Patriots officially wrap up home-field advantage with lopsided win over Jets
Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe
It was a formality that become official today: the Patriots have officially clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by steam rolling the hapless New York Jets 26-6 at Gillette Stadium.
It looked as if the Patriots were going to be in for a tough one in the early going. After scoring on the game's first drive, New England wasn't able to generate any offense until the tail end of the second quarter when Tom Brady connected with Brandin Cooks and Dion Lewis for touchdowns.
Brady, who was 18-of-37 for 190 yards and two touchdowns, faced a fair amount of pressure from New York's defense. He was sacked twice and hit five times.
But it was Lewis who once again put on a show for the Pats' offense. With Rex Burkhead, James White and Mike Gillislee inactive, Lewis handled most of the carries, rushing 26 times for 93 yards and a touchdown and also caught six passes for 40 yards.
Not that he needed to prove anything else, but Lewis's big day showed why he should continue to be given a heavy workload when the Patriots begin their playoff run.
James Harrison also made an impact in his Patriots debut. The 39-year-old played almost half of the team's defensive snaps, came up with a sack late in the fourth quarter and made a big third down stop early in the third quarter. Eric Lee also had one of the defensive highlights of the day. With just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Lee sacked Bryce Petty in the end zone that resulted in a safety.
The Patriots finish the regular season with a 13-3 record and will host the lowest seed remaining in the playoffs by the time the divisional round arrives.