Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports

Patriots defense tries to explain what happened on final play vs. Dolphins

Ryan Hannable
December 09, 2018 - 7:10 pm

MIAMI -- It's hard to describe what happened on the final play of the Patriots' 34-33 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday and that's for the Patriots players themselves, too.

Leading 33-28 with seven seconds left, the Dolphins scored a touchdown when Ryan Tannehill completed a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills, the Dolphins executed two laterals, and Kenyan Drake ran 52 yards for a touchdown to give Miami a 34-33 win in the most stunning of fashions.

Rob Gronkowski was deep defending the goal-line, but he slipped and could not make the game-saving tackle.

It is worth wondering why Gronkowski was in the game, as a Hail Mary situation was likely not going to occur considering it would have been a 70-plus yard throw.

Here's a sampling of the Patriots defenders trying to explain what went down.

Devin McCourty: “It’s not that hard. We just have to do a better job [with] leverage, tackling. Seven seconds [left], we just have to make that play.”

Jason McCourty: “We just have to make the tackle. We can talk the play until we’re blue in the face. Just as a defense we have to get to the ball and we have to get him down. There’s nothing crazy or scientific that I can tell you. At the end of the day you just have to find a way to get the guy to the ground.”

Jonathan Jones: “Just tackle him. Try and tackle him and stop him from lateraling it and continue to play. They were able to get it off and continue to play. We have to fly to the ball and make the play.”

Duron Harmon: "We just didn’t tackle him. For whatever reason, he didn’t go down. We didn’t execute the play and they won.”

Related: Ryan Tannehill on final play in win over Patriots: 'Gronk is on the field. We got this'