This has been Rob Gronkowski’s strangest, weirdest NFL season so far

Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 107 yards and a touchdown against Miami.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Gronkowski at the end of Sunday’s game, so out of place and so out of gas, has become the defining image of the Patriots’ loss.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/shaughnessy.jpg Is Patriots stunner the worst non-playoff loss in Boston sports history?

I dare you to come up with anything more hideous and ghoulish. And the consequences are likely to be enormous.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/b1a64676ab5645f78f47977d774b40ab-b1a64676ab5645f78f47977d774b40ab-0.jpg Patriots’ loss likely ended any shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC

The Chiefs beat the Ravens in overtime and have a two-game lead on the Patriots with three to play.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/thatguy1-24847.jpg ‘I don’t know what to say’: Listen to calls of the Dolphins’ game-winning play vs. Patriots

It was a finish that left those who witnessed it stunned. And in a few cases, the camera was rolling.

Boston12/6/18 Celtics vs Knicks- Celtics Kyrie Irving falls out of bounds chasing a loose ball under the Kcicks net in the 1st qtr. Photo by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff(sports)

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Pelicans at Celtics | 7:30 p.m., NBCSB

Shorthanded Celtics look to extend winning streak against New Orleans

Kyrie Irving, Aron Baynes, and Guerschon Yabusele have been ruled out, while Gordon Hayward and Al Horford are listed as doubtful.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/9762631c27d647cbb7508853b54cc53e-9762631c27d647cbb7508853b54cc53e-24891.jpg The Celtics’ recent surge is what we expected all along

Distancing themselves from a 10-10 start with a five-game winning streak, the Celtics’ play has been nothing short of dominant.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismiane16spts.jpg Tom Brady explained why he fell after throwing a touchdown to Rob Gronkowski

Brady said his knee brace was twisted, causing him to fall to the ground and grab his leg, but was helped up and jogged off the field.

Ben Volin | On Football

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismiane20spts.jpg Patriots almost always execute in crunch time, but they didn’t against the Dolphins

Tom Brady losing track of the timeouts and Stephen Gostkowski missing two kicks were among the team’s many mistakes.

Miami Gardens, FL 12-9-18: The Dolphins Kenyan Drake (32) is headed to the end zone as the Patriots Rob Gronkowski (87,right) pursues, but can't stop him as he scores the game winning touchdown on the last play of the game. Miami stunned New England 34-33. The New England Patriots visited the Miami Dolphins in a regular season NFL football game at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

jim davis/Globe staff


Everything you need to know about how the Dolphins pulled off the final play

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill saw Rob Gronkowski playing deep safety and said, “We got this!”


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismiane12spts.jpg Patriots breakdown: The best, worst (and everything in between)

The play and the loss dropped the Patriots to 9-4, prevented them from clinching their 10th straight AFC East title.

Chad Finn | 34 thoughts

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismiane8spts.jpg Bizarre things happen to Patriots in Miami, but this loss tops them all

The Patriots have lost in Miami to Joey Harrington and A.J. Feeley, but never like this.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/180123_ON_022.jpg Former Red Sox closer Lee Smith elected to Hall of Fame

Smith, who pitched two-plus seasons with the Red Sox between 1988-90, joins Harold Baines as the Hall’s newest members.

Kenyan Drake’s touchdown was the difference.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Ben Volin | Instant Analysis

Patriots let Dolphins hang around, and lost in devastating fashion

The loss hurt the Patriots’ chances of clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Patriots notebook

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismiane12spts.jpg It’s lost because of the final play, but Rob Gronkowski was a force again on offense

Gronkowski had 8 receptions on 8 targets for 107 yards and scored his first red-zone TD of the season.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismiane8spts.jpg Our photographer perfectly captured the Dolphins’ game-winning play

You see it tried often enough at the end of the game. You don’t see it succeed.

Dolphins 34, Patriots 33

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismiane2spts.jpg Patriots lose as Dolphins score improbable touchdown on final play

The Patriots’ chances of clinching the top spot in the AFC took a major blow with the loss at Miami.

Boston Bruin defenseman Torey Krug (47) celebrates his winning overtime goal with teammates Brad Marchand (63) and David Krejci (46) at the end of NHL hockey overtime action against the Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press via AP)

Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press via AP

Bruins 2, Senators 1

Torey Krug’s overtime goal lifts Bruins over Senators

A slick play from David Krejci set up the Bruins defenseman for his second goal of the season at 3:07.

Boston Bruins' Charlie McAvoy (73) leaves the ice with help from Brad Marchand (63) and Joakim Nordstrom (20) after a hit by Toronto Maple Leafs' Zach Hyman during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

bruins notebook

Charlie McAvoy returns to lineup against Senators

Toronto’s Zach Hyman has been suspended for two games for interference for his hit on McAvoy.

Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox closer the last three seasons, is a free agent.

HARRY HOW/Getty Images


What are Red Sox’ needs heading into Winter Meetings?

The Sox essentially have their team in place with the exception of some additions to the bullpen, including a closer.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/3e00a917d9374334b004739cb785e4a3-3e00a917d9374334b004739cb785e4a3-0.jpg Lowly Raiders answer late to surprise fading Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger returned from an injury to put Pittsburgh ahead late but Derek Carr answered with 21 seconds to go to lift the Raiders.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/45afb6f4d73f4fc1a9c307720ab33b54-45afb6f4d73f4fc1a9c307720ab33b54-0.jpg Chiefs rally to knock off Ravens in overtime

Patrick Mahomes had another big day and Harrison Butker atoned for a miss at the end of regulation by kicking a 36-yarder in OT.

Sports Log

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/AFP_1BG6RU.jpg Mikaela Shiffrin captures World Cup ski event

US ski champion won her third World Cup title in eight days with a triumph in the parallel slalom at St. Moritz, Switzerland.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/1070847436.jpg T.Y. Hilton helps Colts end Texans’ nine-game winning streak

The Indy receiver had nine catches for 199 yards to help Indy stay alive in the AFC South race.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/1079971714.jpg Cowboys edge Eagles in OT, close in on NFC East title

Amari Cooper caught his third TD pass from Dak Prescott from in overtime to give Dallas its fifth straight win.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/4f6f7fae4d494ea0b160d9eb345d87cb-4f6f7fae4d494ea0b160d9eb345d87cb-0.jpg Tom Brady takes a sack as Patriots leave points on the field at the end of the first half

It was a rare case of poor clock management by the Patriots.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davismianepre6spts.jpg Tom Brady sets record for most touchdown passes in NFL history

Brady eclipsed Peyton Manning with a 2-yard pass to Julian Edelman in the first quarter against Miami.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/1070645766.jpg Albert McClellan blocks two punts for Patriots vs. Dolphins

The first of two blocked punts led to a Patriots touchdown.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/1070668248.jpg Redskins not faring well going with retro look at QB

Mark Sanchez’s first start since 2015 was a disaster, so Josh Johnson — who hadn’t thrown a pass since 2011 — got the call.

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray holds the Heisman Trophy after winning the award Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Heisman Trophy winner apologizes for making anti-gay tweets as a teenager

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray said he used a poor choice of words when he was 14 and 15.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/01/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/c7ead8a052c74425bd6b1d8e7f5f4d9f-c7ead8a052c74425bd6b1d8e7f5f4d9f-0.jpg Why Jaylen Brown has no plans to hire an agent

The Celtics young star, closing in on a potential career-defining contract after this season, will seek financial advice by a different means.

FOR FUTURE HOHLER STORY Myra and Raymond Turner, parents of pro football player Kevin Turner, visit the memorial for their son at the Kevin Turner Field, at the Stanley-Jensen Stadium, Prattville, Alabama. Turner's photograph is on the memorial. Turner's nickname was

Meg McKinney for The Boston Globe


Ex-Patriot Kevin Turner’s children battle the nurse who became his wife and heir

Turner died a year after marrying his nurse, who now gets his NFL pension, but his parents claim he wasn’t mentally fit to make decisions.

High Schools | Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/12/09/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/sydney1.jpg Sydney Masciarelli wins girls’ cross-country national title

The 15-year-old Marianapolis Prep sophomore claimed first (17:00.3) in the Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships on Saturday in San Diego, Calif.


//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2018/11/17/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/18schfhockey_02.jpg The final Globe Top 20 fall high school sports rankings are out

St. John’s Prep topped the football poll, while Somerset Berkley was first in field hockey.

Kevin Paul Dupont

/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/03/05/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/dupont-13978.tif More from Dupont

Read his recent “On Second Thought” columns and more features from the longtime Globe writer.