video: Patriots Clinch AFC East, 1st Round Bye With Win Over Denver
Monday, December 19, 2016
"It's always a good feeling when you come in and see guys who have played in this league a lot and are really good and just haven't won division championships and things like that," said safety Devin McCourty after the game.
The Patriots improve to 12-2 can lock up the number one seed in the AFC with a win and losses by Oakland and Kansas City next week.
Patriots Grind Out Win
For just the third time in his career, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady started the game by missing his first six passes, going 0 for 6 in the first quarter.
Following a Logan Ryan 42 yard interception return, the Patriots offense took over at the Denver 46 yard line.
After not completing a pass in the first quarter, Brady completed passes, to Julian Edelman and James Develin, before LeGarrette Blount took a hand off one yard up the middle and into the end zone, giving the Patriots 10-3 lead after a Gostkowski extra point was good.
The touchdown was Blount’s 15th rushing touchdown of the season, passing Curtis Martin for the most rushing touchdowns in a season.
The Patriots would add two field goals in the second half and win the game 16-3. The win is only the third Patriots win in Denver in the last ten years.
Defense Steps up
For the second straight week, the Patriots defense had a strong showing.
New England held Denver to just three points and a total of 251 offensive yards, a total of 4.6 yards per play.
The Broncos offense picked up 12 first downs and only managed 58 yards rushing.
Brady completed 16 of 32 passes for 188 yards and no touchdowns.
Julian Edelman led all receivers with 6 catches for 75 yards, while Dion Lewis had 18 carries for 95 yards.
The Patriots return to action on Saturday, December 24 when they host the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Related Slideshow: 16 Plays That Define the Patriots 2016 Season Regular Season - in Vines
LeGarrette Blount Leaps Over a Dolphins Player
LeGarrette Blount took a toss from rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett and proceeded to make an Olympic hurdle type leap over Dolphins' defensive back Byron Maxwell and pick up the first down
Blount ran for 123 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Garoppolo Dominates Miami
In the Patriots home opener against the rival Miami Dolphins, Garoppolo was dominant, completing 18 of 27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, including this one to Danny Amendola.
Garoppolo would get injured just before halftime and the Patriots would hold on to win 31-24.
Hightower's big hit on Browns quarterback Cody Kessler knocked him out of the game. The next week, Hightower would sack Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the end zone for a safety and change the momentum of that game.
So far this season, Hightower has 1.5 sacks, one safety, 14 solo tackles and one pass defensed in six games played.
Tom Brady Plays First Game Back at Gillette
Brady made his return to the Patriots in the previous game on the road against Cleveland, but his first game back at Gillette Stadium came against the Bengals.
Brady hit running back James White for his first touchdown pass of the day and New England won 35-17.
He finished the game completing 29 of 35 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns.
Gronkowski Injured on Hit by Seattle's Earl Thomas
Near the end of the 2nd quarter of the Patriots game against Seattle, Earl Thomas hit Rob Gronkowski square in the chest. Just two weeks later, it would be announced that Gronkowski would be out for the season.
The Patriots lost to Seattle 31-24
Brady Nearly Fumbles Against Jets, Throws Touchdown to Mitchell
Trailing 10-3 and on the Jets five-yard line, Brady fumbled the snap picked it up and found Malcolm Mitchell in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game at ten following a Gostkowski extra point.
The Patriots would go on to win 22-17.
Shea McClellin Blocks Ravens Field Goal
The Ravens threatened to take the lead, 3-2, midway through the first quarter on a field goal attempt by kicker Justin Tucker, but New England's Shea McClellin jumped over the center and got the block. The Patriots offense scored a touchdown on their ensuing possession to take a 9-0 lead.
The Patriots would go on to win the game 30-23.
Blount Breaks Curtis Martin's Record for Rushing TDs in a Season
Running back LeGarrette Blount recorded his 15th rushing touchdown of the season in the Patriots win over Denver. With the score, he passed Curtis Martin for most rushing touchdowns in a season.
The Patriots beat Denver 16-3 to clinch AFC East.
McCourty's Hit on DeMaryius Thomas
On a fourth and 2, Devin McCourty put an end to Denver's come come back hopes with this hit on DeMaryius Thomas that forced him to drop the ball.
Had Thomas made the catch, the Broncos would have likely scored on the drive, making the final minutes a little more nervewracking.
Matt Lengel Catches First Touchdown Pass
Lengel came over to the Patriots from the Bengals practice squad and had never caught a touchdown pass in his career.
Already up 13-0, Tom Brady hit Lengel over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots a 20-0 lead. It was Lengel's first catch, first target, and first touchdown.
The Patriots would go on to beat the Jets 41-3.
Michael Floyd's Block on Lippitt to Spring Edelman Against Miami
Michael Floyd's block on Miami's Tony Lippit to spring Julian Edelman's 77 yard touchdown is one of the greatest blocks in Patriots history.
The Patriots beat the Dolphins 35-14 to clinch the top seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs.
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