27 Dec 2011

Patriots clinch playoff berth with tight win

1:00 pm on 27 December 2011

Tom Brady's New England Patriots clinched a playoff bye by rallying for a 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins in one of 13 Christmas Eve day games in America's National Football League.

Brady completed 20 of 27 passes for 217 yards in the second half for New England (12-3) who won its seventh consecutive game.

After the Houston Texans lost to the Indianapolis Colts, New England needed a win or a tie to lock up one of the top two spots in the AFC.

Meanwhile the Detroit Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 as Matthew Stafford tossed three touchdown passes in the opening half to beat the San Diego Chargers 38-10.

Detroit has won three consecutive games after a seven-game slump to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs.