With New England's 23-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots are now 9-3 on the season and have won the AFC East. Let's take a look at what we learned following the team's huge victory in Miami.
Following New England's 23-16 victory over the Dolphins in Miami, the Patriots have won the 2012 AFC East divisional crown—which clinches at least one home playoff game for the Patriots.
New England's win wasn't all that pretty, but there are definitely a lot of positives that we can take away from this game—as well of some negatives, of course.
In that spirit, let's take a look at what we learned following New England's 23-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
1. I have zero faith in Stephen Gostkowski
How pathetic is it that whenever Stephen Gostkowski goes out to kick a field goal, I have to hold my breath? I really don't have any faith in this guy anymore.
Gostkowski now has missed six field goals on the season as he missed a 49-yarder Sunday afternoon.
If a playoff game comes down to a field goal attempt out of Gostkowski, I really don't think he'll make it—he's just missing that "clutch gene."
2. Wes Welker now shares something in-common with Jerry Rice
After Wes Welker's 12 reception, 103 yard performance against the Dolphins, Welker is now tied with Jerry Rice with 17 career games with 10 or more receptions—which is the most in NFL history.
Welker also has 16 career games with 10 or more receptions as well 100-plus receiving yards, which is also most in NFL history.
I think it's safe to say that Welker is the NFL's most lethal possession wide receiver.
3. New England's offensive line was a bit shaky
With Logan Mankins missing yet another game and Dan Connolly leaving the game with a back injury, New England's offensive struggled as Tom Brady was sacked four times.
As Brady was under pressure for most of the game, this something that needs to be fixed if the Patriots want to have any success playing against elite defenses in the playoffs.
4. Stevan Ridley is incher closer to being an elite NFL running back
Stevan Ridley now has 1,010 rushing yards on the season, as he's New England's second 1,000-yard rushing in the last three seasons.
Ridley played very well against the NFL's seventh ranked run-defense, as he racked up 71 yards on 19 carries as well as punching in a touchdown.
Ridley was at his best in the fourth quarter on New England's final scoring drive, as he rushed for an incredible 46 yards.
Having Ridley in New England's offense not only makes it balanced, but it makes it incredibly dangerous and very difficult to stop.
5. The New England Patriots are 2012 AFC East Champions
With the victory, the Patriots now improve to 9-3 on the season and are 2012 AFC East Champions.
The Patriots not only clinch a playoff spot, but they also clinch at least one home playoff game.
As for the race for the top seed in the AFC, the Houston Texans are now 11-1 and are two games ahead of the Patriots.