Patriots sub out Devin McCourty for Rob Gronkowski before miracle play


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — There was no injury. This wasn’t a cramping situation. It was the package the Patriots called for. 

Moments before Kenyan Drake scampered into the end zone to beat the Patriots on what’s being dubbed “the Miami Miracle,” Rob Gronkowski jogged onto the field. Devin McCourty remained on the sidelines. 

In Hail Mary situations, according to Patriots players, that’s a normal substitution. The question here was, were the Dolphins in a Hail Mary situation at their own 31-yard line.

Even if Ryan Tannehill made it back to the line of scrimmage to heave the football to the goal line, he would’ve had to sail the thing about 70 yards on an ankle he injured earlier in the game.


“I dunno where we were at,” Tannehill said, “but it was a long ways.”

“You know,” Duron Harmon said, “they’re not just throwing the ball 75 yards...We knew that. We knew it was going to be a lateral situation.”

Tannehill said there was never any doubt from coach Adam Gase. The call was “Boise,” an homage to Boise State, which ran a successful hook-and-lateral play in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

When Tannehill saw the personnel the Patriots called for, he was thrilled. 

“I was like, ‘Gronk’s on the field, we got this!’ “

Tannehill added: “Drake runs a 4.3 and Gronk probably runs a 4.6 or 4.7. We feel good about that matchup.”


The Dolphins hit their short throw to Kenny Stills, who pitched to DeVante Parker, who tossed to Drake. Gronkowski slipped as he chased Drake to the corner and Drake crossed the goal line untouched.

“We just gotta do a better job,” McCourty said later. “Leverage. Tackling. Seven seconds left we just gotta make that play.”

It had to someone else because McCourty wasn’t out there. 

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