Patriots finish regular season strong with away win against Miami
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tom Brady threw for 276 yards and three scores Sunday, and the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Dolphins 35-14.
New England took a 20-0 lead in the first half, and turned away Miami’s comeback bid with the help of a 77-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Julian Edelman and a 69-yard fumble return by linebacker Shea McClellin.
The Patriots (14-2), who were already assured of a first-round bye, became the ninth team since 1972 to go undefeated on the road during the regular season.
The Dolphins (10-6), beaten for only the second time in the past 11 games, had already earned an AFC wild-card berth and will play their first postseason game since 2008 next weekend at Pittsburgh.
The Patriots had lost their past three games in Miami, and appeared intent from the outset on snapping that streak. By the time they led 20-0, they had advantages of 238 to 30 in yards, and 17 to one in first downs.
After Miami mounted consecutive 75-yard touchdown drives to make it 20-14, Edelman caught a short pass from Brady, benefited from a crushing downfield block by Michael Floyd and broke free to score on the longest reception of his career.
The Dolphins threatened early in the fourth quarter, but Devin McCourty forced a fumble by Damien Williams, and linebacker Shea McClellin returned it 69 yards to set up a touchdown that made it 35-14.
Brady went 25 for 33 with no turnovers. Edelman had a career-high 151 yards on eight catches.
Miami’s Matt Moore, subbing again for injured starter Ryan Tannehill, went 24 for 34 for 205 yards.
CLIMBING THE LIST
Brady increased his career yardage total to 61,582 to surpass former Dolphins quarterback and Hall of Famer Dan Marino for fourth place on the NFL’s career list. Next on the list is the Saints’ Drew Brees, who went into Sunday’s game with 65,761.
Brady finished the regular season with 28 touchdown passes and two interceptions.
Floyd scored his first touchdown with the Patriots when he caught a short pass from Brady and powered into the end zone for a 14-yard score to make it 14-0. Floyd was acquired by the Patriots last month after the Cardinals released him following a DUI arrest in Arizona.
Dolphins: The Dolphins will have a rematch against the AFC North champion Steelers, who lost 30-15 at Miami in Week 6.
Patriots: They could face Miami in consecutive games. If the Dolphins beat the Steelers, they’ll play at New England the weekend of Jan. 14-15.