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New England shuts out Miami

Published On: Dec 30 2012 07:57:25 PM CST
New England Patriots helmet

NFL

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -

Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes and host New England earned a first-round bye in the playoffs with a shutout of Miami.

Brady fired a 9-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker to open the scoring in the first quarter and became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least one scoring pass in every game for three straight seasons. New England's top-ranked offense later got a pair of short touchdown runs from Stevan Ridley to take a 21-0 lead into halftime.

Brady completed 22 of 36 passes for 284 yards for the Patriots (12-4), which had its 20-game home winning streak in December snapped by San Francisco two weeks ago. Brady capped the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski, who returned to the lineup after suffering a broken arm six weeks ago.

Miami (7-9) had its two-game winning streak ended and finished below .500 for the fourth straight season. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 20-for-35 for 235 yards and threw his first interception in the past five games. He was also sacked seven times.

Reggie Bush finished with eight yards on seven carries as New England limited Miami to 29 yards rushing on the way to its first shutout since beating Tennessee 59-0 on Oct. 18, 2009.

Game notebook: New England jumped ahead of Houston, which lost to Indianapolis earlier in the day, for the second seed in the AFC playoffs. Denver finished as the top seed. ... Brady has thrown a touchdown pass in 48 straight games. ... Gronkowski finished with two receptions for 42 yards. ... Miami WR Davone Bess missed his third straight game with a back injury.