MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater was the lone member of the team sporting a “2012 AFC East Champions” hat in the team’s locker room after the Patriots (9-3) clinched the division with a 23-16 win over the Miami Dolphins Sunday. Slater’s been here before — the Patriots have won the division in each of his four seasons in New England — but he was cautiously excited.
“We’ll savor it for the next 24 hours maybe, and then we’ll enjoy it after the season,” said Slater. “We have a lot of football left to be played. We have a lot of goals hopefully to be accomplished. It’s a big step but it’s not the last step.”