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Wilfork led Patriots' recovery

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  December 24, 2011 06:31 PM

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Trailing 17-0 at halftime, Vince Wilfork and his Patriots teammates talked at halftime about needed just one play to grab the momentum and turn around the game.

Turns out he was the one that made it, with an assist from Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore.

When Moore bobbled the snap on third and 8 at the Miami 40 at the 10:48 mark of the third quarter with the Dolphins leading 17-3, Wilfork pounced on the mistake, recovering the fumble at the Miami 38.

Seven plays later, Tom Brady found Deion Branch for a 1-yard touchdown, and the Patriots suddenly trailed by only seven points.

"We said we need only one play to get it started as a team," Wilfork said after the Patriots' 27-24 victory that secured a first-round bye in the postseason. "All the while, we never gave up on one another and never said anything negative to one another.

"Going down 17-0 is a pretty big deficit, but once again, this team showed it's character. We believed in each other and stepped up and once we got going, all we needed was that one big play. Once we got it, it opened everything on offense, special teams, and defense."

Wilfork said that locking up the first-round bye was not something that the Patriots were about to celebrate.

"A bye is a bye," he said, "We still have another game to play."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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