In a chippy game Sunday afternoon, the New England Patriots were able to clinch the #1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 35-14 win against the Miami Dolphins.
New England jumped out to an early lead with two touchdowns from Martellus Bennet and Michael Floyd. Bennet ended the game with 3 receptions for 33 yards and the 1 touchdown and Michael Floyd finished with 3 receptions for 36 yards, 1 touchdown and this vicious block on Miami’s Tony Lippett:
Logan Ryan ended the first quarter with an interception and the Patriots continued rolling in the 2nd quarter, beginning with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal to make it 17-0. Another field goal made it 20-0 but Miami’s comeback efforts began after that as Matt Moore (200 yards, 2 touchdowns & 1 interception) found Jarvis Landry for a tremendous individual touchdown. Gostkowski missed a 52-yarder to end the half at 20-7 and Miami carried that momentum into the next half, starting it with a wide-open touchdown catch for Kenny Stills to make the game interesting at 20-14.
On the next drive for the Patriots, Julien Edelman broke loose for a 77-yard touchdown that was solidified by Floyd’s block and that proved to be the silencer as the Patriots continued to run away with the game. Edelman had a huge day, finishing with 8 receptions for a career-high 151 yards and the 1 touchdown as he proves to be Mr. reliable once again.
With Miami on the verge of a touchdown on the next drive, Patriots safety Devin McCourty forced a fumble from Dolphins running back Damien Williams that Shea McLellin recovered, and returned inside of Miami’s 20-yard line. That play was followed with LeGarrette Blount’s 18th rushing touchdown of the season and a 2-point conversion to Julien Edelman to get to the final score of 35-14.
Tom Brady finished the game 25 of 33 passing for 276 yards and 3 touchdowns as he racks up a few more accolades. Brady passed Dan Marino for 4th most on the all time passing-yards list and also set the NFL record for the best touchdown-interception ratio (28-2) in a single-season.
The Patriots have 2 weeks to rest and let the rest of the AFC play out as they await their challenger. New England finishes with a 14-2 record and Brady has a very legitimate case to be the NFL MVP. With the way they have been playing lately, New England should have no problems cruising through the playoffs and getting to Super Bowl 51.