Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 1/1/12

Although the New England Patriots started off extremely slow, they finished strong and managed to clinch the No. 1 seed in the playoffs - which guarantees homefield advantage.

The first quarter was an absolute disaster. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw in two touchdowns and Tashard Choice ran in another one as the Buffalo Bills went up 21-0 in the first quarter.

Just like in the first quarter last week against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots were booed by their own fans. Starting off slow in the playoffs against a good team like the Ravens or Steelers isn't something that the Pats can allow to happen.

The 21-point deficit was the largest of the season for the Pats, but Tom Brady once again worked his magic to pull out the victory. Brady was 23/35 with 338 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. After the first quarter was over, the Pats were completely dominant.

Brady finished the regular season with the second most passing yards for the year and in NFL history (5,235 yards). Drew Brees (5,486 yards) broke Dan Marino's record (5,084 yards) last week, and Matt Stafford also passed over 5,000 yards for the year.

Rob Gronkowski had another big game (108 yards and two touchdowns), and he also managed to break another record. Gronk now has the single-season record for receiving yards for tight ends with 1,327. Jimmy Graham (1,310 yards) broke Kellen Winslow's record of 1,290 earlier today, but Gronk broke Graham's record shortly thereafter.

Bill Belichick also set a record of his own, now the only head coach to have five different seasons with at least 13 regular season wins.

The Pats will have next week off as they have a first-round bye in the playoffs. They'll take this time to rest and prepare for a Super Bowl run.

There are still a lot of potential playoff match-up possibilities because of the games going on right now, but it looks like the Pats will be playing either the Denver Broncos or the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second week of the playoffs in Foxboro.

 

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