BOSTON (CBS) — It’s now official: The New England Patriots will not be a part of this season’s playoffs.

The Patriots were formally eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday, when they lost 22-12 to the Dolphins in Miami. The loss dropped their record to 6-8 on the season, giving New England its highest single-season loss total since the year 2000 — Bill Belichick’s first season in Foxboro.

Miami improved to 9-5 on the season, and Brian Flores now has December wins against his former boss in two straight seasons for the Dolphins.

Cam Newton completed 17 of his 27 passes for 209 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Tua Tagovailoa was 20-for-26 for 145 yards with no touchdowns and one pick. Newton ran for 38 yards, while Tagovailoa ran for nine yards and two touchdowns.

The Dolphins threatened first, embarking on a lengthy drive late in the first quarter that saw them travel from their own 2-yard line to the Patriots’ 3-yard line. But on third-and-goal, while facing pressure in the pocket from Chase Winovich, Tagovailoa threw an ill-advised pass to the end zone that was picked off with ease by J.C. Jackson.

The Patriots used that turnover to embark on a long drive of their own, moving the ball 69 yards on 13 plays before a Newton incompletion to N’Keal Harry on third-and-3 led to New England settling for a 45-yard field goal attempt. Nick Folk’s kick was perfect, and the Patriots took a 3-0 lead a little over 6 minutes into the second quarter.

The Patriots dodged a major bullet later in the quarter, when Newton lost the football while getting hit near the right sideline by Brandon Jones. Xavien Howard recovered the fumble and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown, but a replay review showed that Christian Wilkins was stepping out of bounds when the loose ball his his leg, prior to Howard’s recovery.

After getting possession back on the review, Folk came out for a 36-yard field goal to give New England a 6-0 lead.

On the final drive of the second quarter, Stephon Gilmore suffered a knee injury and left the game. The Dolphins later converted a fourth-and-8 at the New England 43-yard line, giving Jason Sanders a chance at a 52-yard field goal before halftime. The kick drifted wide left, though, keeping the score at 6-0 at the break.

The Dolphins came out of the locker room at halftime with an effective offensive game plan, driving 72 yards on nine plays to take a 7-6 lead. Salvon Ahmed scored on a run from the 1-yard line, giving Miami a 7-6 lead early in the third quarter.

After a Jakobi Meyers fumble gave the Dolphins the ball back, Miami converted a fake punt. The play was called back, though, as Kamier Grugier-Hill did not report as an eligible receiver prior to running a route and making a 14-yard reception on a pass from punter Matt Haack. Miami would have to punt after the enforcement of the penalty.

The Patriots made their way back up the field on the ensuing drive, with a Newton-Meyers connection for 35 yards over the middle of the field doing the bulk of the damage.

After an 8-yard completion from Newton to Meyers on a third-and-10, Folk trotted onto the field for his third field goal try of the day. This one — from 45 yards — was good again, giving the Patriots a 9-7 lead with 4:20 left in the third quarter.

The Dolphins answered, though, with a massive 90-yard drive, which ended with Tagovailoa evading a blitz from Jackson before scrambling up the middle and scoring on a 3-yard run. A two-point conversion — featuring a lateral from wideout Isaiah Ford to running back Ahmed — was successful, giving Miami a 15-9 lead.

The Patriots came back with a field goal drive. A 23-yard reception from Damiere Byrd and a 13-yard Sony Michel run helped get the Patriots into field-goal range, and Folk successfully kicked a 42-yard field goal to cut Miami’s lead to three points with just over nine minutes left in the game.

But the Dolphins extinguished the Patriots’ hopes with yet another scoring drive, this one going 75 yards on 10 plays, highlighted by a 24-yard Matt Breida run and ended with a 1-yard sneak by Tagovailoa. The PAT made it a 10-point lead for Miami with 3:17 left to play.

Newton was sacked on a fourth-and-2 play inside of the two-minute warning, officially ending the Patriots’ chances on this day.

The Patriots will host the AFC East-champion Bills next week on Monday Night Football, before finishing out the regular season at home against the Jets in Week 17.

CBSBoston.com Staff