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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed May 29 - 04:00 PM | Thu May 30 - 09:55 AM

How they Got Here: Patriots 2014 Regular Season (Weeks 14-17)

Look back at how the Patriots earned the top seed in the AFC.

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GAME 13: PATRIOTS AT CHARGERS


FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 23, CHARGERS 14

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

For the past several years I've been rather outspoken in my belief that the Patriots haven't possessed the ability to win a game when the offense doesn't perform up to snuff. On Sunday night in San Diego they did just that, and the defense showed it was more than capable to leading the way if necessary. The offense never really got in gear but it didn't matter because the defense kept giving it the ball back in favorable positions. - Paul Perillo   MORE>>

When the rest of the offense was struggling, Gronkowski was pretty much all the Patriots passing game had for stretches in San Diego. Big No. 87 got a decent battle from Chargers Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle, but still finished with eight catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. *- Andy Hart * MORE>>

There was a buzz about this game that grew louder each passing day of the week, hitting its crescendo with the over-the-top pyrotechnics during pregame festivities. Even the fans did their part, making Qualcomm Stadium feel like a Super Bowl crowd. At times, it was hard to determine which was the home team, so sizeable was the New England supporter contingent that traveled to San Diego. *- Erik Scalavino * MORE>>

The Images:

Team photographer, David Silverman, offers his best photos from the Patriots-Chargers game at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, December 7, 2014.

GAME 14: DOLPHINS AT PATRIOTS


FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 41, DOLPHINS 13

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

The Dolphins controlled the entire first half and yet went to the locker room trailing by a point at 14-13. The reasons for that were plentiful, and the Dolphins had only themselves to blame. Sturgis' low kick led to Jamie Collins' block that was returned for a touchdown, and later Damien Williams dropped an easy touchdown pass after beating Collins with a double move down the left sideline. - Paul Perillo   MORE>>

It's time to simply acknowledge that after all the early season struggles, New England has put together a strong defense. Miami's Lamar Miller came in averaging 4.8 yards per carry. The Dolphins had averaged 5.0 yards a carry in their opening day win on the way to 191 yards. Sunday afternoon Vince Wilforkand his rotation of defensive tackles shut down the visitors on the ground. Miller averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. Miami had just 76 yards on 23 carries for a 3.3 average, with Tannehill chipping in with 21 yards. *- Andy Hart * MORE>>

In the post-game locker room, several players donned their AFC East Champion t-shirts and ball caps as they granted media interviews. The shirts, which are normally just generic ones that say AFC East Champs with a Patriots logo, were inscribed in large letters with the phrase, "Patriots run the East." *- Erik Scalavino * MORE>>

The Images:

Team photographer, Keith Nordstrom, offers his best photos from the Patriots-Dolphins game on Sunday, December 14, 2014.

GAME 15: PATRIOTS AT JETS


FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 17, JETS 16

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

The Patriots offense once again struggled early and problems up front were once again the main reason. Tom Brady & Co. managed just 61 total yards through their first series of the second half as the quarterback was sacked four times. - Paul Perillo   MORE>>

Brady hasn't looked overly comfortable for the last few weeks. He was pressured and sacked early once again. He didn't respond well trying to move the football. He completed 23 of 35 throws 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception for 76.1 rating that's his third lowest of the season, worst since the Week 4 loss in Kansas City. - Andy Hart   MORE>>

Somehow, each week, no matter who it is, someone on offense, defense, or special teams comes up with a play when a play is needed. Even when there wasn't much energy in the stadium from which to draw. - Erik Scalavino   MORE>>

The Images:

Team photographer, David Silverman, offers his best photos from the Patriots-Jets game on Sunday, December 21, 2014.

GAME 16: BILLS AT PATRIOTS


FINAL SCORE: BILLS 17, PATRIOTS 9

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

Jimmy Garoppolo received the first extensive playing time of his young career and the results were mixed. He was terrific avoiding pressure in the pocket, eluding sacks and would-be tacklers throughout the second half. He also rifled some impressive passes across the middle, specifically to Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola. But he also appeared flustered at times, turning his back to the line of scrimmage and misfiring on a couple of passes toward open receivers. - Paul Perillo   MORE>>

Whether you place the blame on the game plan, Josh McDaniels' playcalling, the offensive line or Tom Brady, New England's offense has struggled to get going early in games for more than a month. That is not the kind of trend a team wants heading into the postseason. Digging early holes in playoff games can create, literally, no-win situations. - Andy Hart   MORE>>

You don't worry about the final score. You don't worry about the effort that the players put forth. You don't worry about so-called "momentum" going into the bye week. You just get in and get out without doing any damage to your best players (or coaches, for that matter) as you sit and wait to find out who your opponent will be in two weeks. - Erik Scalavino   MORE>>

The Images:

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