Jim Rogash

Patriots 28, Dolphins 0: New England blanks Miami, secures first round bye

Tom Brady threw for 284 yards as the New England Patriots blanked the Miami Dolphins, 28-0, and secured the No. 2 overall seed in the AFC -- and a first-round bye -- in the process on Sunday afternoon.

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Reaction to Patriots 'complete victory' over Miami

The New England Patriots finished the 2012 regular season with a 28-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins and as SB Nation's Patriots blog wrote after the game, it was a 'complete victory.'

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Pats 28, Dolphins 0: New England gets bye

The New England Patriots have now taken full advantage of the late season struggles of the Houston Texans. After a 28-16 Houston loss in Indianapolis, the Patriots needed a win over division rival Miami to secure a bye-week in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots came through at home with a 28-0 victory over the Dolphins.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Patriots added another touchdown to their lead when returning tight end Rob Gronkowski caught a 23-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 28-0.

There would be no further scoring as the 28-0 score would hold for a New England victory.

With all the game's over in the conference, the AFC playoff picture has taken shape. The Denver Broncos (No. 1) and New England Patriots (No. 2) will earn the bye week and await the winners of the two wild card match-ups; Cincinnati(No. 6) at Houston (No. 3) and Indianapolis (No. 5) at Baltimore (No. 4).

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Patriots vs. Dolphins: New England up by 21

After extending their lead to 21-0 before the halftime break, the New England Patriots struggled to get much offense going in the beginning of the second half.

The Dolphins managed to drive the ball deep into Patriots' territory, moving it down inside the five. However, a botched hand-off between quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Reggie Bush led to a fumble and a recovery by the Patriots.

This was mostly a uninteresting quarter with both sides punting on more than one occasion. However, with a three touchdown lead in tow, the Patriots look to be well on their way to securing a first round bye-week. With the Denver Broncos leading the Kansas City Chiefs by 32 points, New England will likely land the No. 2 spot in the AFC.

The Patriots will begin the game's final quarter with the ball deep in Miami territory after a solid punt return from Wes Welker.

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Patriots vs. Dolphins:New England cruising at half

After taking a 7-0 lead through one quarter of play, the Patriots began the second frame with the ball deep in Miami territory. A key pick-up on third-down and 13 on a pass to Deion Branch kept the drive alive inside the red-zone. The Patriots finished the drive with a touchdown run by Stevan Ridley on fourth-down and goal.

The Dolphins' next drive would end on a missed 41-yard field goal attempt from place kicker Nate Kaeding. However, the more alarming news to come from that possession was an apparent lower body injury to unheralded defensive star Rob Ninkovich.

Another long drive was in the works for New England on their next possession, utilizing both the run and the pass to gash the Dolphins' defense. It was again Ridley who would cap off the drive with a short touchdown run, this time from just two yards out.

At the end of one half, the Patriots lead 21-0.

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Patriots vs. Dolphins: New England ahead after one

Just minutes after learning of the Houston Texans' defeat at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots took the field against the Dolphins with the intent of earning a first round bye-week.

The offense successfully drove the ball down the field on the game's opening possession but failed to convert on a 4th down and seven from the Miami 24-yard-line.

After the teams traded punts, the Dolphins would turn the ball over on a Steve Gregory interception of Ryan Tannehill. Just a couple of plays later, Tom Brady would connect with former Miami wide out Wes Welker for a 9-yard touchdown reception.

Throughout the first quarter, the Patriots' defense has seen success in the pass-rush, most notably on a key sack by Brandon Deaderick.

As the quarter was coming to a close, the Patriots were beginning a drive into Miami territory near the 50-yard-line. The possession has been keyed by big catch-and-run receptions for Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker.

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