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The Top 20 Patriots Moments of 2016: Number 7

Our offseason countdown continues with the Number 7 Most Memorable Moment of the 2016 season.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In my opinion, you'd be hard pressed to find a better weekend than the one that accompanies the 4th of July. Beautiful weather, patriotism, fireworks, grilling, just has it all. And when the 4th falls in the middle of the week, it means even more time off from work for sun, sand, and surf. Thank Tebow our Founding Fathers decided not to declare independence in mid-February.

The aftermath of all that, of course, is when you're back in the office on a short week after gorging yourself on brats and all other things 'Murica, you tend to get very, very little done. Which, luckily for us, makes this a great time knock another one off our countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2016.

The list so far:

20. The New England Patriots trade Jamie Collins to Cleveland for a bag of peanuts.
19. LeGarrette Blount runs through the entire Seahawks line on his way to the end zone.
18.Chris Long strip sack helps to ice the game against the New York Jets.
17. The Patriots defense shuts down Trevor Siemian and the Denver Broncos on the road.

16. LeGarrette Blount owns Byron Maxwell with an epic hurdle.
15. A different kind of Malcolm Go highlights a convincing road win against the San Francisco 49ers.
14. Chris Hogan finds some nice redemption against his old team in the form of a beautiful 53 yard TD.
13. Shea McClellin leaps the line to block a FG against the Baltimore Ravens.
12. LeGarrette Blount sets a franchise record with his 15th rushing TD of the year against the Denver Broncos.
11. Tom Brady hits Chris Hogan for a 79 yard TD to ice the game against the Baltimore Ravens.
10. Rob Gronkowski sets a Patriots All-Time receiving TD record by notching his 69th against the Buffalo Bills.
9. A kickoff return for a TD highlights a historic night for Dion Lewis in the AFC Divisional Round against the Houston Texans.
8. Dont'a Hightower blows up Andy Dalton for a safety to give the Patriots some much-needed momentum against the Cincinnati Bengals.

In honor of fireworks and things blowing up, Number 7 gives us a more modern version of the shot heard round the world.

7. Michael Floyd decapitates Tony Lippett to spring Julian Edelman for a 77 yard touchdown.

For the second straight year, the Patriots found themselves traveling down to South Beach to close out the season against their division rival, the Miami Dolphins. And for the second straight year, New England would be able to clinch the 1 Seed in the AFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win. In 2015, the Patriots suffered something of a late-season collapse, unable to hold the inside track for that one seed with a 20-10 loss to Miami in which they couldn't get anything going. The hope was that they would not be making the same mistake this year. Miami had traveled to New England earlier in 2016, where a late comeback effort fell just short after Jimmy Garoppolo's smoking hot start was cut short by a shoulder injury and rookie Jacoby Brissett had to fill in on on short notice. The Patriots team closing out the year, complete with Tom Brady and a relatively healthy receiving corps, was a very different team.

A new member of that healthy receiving corps was Cardinals castoff Michael Floyd. An incredibly gifted receiver in some legal trouble because of his DUI convictions was released by Arizona and claimed by New England in hopes that he would fit well into the system, see New England as his opportunity to revive his career, and perhaps play the 2017 season on a one year "prove it" deal. Some folks questioned the move, picking up Floyd's salary so late in the year, but ultimately it seemed like a good move for both sides.

Floyd's first full game as a Patriot was this Dolphins game, where he finished with three receptions for 36 yards and a score. As far as games go, this one wasn't much to write home about; Ryan Tannehill was nursing an injury as Matt Moore started in his place, and the Miami offense struggled as a result. New England cruised to an early 20-0 lead, with Miami adding a quick score just before halftime to try and get something going. The only time when the game was even close was right at the start of the third quarter, when the Fins received the kickoff and went 75 yards on 12 plays to bring the score to 20-14. However, the Patriots blew the game wide open on their ensuing possession, which only lasted three plays and saw Julian Edelman take a seven yard sitdown route and turn it into a 77 yard score.

On 3rd and 7 from their own 23 yeard line, Tommy B lined his 3WR set up so that Dion Lewis was lined up on his right in shotgun as James White served as an offset fullback. Edelman was in the left slot, flanked by Floyd, with Chris Hogan alone on the right side. Miami showed blitz as they overloaded the left side of the line, leaving a large hole in the middle portion of the secondary. At the snap, Maimi brought pressure from both sides, but Brady's quick release combined with Edelman's diagnosis of the coverage allowed Brady to hit him right at the first down marker just as three Dolphins started to converge. Edelman turned on a dime and accelerated upfield, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake.

Michael Floyd's assignment on this play was to run a simple Go route in order to freeze the safeties and free up that hole for Edelman, who Tommy B stared down right from the snap. Floyd ran his route well and allowed the play to unfold exactly as it did - Edelman made the catch and moved the chains for a first down. But as he started to gain separation and Floyd saw the opportunity for a big play, he cut off his route and came back to where Edleman as being pursued by defensive back Tony Lippett. If Edelman could get by Lippett, he had a solid chance of taking the play to the house.

At the 45 yard line, Floyd lowered his shoulder, dropped his body, and absolutely decked Lippett right between the numbers just as he was closing in. Lippett left his feet like he had just stepped on a banana peel and stayed down as Edelman finished off a career long touchdown reception. As Patriots players celebrated in the end zone, Miami trainers saw to Lippett to make sure he was in fact still among the living. There was some initial talk of a a dirty hit, that Floyd had perhaps targeted Lippett's head, but the replay showed that it was as clean a block as you'll ever see in this league and nothing more than a good old fashioned clock cleaning.

Lippett never really recovered from the hit, and neither did Miami. The Patriots dominated the half and won the game - and the one seed - in convincing fashion. The final score of the contest was 35-14.

Ultimately the Michael Floyd experiment didn't work out in New England, as he was a healthy scratch for almost every game following this one and the team opted not to bring him back in for this coming season. That said, the game he had against the Dolphins in Week 17 ensured that he'll be on Patriots highlight reels for the foreseeable future, and that's the kind of block that shows up on hit clips for years. In terms of pure impact plays that represents football at its finest, this Floyd block might be the best one of the entire year across all of the NFL. However, this is the 2016 Patriots season we're talking about here, and a whole lot else happened to this team between September and February that were pretty damn amazing, and so Michael Floyd and what little remains of Tony Lippett will have to be content sitting here at the 7 spot.

Check out the block here.

Full game highlights here.