|Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports|
When the NFL schedule was released in April, many people thought the Christmas Eve Patriots-Jets match up would be a good one. Turns out it was basically a bye week for the Pats, which is a nice Christmas gift.
It was an all-around beating, as the Patriots slaughtered Gang Green 41-3 behind three first half touchdown passes from Tom Brady and four turnovers from the New England defense. Pro Bowl snub Malcolm Butler grabbed two interceptions and also recovered a fumble, while Eric Rowe added a pick of his own.
The Patriots kicked a field goal on their opening drive to go up 3-0 and never looked back. Brady finished his day completing 17 of 27 passes for 214 yards in addition to the three scores and was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
LeGarrette Blount also scored two touchdowns on the ground to give him 16 on the season, extending the franchise record that he broke last week in Denver. Blount's 16 scores on the ground leads the NFL and it's the highest mark since LeSean McCoy rushed for 17 touchdowns for the Eagles in 2011.
Bryce Petty started at quarterback for the Jets but was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second quarter after Petty suffered a shoulder injury on the play that resulted in Butler's fumble recovery.
The Jets kicked a field goal late in the fourth quarter to break up the shutout.
The Patriots improved to 13-2 with the victory and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if the Indianapolis Colts can defeat the Oakland Raiders later this afternoon. If not, the Patriots will still have something to play for next week when they visit the Miami Dolphins to close out the regular season.
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