Originally posted on Patriots Extra  |  Last updated 12/24/11

Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Holidays to all Pats fans! We got an early Christmas present this year as Tom Brady and the Patriots were able to overcome a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat the Dolphins in Gillette Stadium by the score of 27-24.

The first half of the game was a complete disaster for New England. Tom Brady was looking like Matt Moore and the Pats defense was making Matt Moore look like Tom Brady.

Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter put up the only points of the first quarter with a 47 yard field goal. In the second quarter, Brandon Marshall and Charles Clay each caught touchdown passes from Moore to bring the score to 17-0.

The secondary was especially spotty, with Devin McCourty even being burned on a 39 yard pass to Brian Hartline.

On the offensive side of the ball in the first half, the Pats could just never get anything get going. Brady was sacked multiple times and they punted on every drive except the last one, when Stephen Gostkowski missed a 51 yard field goal wide left.

In the third quarter, the Patriots finally started to pick it up. Gostkowski kicked a field goal, Deion Branch caught a one yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady, and Brady ran in a touchdown from one yard out as well. The defense completely shut out Matt Moore.

One of the lone down-parts of the third quarter for the Pats was Bill Belichick losing his first challenge of the season after challenging the spot on a Brian Hartline completion. The drive never ended in points for the Dolphins anyway, so it worked out in the end.

The Patriots were able to extend their lead to 27-17 in the fourth quarter after a 42 yard field goal from Gostkowski and another one yard touchdown run from Brady.

Matt Moore was able to hook up with Davone Bess in the end zone on a nifty 15 yard touchdown pass with only 1:48 remaining, but it was too late. After the kickoff, the Pats were able to get a first down and then kneel on the ball until the game was over.

Now 12-3, the Pats are first in the AFC and have clinched a first-round bye. With a win over the Buffalo Bills next Sunday, the Pats would be able to claim homefield advantage for the entirety of the playoffs.

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