Before the Patriots even stepped on the field they had clinched the division title thanks to the Miami Dolphins 19-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday writes Zuri Berry of Boston.com.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that the 41-7 dismantling of the Baltimore Ravens ranks among the best regular-season victories in Bill Belichick's 14-year tenure as head coach.
Ben Volin of Boston.com writes that the Patriots finally showed up in the first half, racing to a 17-0 lead. However, it was the defense that stole the show. The Patriots got constant backfield pressure all game, sacking Ravens QB Joe Flacco four times and holding the Ravens to 3.0 yards per carry.
Zuri Berry of Boston.com offers his five tackeaways from the Patriots-Ravens game.
Ron Borges of The Boston Herald writes that there is plenty of punch left in the Patriots. Despite losing so many starters the New England patchwork defense played like it was made of steel.
"This was a tough pill to swallow," said former Patriot turned Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. "Definitely a frustrating loss. We got beat!"
Paul Kenyon of The Providence Journal writes that the victory over the Ravens means the Patriots can clinch a top-two seed in the playoffs, a first-round bye and home field-advantage in the divisional round if it can beat Buffalo on Sunday at Gillette. The team would have to play as well as it did against the Ravens. It was easily the best 60-minute performance of the season with all three units playing well.
"Every guy that was dressed I felt played hard," Belichick said. "You have to have everybody doing their job in this league. You can't win with one of two guys. There are just too many guys on the other side of the ball."
Paul Kenyon also writes that next Sunday's Patriots-Bills game has been flexed to 4:25pm ET.
On the negative side of the game, Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com reports that Devin McCourty left Sunday's game with a head injury.