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Scott, getting his first start, made the biggest impact, sacking Tannehill twice and forcing a fumble.
“I was definitely excited for the opportunity today and tried to make the most of it. I’m just glad we came out with the win,” Scott said. “It definitely feels good to be able to go out and make plays with my teammates, there’s no better feeling than that.”
Deaderick also forced a fumble and had three tackles, while Francis was credited with one tackle.
The Dolphins’ decision to kick a 42-yard field goal on second down in the game’s final minute made strategic sense, since they trailed by 10 points and would need two scores to tie. A failed onside kick ended their comeback hopes, but the Dolphins’ last-minute 3 had a direct impact on anyone who placed a wager on the game. The Patriots were giving anywhere from 7 ½ to 10 points, depending on when and where the bet was placed, so the field goal turned a Patriots cover into a Dolphins cover . . . The Patriots have won 12 consecutive December games, dating to Dec. 6, 2009, when they lost at Miami, 22-21 . . . Stephen Gostkowski made three field goals but also missed from 49 yards, leaving him 24 for 30 this season. The six missed field goals match a career high (he was 20 for 26 as a rookie in 2006), and they’ve all come between 30 and 49 yards. He’s made both of his attempts this year from 50 yards and beyond . . . Anyone holding out hope that Brian Waters might still be able to suit up this season can strike the Pro Bowl guard off the wish list. Friday was the deadline for teams to remove players from the reserve/did not report list, and the Patriots didn’t remove Waters, who had one season left on his contract . . . Dan Connolly got the start at right guard, but he left the game in the first quarter with a back injury. Nick McDonald, who started in place of Connolly against the Colts, replaced him, and Marcus Cannon took over for McDonald for the first two series of the second half. McDonald then came back in . . . Special teams captain Matthew Slater also left the game with an injury after a Patriots’ kickoff return following the Dolphins’ first-quarter field goal, but he was back out there on the next assignment. He finished with two tackles.