NFL Game Summary - Miami at New England|
(Sunday, January 2nd)
Final Score: New England 38, Miami 7
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Tom Brady engineered three touchdown drives in
limited action and Julian Edelman returned a punt 94 yards for a score in the
final minute of the first half, as the New England Patriots concluded the
regular season with a 38-7 rout of the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
Brady played into the second quarter before taking a seat after directing two
scoring marches, then came back out to start the third quarter and led the
Patriots to another touchdown. He completed 10-of-16 passes for 199 yards with
a pair of scores to complete a potential MVP campaign with 36 touchdown passes
and just four interceptions.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis added a touchdown run for the Patriots (14-2), who had
previously clinched the AFC East title and the top seed in the playoffs. They
will head into the postseason with an eight-game winning streak, having last
tasted defeat on November 7 at Cleveland.
New England will have a bye next week before opening the playoffs in Foxboro
on the weekend of January 15-16. The Patriots have not lost at home in the
regular season since 2008, although they were beaten by Baltimore in the
playoffs at Gillette Stadium last January. They won at least 14 games for the
fourth time since 2003 and will enter the playoffs as the top seed for the
third time in franchise history.
"It's good to end the season on this note, but right now we're just like
everybody else; everybody is 0-0 at this point in the playoffs, so it's time
for us to get focused on the next target," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
The Dolphins (7-9) ended the season with a three-game losing streak to finish
with a losing record for the fourth time in five years. It was just Miami's
second road loss of the season to go along with a disastrous 1-7 home mark
that could put head coach Tony Sparano's job in jeopardy. Sparano led the
Dolphins to an 11-5 record and an AFC East crown in his first season of 2008,
but the team was just 7-9 with a three-game slide to close last season as
"We don't want to be in [this] position again and we shouldn't forget what
just happened to us out there," Sparano said. "[It's] not a good place to be.
We did it to ourselves coming into this game, having nothing to play for,
other than the pride thing and all those good things...It's not what we aspire
to be. We have a lot loftier goals than that."
Chad Henne struggled again under center for Miami, throwing for just 71 yards
on 6-of-16 passing. He was spelled at times in the first half by Tyler
Thigpen, who finished the contest 10-of-21 passing for 169 yards and a late
The Dolphins managed just 250 total yards in defeat and yielded a whopping 502
on defense. Miami dropped both games to the Patriots this season by a combined
score of 79-21.
It didn't take long for the Patriots to move in front. Devin McCourty picked
off Henne on the first offensive series of the game and Brady needed just six
plays to find the end zone, hitting Rob Gronkowski with a 13-yard scoring pass
to cap the 47-yard march.
Miami had an opportunity to take advantage of New England's first turnover
since the Week 9 loss against Cleveland when Danny Woodhead fumbled on the
Patriots' next series. The Dolphins recovered at the New England 34, but Dan
Carpenter missed a 40-yard field goal attempt.
The Patriots followed with a four-play, 70-yard drive for a 14-0 lead. Brady
and Edelman hooked up on consecutive passes for 62 yards before Green-Ellis
powered into the end zone from the one-yard line.
After a series of punts, Ricky Williams coughed up the ball at the New England
41 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the half and the Patriots converted the
turnover into a 28-yard Shayne Graham field goal for a 17-0 advantage.
Edelman then sent New England to the break with a 24-point cushion after he
fielded a punt at his own six-yard line, eluded one tackler and wove his way
through the rest of Miami's coverage team for a touchdown. The 94-yard return
was the longest in Patriots history, eclipsing the previous mark of 89 yards
set by Mike Haynes in 1976.
The Patriots took the second-half kickoff and drove 78 yards in seven plays
for a score, as Brady found Alge Crumpler with a 10-yard TD toss.
Brian Hoyer threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Tate later in the third
and New England turned it over on downs twice inside the Miami 20 during the
fourth quarter. The Dolphins finally reached the end zone with 2:11 to play
when Thigpen hit Davone Bess with a 21-yard scoring pass after a 32-yard pass
interference penalty wiped out a potential interception.
Brady became the sixth player in NFL history with a touchdown pass in all 16
games since the advent of the current schedule in 1978, joining Dan Marino
(1984 & '86), Dave Krieg (1984), Kurt Warner (1999), Brett Favre (2003) and
Daunte Culpepper (2004)...Brady, who extended his record to 335 pass attempts
without a pick, has won 28 straight regular-season starts at Gillette
Stadium...Gronkowski's 10 TD receptions are the most by a Patriots tight end,
surpassing the mark of nine set by Ben Coates in 1996, and he now has the
second-most TD catches by a rookie tight end in NFL history, behind only Mike
Ditka's record of 12 set with Chicago in 1961...McCourty notched his seventh
interception of the season, one shy of the New England rookie record of eight
set by Haynes in 1976...Woodhead left the game after his fumble with a
possible concussion...Thigpen was Miami's leading rusher with 21 yards.
01/02 19:49:36 ET