Miami was led by second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who completed 25 of 37 passes for 312 yards and a trio of touchdowns without an interception. Despite being sacked four times and facing pressure on almost every dropback, Tannehill was accurate all day, including on the game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Thigpen.
Kevin Nogle at The Phinsider wrote about the change in perception taking place in South Beach:
With a 24-20 victory over the Patriots yesterday, the Dolphins reset much of what was known about them. No longer are they the Patriots' whipping boy. No longer are they a sub-.500 team. Marino and Pennington now share the Dolphin's 3,500-yard club with Ryan Tannehill, who could be in the 4,000-yard by the end of the year, a club only containing Marino so far. Thomas went from being a San Francisco 49ers practice squad player five days before to hero for the Dolphins as he not only made his NFL debut, but recorded his first interception as well.
New England came down the field late and had multiple shots at the end zone from inside the 15-yard line, but could not get it done. Ultimately, the Patriots lost control of home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs when Tom Brady's final pass was intercepted in the end zone by Michael Thomas.
Over at Pats Pulpit, Greg Knopping discussed why New England fell short on the road:
But as bad as the Patriots were defensively in the second half, the real reason the Patriots lost this game was due to the stellar play of Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Heading into the season, most would have agreed that Tannehill was the second best quarterback in the division behind Tom Brady. But that wasn't really a compliment considering the competition: rookies Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel. But after today, at least from a Patriots fan's perspective, that's something he can say with pride. He missed some throws in the first half, but was simply on fire in the final two quarters.