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Pats Earn First Round Bye with 28-0 Win over Dolphins

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) congratulates running back Stevan Ridley (22) after Ridley's second rushing touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) congratulates running back Stevan Ridley (22) after Ridley’s second rushing touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

By HOWARD ULMAN, AP Sports Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and the New England Patriots regained their dominance after a rare slump, earning a playoff bye with a 28-0 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Stevan Ridley ran for two touchdowns as the Patriots used a ball-control offense and a defense that racked up a season-high seven sacks.

Now, seeded second in the AFC, they have an extra week to savor the win and prepare for their postseason opener.

The Patriots (11-5) led 21-0 at halftime on Brady’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker and Ridley’s runs of 1 and 2 yards, capping drives lasting 14 and 13 plays. They ended the scoring on Brady’s 23-yard scoring pass to Rob Gronkowski, who missed the previous five games after breaking his left forearm.

The Dolphins (7-9) finished with a losing record for the fourth straight season.

___

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Associated Press

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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