In his conference call on Monday, Bill Belichick discussed how he saw two key plays go off for the Dolphins offense.
The first was when the Patriots, leading 20-17, had Miami in a third-and-16 at the Miami 34 with 3:24 left. Miami picked up 11 yards on an in-cut to Brian Hartline. Hartline was brought down immediately by Logan Ryan.
“Good throw,” said Belichick. “We tackled (Hartline) as soon as he caught the ball. I don’t think that’s the kind of situation where you really want to get pass interference or be too overly aggressive playing the ball and miss it and have the guy turn up and run for a first down or whatever. Fourth-and-[five], defensively that’s a situation that you don’t mind being in. I don’t really second guess too much of what happened on that play. It was a good throw and a good catch. It wasn’t like we weren’t on the receiver but he made a good throw.”
On the ensuing fourth-and-5, the Patriots had a chance to all but seal it. But Ryan Tannehill threw around an onrushing Rob Ninkovich, Charles Clay adjusted to the ball, made an outstanding catch on the right hash and got through the defenders on the scene for the first down.
“I think it definitely could have been played better,” said Belichick. “Like I said, we were there. We had two guys there making the tackle right there at the sticks and he was able to fall forward for the yard. I mean, had we gotten there a step quicker, it was obviously a close play -- that they made -- but we were pretty close. We just need to play a little bit better. There were several things on the play that we could have just been a tiny bit better, might have made a difference. It just wasn’t quite enough.”