FOXBORO -- Stevan Ridley ran for a pair of touchdowns and Tom Brady threw for two more Sunday as the Patriots took advantage of a Houston loss earlier in the day and clinched a first-round bye with a 28-0 win over the Dolphins at a frigid Gillette Stadium. Brady was 22-of-36 for 284 yards, including 23-yard touchdown strike to Rob Gronkowski. The tight end had two catches for 42 yards on four targets in his return from a broken left forearm. The Patriots defense was a force on the day, racking up a season-high seven sacks, including three from rookie Justin Francis.
The Patriots began the game with the knowledge that the Colts beat the Texans, 28-16, in Indianapolis, and that a win in the 12-degree wind chill would give them the week off. The Patriots recorded their first shutout since Oct. 18, 2009, when they blanked Tennessee, 59-0.
Given the motivation of a first-round bye and break next weekend, the Patriots raced out to a 21-0 halftime lead. After Steve Gregory intercepted Ryan Tannehill and returned it 13 yards to the Miami 28, Brady connected with Gronkowski for 19 yards down to the Miami 9. It was the tight end's first catch since breaking his left forearm on Nov. 18. On the next play, Brady connected with a wide open Wes Welker over the middle for his 48th straight game with a touchdown pass, passing Johnny Unitas for second place on the all-time list.
Brady engineered a pair of long scoring drives in the second quarter, including a 92-yard drive in 13 plays, consuming 7:28 of the second quarter clock. The long scoring drive was capped off by a 1-yard TD run by Stevan Ridley on fourth-and-goal from the Miami 1. Ridley added a 2-yard TD run later in the second quarter to put the Patriots up, 21-0.
The only bit of bad news in the first half was the loss of pass-rushing specialist Rob Ninkovich to a hip injury midway through the second quarter. Ninkovich was down on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field by medical personnel, including team doctor Tom Gill. He was listed as questionable but did not return.
The Dolphins appeared to be ready to get on the scoreboard but Reggie Bush fumbled at the Patriots 4 and Dont'a Hightower recovered at the 1 to keep Miami off the scoreboard. The Patriots made it 28-0 when Brady hit Gronkowski down the left seam midway through the fourth quarter.
The Patriots will have the luxury of watching the playoffs at home next weekend before opening the postseason in two weeks against one of three possible opponents -- the Texans, Ravens or Colts -- at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots finish the regular season at 12-4 and complete a perfect season in the AFC East (6-0) for just the second time in franchise history.
Denver (13-3) routed Kansas City Sunday to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and home field throughout. The playoffs will open next weekend with the No. 6 Bengals visiting No. 3 Houston and the No. 5 Colts playing in Baltimore against the No. 4 Ravens.
Butch and Price discuss how Belichick and the Pats manipulate the roster with cuts, injuries, practice squad etc. - it's a complicated subject! They then move on to the improving play of QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Butch and Price start salivating over the thought of regular season football being less than 2 weeks away and discuss some early intriguing matchups.
Butch is in for Dickerson on NFL Sunday and he and Chris get into the victory over Carolina and their take-aways - the receivers could be in trouble if they don't get healthy with Wayne struggling and Boyce not contributing at all, Scott Chandler is a beast that could be a huge redzone threat with Gronk on the field and more. They talk about the offense and break down the running back depth chart. Then Trags gives them a call to give his take on the roster and their play so far.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Reggie Wayne's arrival in New England and look at what he might be able to bring to the team.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
Michael joins Ben and Sam to discuss the wild NBA Free Agency period and the upcoming Celtics season.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
Butch and John are talking Red Sox on the Sunday Sports Roundtable. They get into the current state of the rotation and how things have improved as of late. Joe Kelly has been on fire, but is he a trade asset? The guys discuss the starting pitchers that will be free agents this year and if any are good fits in Boston. Then they move on to the decision to let Orsillo go in favor of Dave O'Brien - Tomase has an interesting perspective on this topic.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just one run in the win over the Mets.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, who hit his first career inside the park home run and propelled the Red Sox to a 6-4 win over the New York Mets.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
The guys discuss some possible headlines come Pats opening night and talk about the reception that Roger Goodell might get if he's in Foxboro.
On the brink of the Pats' third preseason game, Christian kicks around some players that we might see suit up tonight in Charlotte.
The guys discuss a number of off-topics that are in the news today, including Sir Charles calling out his former agent, a Texas little league coach gives a pre-game talk for the ages & Jay Gruden is becoming sensitive.
We wrap up the week with the best in sound that you may have missed, plus our intern on the mic Laroy Streat has some well-wishes for the birthday boy Jerry Thornton.
We discuss the infamous apologies, and how a little humble pie could have ended this entire Chris Mortensen misreporting mess way sooner.
We talk some Sox, including all things Hanley Ramirez.
Chris Mortensen went on a sports radio station in Arizona today and talked about his deflate gate reporting, and said that the Krafts called him to apologize over the whole situation. Only thing is there's a report tonight from D&C saying their sources at the Patriots are saying that did not happen, could Mort be, dare I say, wrong?
Chris Villani and Lenny Megs talk with Bob McGovern about the proceedings in the Tom Brady and NFL's deflate gate court case.
Villani is in for Mikey, he's talking about Chris Mortensen going on an Arizona station and talking about deflate gate and getting an apology from the Krafts.
It’s peek draft season so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson are back with today’s Fantasy Football Podcast on Draft Strategy. Pete Davidson’s article at Rotobahn.com “The 2015 Draft Plan” fuels a deep conversation on how to approach the draft at all the key positions Quarterback, Runningback, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Defense. Get prepared and Happy Drafting!
Ben, Russ & Alex discuss their favorite transfer moves of the window, Alex shares his dislike for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and just how far can the Revs go this season?
Gerry and Kirk discuss deflategate and the Patriots relationship with ESPN.
We go inside the audio from 98.7 Arizona Sports Radio/ESPN and listen in as well as Chris Mortensen finally details the circumstances behind the infamous "11 of 12" footballs tweet, and also claims that the Patriots ownership called him personally to apologize... for what he doesn't specify.More from this show
Sean discussed his own firing from the Red Sox broadcast booth.More from this show