New England Patriots

Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) scrambles against Miami Dolphins linebacker Duke Riley (45) during the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots finished their resurgent 2021 regular season on a sour note, falling 33-24 to the Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. It was a mistake-filled affair for the Patriots, who in recent weeks have reverted to the way they looked early in the season.

No question, the sloppy football has to stop now, or the Patriots will be one-and-done in the playoffs. We already know the Bills can beat them when they’re not playing a clean game. And the talented Bengals would have potential to make them pay for unforced errors.

But clearly, no matter who the Patriots end up playing in the Wild Card round, they’re going to need to clean up the turnovers, penalties, and general miscues. They’ll be hard-pressed to win again if they look the way they did in Miami.

That said, the Patriots did have some bright spots in the game, and those “ups” are why they were within three points late in the fourth quarter. But the “downs” were too much to overcome. Here are the full Ups & Downs from Week 18…

Next Ups & Downs come after the Patriots’ Wild Card game, which has yet to be scheduled. It could be as late as next Monday night.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.