t been our day for two weeks,” he said.
After back-to-back losses in which the Patriots faced significant deficits, tight end Hunter Henry said it was clear mistakes were hurting them. On Sunday, a fumble by rookie Demario Douglas in the first quarter set up Miami’s first touchdown, an 8-yard run by Mostert in the second quarter.
“It’s very frustrating,” Henry said. “Obviously you look at the plays at the end of the game, and we definitely need to be better at that. But we have to be better in the game, so as not to put ourselves in this position.
The Patriots played shorthanded in the secondary after starting cornerback Jonathan Jones was ruled out before 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 passed the ball to eight different receivers, including nine completions to Hill and Waddle.
Defensively, Miami recovered Douglas’ fumble. Then, leading 17-3 in the third quarter, Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard grabbed a hidden pass from Jones intended for DeVante Parker inside the 5.
Miami turned the ball over 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 back when Tagovailoa threw a deep pass intended for Hill that was intercepted by Christian Gonzalez. But backed up, the Patriots went three-and-out.
Then, on the first play after the change, Mostert took a handoff, found a seam in the middle of the Patriots defense and sprinted for his 43-yard TD.
New England drove down the field and closed to within 24-17 on Rhamondre Stevenson’s 2-yard touchdown run, capping a nine-play, 75-yard drive.
Miami had the ball all by itself at 30 when Tagovailoa missed a pass to Waddle. But 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.
McDaniel did not have an update on Waddle’s status, but Tagovailoa said the receiver was in “good spirits.”
McDaniel only confirmed that he had presented for an evaluation.
Dolphins: RB Salvon Ahmed also left with a groin injury.
Patriots: CB Marcus Jones injured his shoulder after tackling Waddle early in the second quarter and did not return.
Towards the end of the game, Hill could be seen waving to Patriots fans as he left the field.
“These fans are some of the worst fans in the NFL, and I’m going to leave it at that,” Hill said. “They’re really mean and some of the things they say I wouldn’t say in church. It was great to say goodbye to the fans, and I will do it again. Bye.”
Dolphins: Host the Broncos next Sunday.
Patriots: At the Jets next Sunday.
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