The Patriots’ latest blowout loss to the Dolphins came after a loss in the NFL’s most important division, which has become a major factor in the AFC title race.
The Patriots went 3-1 in the division last season, the best record in the league.
But they were blown out in the second half of a 27-23 loss to Buffalo in Week 14.
The team hasn’t played in the conference championship since, which is why the team’s coach, Bill Belichick, said Sunday that it would be tough for him to play a game without Tom Brady.
Belichick, whose team has been in the playoff race since 2011, was asked about his decision to take out the suspension of defensive end Chandler Jones, who is facing two counts of domestic violence stemming from a July 2015 incident.
The suspension has been a point of contention since the season started.
The league office said last month that Jones would not be suspended but the Patriots have argued that it is not the right punishment because Jones’ case is pending.
Jones has said he did not do anything wrong, but he also has said his girlfriend pushed him and he had no idea she had a gun in her apartment at the time.
Jones, who has a history of domestic-violence charges, could face a suspension for the season if he is convicted of two counts.
Jones has not been formally charged.
The Dolphins were led by a trio of wide receivers: Josh Hart, Andre Roberts and Brandon Gibson, who all scored touchdowns.
Hart and Roberts combined for 14 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Roberts had his fourth-straight game with at least 20 yards and was targeted four times.
He caught all three of his passes for 51 yards.
Hart had a career-high five catches for 69 yards.
Roberts had two catches for 19 yards.
Gibson had two receptions for 28 yards.
The offense did not take advantage of any of its big plays Sunday.
Hart had a six-yard touchdown catch on a play in which the Patriots tried to rush the ball down the field, and Roberts had a 3-yard score on a run that was nearly intercepted.
Hart ran a 9-yard pass on the next play, and Gibson made the tackle with less than a minute left.
The loss ended a 10-game winning streak for Miami.