Pats blank Dolphins to earn bye

8:27 PM, Dec 30, 2012   |    comments
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Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Stevan Ridley rushed for two touchdowns and the New England Patriots secured a first-round bye in the playoffs with a 28-0 whitewash of the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

New England entered the final week of the regular season as the No. 3 seed in the AFC, but a loss by the Houston Texas to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday allowed the Patriots to steal one of the conference's coveted top two spots.

The convincing shutout gave the Patriots (12-4) the second seed behind the Denver Broncos and capped their perfect run through the AFC East.

Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass for the 48th straight game and in doing so moved past Johnny Unitas for the second longest streak in NFL history. Brady completed 22-of-36 passes for 284 yards and two scores, one to his favorite target in tight end Rob Gronkowski, who returned from a five-game absence.

Justin Francis highlighted the defensive side of the Patriots' first shutout in over three years with three of the club's seven sacks.

Miami's Ryan Tannehill ended his rookie campaign with a disappointing game. The eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft finished 20-of-35 through the air for 235 yards with an interception and a lost a fumble.

Miami (7-9) had won two in a row coming in, but ended their fourth straight losing season on a sour note.

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