It was simple for the New England Patriots. Win and you get to stay home for the duration of the AFC's playoffs. They did just that with a convincing 35-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Like every game, certain things stick out more than others.
1. Staying Home - First things first, the Patriots took care of business on Sunday. In doing so, they clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Surprisingly, New England is "only" 6-2 at Gillette Stadium this season. For the most part, the Patriots have been practically unbeatable at Gillette during the postseason.
2. Historic Afternoon - Another game, another record set by Tom Brady. Ho-hum. With his three touchdowns this afternoon, Brady will finish the regular season with 28 touchdown passes. Brady threw only two interceptions all season. That gave him a 14:1 touchdown to interception ratio. That breaks the record set by Nick Foles in the 2013 season. The records didn't stop there on Sunday. With only two interceptions thrown all season, New England established the record for fewest interceptions thrown all season.
3. LeGarrette Blount - Blount finished a strong regular season by adding yet another rushing touchdown. With that rushing touchdown, Blount will finish the regular season with 18 rushing touchdowns. That is the most in the NFL since 2009.
4. Michael Floyd - With both Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola sidelined on Saturday, Floyd had a golden opportunity to see an increased role in the offseason going forward. Floyd took advantage of that chance. He had three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was due to some extra effort at the goal line. Aside from his contributions with his catches, Floyd also had a crushing block to help spring Julian Edelman for a long touchdown catch and run. That kind of effort won't go unnoticed by the coaching staff.
5. Rushing defense - The rushing offense of the Dolphins has been a huge part of the success this season. Jay Ajayi's emergence has really kicked started Miami. New England did a good job containing Ajayi and the rest of Miami's running game on Sunday. The Patriots held the Dolphins to just 75 yards on 23 carries.
6. Trey Flowers - The second year defensive end didn't record a sack in the victory. Despite that, he seemed to be all over the field on Sunday. Flowers' had five tackles in the game. His emergence over the season's final couple of months really helped turn things around for the Patriots defense.
Extra Point(s) - With the bye week coming up, rest is going to be the most crucial thing for the Patriots going forward. Julian Edelman appeared to be a little banged up in the victory. Getting the banged up players healthy for the playoffs with undoubtedly be a focus this week.
Another thing to look for will be the possibility of interviews for Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia. With the bye week this week, this will be the only chance for the coordinators to have interviews until the completion of New England's season. If either coach wants a chance to be a head coach this will be their chance to speak with other teams.