Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez combined for 20 catches and 200 yards receiving, and Stevan Ridley ran for a touchdown, as the Patriots beat the Dolphins, 23-16, Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. The win clinches New England's fourth straight AFC East title and their 10th in 12 seasons and their 12th straight winning season.
By virtue of winning the division, the Patriots assure themselves of at least one home game in the playoffs. Tom Brady was sacked four times but still finished 24-of-40 for 238 yards while Ridley ran it 19 times for 71 yards and went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Welker finished with 12 catches on 18 targets and 103 yards, his 28th career 100-yard receiving game and his 16th with at least 10 catches. Hernandez added eight grabs on 13 targets and 97 yards.
Trevor Scott, filling in for the suspended Jermaine Cunningham, had a key strip-sack in the first half and finished with two sacks on the day.
The Patriots took immediate advantage of Miami's first big mistake of the day, a botched punt snap after a three-and-out. Five plays after Matthew Slater tackled punter Brandon Fields at the Miami 12, Ridley bounced off the left side of the offensive line and ran it in for a two-yard touchdown.
Brady had his streak of passes attempted without an interception snapped at 202 when Reshad Jones picked off a pass intended for Aaron Hernandez on the right sideline. The Patriots managed to hold the Dolphins to a 44-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter, cutting New England's lead to 7-3 late in the first quarter.
Welker dominated the first half offensively for the Patriots, catching nine passes on 12 targets for 82 yards and a 7-yard TD on a slip screen that made it 14-3 in the second quarter. He also went over 1,000 yards receiving this season in the first half, his fourth straight season of reaching the milestone.
After a Scott strip sack and Vince Wilfork fumble recovery, the Patriots added to their lead on a 43-yard field goal from a struggling Stephen Gostkowski, who missed from 49 yards early in the game. That miss was his fourth in five attempts before connecting in the second quarter.
The Dolphins gained some valuable momentum before halftime when Ryan Tannehill orchestrated a 12-play, 80-yard drive, consuming more than six minutes. Tannehill capped it with a spectacular leaping dive into the end zone on the bootleg from two yards out with 25 seconds left before the half.
Brady was 15-of-26 in the first half but the Patriots ran the ball only seven times for 11 yards.
The Patriots appeared on the verge of a two-touchdown advantage when Brady hooked up with Hernandez for a 31-yard pass down to the Dolphins' 4. A facemask call put the ball at the 2. But Tom Brady was sacked twice and Welker dropped a routine pass in the end zone, as the Patriots settled for a 32-yard field goal by Gostkowski and a 20-10 lead with just over 13 minutes left.
The Dolphins responded with a drive that got inside the Patriots red zone on a fourth-and-1 conversion. But a delayed blitz by Jerod Mayo on third down forced the Dolphins to settle for a 33-yard Carpenter field goal with 8:33 left, cutting the lead to 20-13.
The Patriots sealed the game with a 16-play drive that took over seven minutes, concluding with a 21-yard Gostkowski field goal.
The 9-3 Patriots are off until Dec. 10, when they host the AFC-leading Texans at Gillette Stadium on Monday Night Football. The Texans improved to 11-1 Sunday with a win at Tennessee.
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Jeff Goodman calls Mike and Rob to drop a ton of knowledge on the upcoming NBA Draft and some of the names available. Sorry fans - he doesn't see Kevin Durant or any big-named free agents coming to Boston and thinks they'll end up making the third pick this season. He also says that there is NO WAY he would trade next year's Brooklyn pick because the draft will be very deep. He discusses the chances of trading with Philly for Okafor, why he like Kris Dunn so much and much more.
Brad Stevens makes his first appearance on the Dale and Holley with Thornton show. We discuss the Atlanta series and what went wrong, and where the Celtics go from here.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Danny Picard recaps the Red Sox 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.
Who is to blame for the Red Sox 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays? Danny points the finger.
Tim talks with Red Sox manager John Farrell before the Red Sox game against the Blue Jays. John talks about Clay Buchholz move to the bullpen and adjustments he expects him to have to make going from the starter to the bullpen.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Mike Mutnansky, Butch Stearns, and Jon Meterparel discuss the absence of Malcolm Butler at last week's OTAs and replay a sound byte of Butler from May 21st on WEEI not wanting to discuss his contract. Is Malcolm Butler headed for a contract dispute, and how valuable is he?
Mike Mutnansky, Jon Meterparel and Butch Stearns discuss the Celtics and their level of interest in Kevin Durant after Oklahoma City's losses in games five and six; also what should the Celtics do with the third pick in the draft coming up in June?
Jon Meterparel handles Kirk Minhane's Headlines segment with sound from Robert Kraft at a Jewish University's commencement speech, Julian Edelman screaming 'Free Brady', and Johnny Depp in trouble with his ex Amanda Heard
With Malcolm Butler, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins all emerging as stars, it's time for the Patriots to decide who they need to make a priority. Giardi and Bradford give their take on who should be the first to resign.
Giardi and Bradford debate why kids are more into the NBA and will be watching the Golden State vs. OKC game 7 tonight, and why no young fans will watch a neutral baseball game.
Mike Giardi and rob Bradford were in on Memorial Day and Bradford had a problem with how Mut, Meter and Butch took his comments out of context on the morning show. Also, Giardi and Bradford talk about what it would take to get Kevin Durant in Boston.
Laroy Streat keeps setting fire to the airways and talks people singing his Freestyle Fridays to him when they see him on the street! Catch our guy every friday via final drive! He's must listen radio!
We end the week with the best in sound Laroy Streat continues to set fire to the airways with his music.
The guys talk Red Sox pitching and the problems that could arise with Buchholz struggles.
Jerry is joined by Graig Murphy to talk stand up comedy. Until Graig pretty much hijacks the podcast to tell his side of the "Big Show Unfiltered" story.
Ben and Russ preview the Champions League Final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. Who we want to win, who we think will win, and why. We also talk about our wishes for the USMNT.
The Dennis and Callahan malcontent is joined by former WEEI personality Pete Sheppard to talk about his past involvement with the station and his current gig in New Hampshire. You'll be glad to hear Pete hasn't changed one bit.
Mike and Rob discuss how OTAs are not the forum to make decisions on the future of the team and how fans on Twitter can't accept that. They also get into the contract situations for Malcolm Butler and Dont'a Hightower.More from this show
Deflategate rage explodes on the guys. They argue whether Brady is dragging it out or he should defend his innocence and the callers get in on the action.More from this show