The Patriots rolled over the Dolphins and shut them out. Tom broke Johnny Unitas’ record for throwing a touchdown in consecutive games and Gronk got some work in, even though he was still wearing a cast on his left forearm. Yeesh, I remember my broken wrist and playing football would not have been on my To-Do list. ;) But then, football players are crazy!
Gronk grabbed a TD and so did Wes Welker. Shane Vereen scored, too, and Danny Woodhead was excellent. The defense came up with some big stops and an INT. No word on Rob Ninkovich’s injury. I hope we haven’t lost him for the playoffs. He’s one of our best linebackers. :(
Nice to see Deion Branch make a big play and while the offense didn’t score on their first two possessions, they were crisp and sharp for most of the game. The Dolphins were flummoxed quite a bit of the time.
Tom had read the riot act to the team after the game. The reporters could hear him yelling through the locker room walls. Tom has gotten more vocal in recent years as per his being one of the premier leaders of the team, and the practice this week was intense. It sure paid off!
The Pats knew they had a shot for second seed since Indy beat Houston in the 1:00 game. With a win, the Patriots moved up to the No. 2 seed and now get a bye this week and host a home playoff game in the Divisional Round. The Patriots have never won a Super Bowl without the bye, so a good omen!
The Denver Broncos are the No. 1 seed with Houston’s fall, and so there may be a Brady/Manning AFC Championship Game in our future!
The Bills beat the Jets and the Dolphins lost, of course, so the Bills end up 7-9 and the Jets and Dolphins are 6-10. The Patriots finished with a 12-4 record.
The playoffs begin! Next week is Wild Card Weekend. Each conference (American and National) sends two wild card teams to the Tournament and there are four division winners. The top two division winners (best record) get a bye week and the lower two play the wild card teams. The winners of these games go on to the Divisional Round, where the top two seeds in each conference play the winners of Wild Card Weekend. The survivors of those games go on to the Championship Round, one for the AFC and one for the NFC, and of course the winners of those games go on to the Super Bowl.
Twelve teams enter the Tournament out of thirty-two teams, which is a good percentage. Unlike the hockey and basketball playoffs where everybody seems to get in, you really have to fight to get into the football playoffs. Greed, of course, will make the owners expand the NFL playoffs, a mistake IMO.
BTW, Tom looked adorable in his cold-weather gear! He's still the prettiest quarterback in the NFL! ;)