NFL Roundup: Week 17

Published On December 31, 2012 | By Jill Saftel

Patriots vs. Dolphins

Brady celebrates with Gronkowski during Sunday’s win. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The Patriots finished the regular season with a dominant 28-0 victory over division opponent Miami, securing a playoff bye thanks to a loss from the Houston Texans. Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns, Stevan Ridley ran for two touchdowns, and Rob Gronkowski returned to spiking in the end zone Sunday. As the second seed in the AFC, the Pats have a week to rest and prepare – which they could certainly use considering Gronk was definitely cautious of his recently healed broken left forearm.

The loss brought the Dolphins to 7-9 on the season, their fourth straight season with a losing record.

Jets vs. Bills

Mark Sanchez and the Jets ended the season with yet another loss. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets ended the season on a sour note, suffering a loss at the hands of division rivals Buffalo Bills. The 28-9 Bills victory was led by C.J. Spiller with a 66-yard catch and run along with a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown from Bryan Scott. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez turned over the ball twice in the third straight loss for New York, amid a plethora of team drama. Coach Rex Ryan said after the game that if he thought Tim Tebow could have given the team a chance to win, he would have played him. Clearly, that wasn’t the case.

Both teams were already eliminated from playoff contention, but the Bills snapped a three-game losing streak with the win.

Colts vs. Texans

Pagano made his triumphant return to the sideline Sunday. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

Despite team allegiances, it was hard to root against the Colts Sunday as head coach Chuck Pagano returned to the sideline for the first time since Week 3 after a battle with leukemia. For Patriots fans, rooting for the Colts was even easier as they were hoping for a Houston loss to gain a first-week bye. Pagano’s return was emotional, with the stadium giving him a standing ovation. Even Texans players joined in honoring Pagano, and when Arian Foster scored a touchdown he ran over to the “#CHUCKSTRONG” banner in the end zone, gave it a tap and bowed in respect. But in the end it was Andrew Luck who led the Colts to a win for their coach, throwing for two touchdowns and bringing Indy into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed.

Redskins vs. Cowboys

RG3 celebrates being the NFC East champs for the first time since 1999. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Here’s another game that brought interest from beyond just the teams’ fans. With a win against rival Dallas, the Redskins had the chance to make the playoffs as the NFC East champs for the first time since 1999. And with a 28-18 win, Washington and Robert Griffin III did just that. With a loss, the Redskins would have been out of the playoffs, but instead it’s the Cowboys that will miss the postseason for the third straight year. The win brought the Redskins to 10-6 on the season, and they’ll host the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday. It also made them the first team to come back from a 3-6 start to make the postseason since the Jaguars did so in 1996.

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About The Author

Jill studies journalism at Northeastern University, covers Hockey East for College Hockey News and is the sports editor for The Huntington News. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillsaftel, just don't ask her to choose between hockey and baseball, it's impossible.