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Miami Falls in New England

In a game that meant everything to the New England Patriots in terms of playoff seeding, they demonstrated that they are a force to be reckoned with in the postseason and ended their regular season with a flourish, defeating the Miami Dolphins, 28-0. For the Fins, on the other hand, they showed that they still have a lot of work to do, as they headed to the offseason with a 7-9 record and with their first zero on the scoreboard in more than two years.

Just as they did in the teams’ first meeting this season, Miami made too many mistakes and the Patriots capitalized on all of them. Ryan Tannehill made the first miscue of the day, throwing a pass that was intercepted by Steve Gregory in the first quarter, who ran it 13 yards back to the Miami 28 yard line. Two plays later, Tom Brady connected with Wes Welker for a 9-yard touchdown. Brady had two TD throws on the day, the first to Welker and a second in the fourth quarter to Rob Gronkowski.

While Brady did damage in the air, completing 22-of-36 passes for 284 yards, the Patriots controlled the ball for most of the day on the ground. New England finished with a commanding 167 rushing yards, compared to Miami’s 47. Steven Ridley did the rest of the scoring for the home team, finishing with 74 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. On the other side, Reggie Bush managed only 26 yards on the day, finishing him just 14 yards shy of 1,00 for the season. The Patriots’ defense was also a big reason why the Miami offense never got going, as they sacked Tannehill seven times on the afternoon for a total loss of 26 yards.

Miami did have some chances to get on the scoreboard during the day, but the plays just didn’t go their way. A Nate Kaeding 41-yard field goal midway through the second quarter missed wide left. In the third quarter, two consecutive possessions saw some bad luck head the Fins’ way. First, the Fins marched the ball 66 yards down the field all the way to the New England 3-yard line, but on 2nd and goal, Tannehill fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Patriots. Then, just six plays later, a Brady pass to Welker was intercepted by Chris Clemons, who ran the ball back 60 yards for what was called a touchdown on the field. However, an instant replay reversed the play and called it an incompletion, taking Miami’s six points off the board.

Though Miami’s season ended in a way they weren’t pleased with, they head into this long offseason with lots of cap space and good draft picks, giving them plenty of reason for even more optimism for a successful 2013 campaign.