How does a team celebrate a dominating road over the Bills that clinched not only the AFC East title but homefield advantage throughout the playoffs as the AFC's No. 1 seed?
How else but with an extra night in Western New York, sporting your new division title hats and t-shirts in the hotel lobby and restaurant of a Rochester hotel.
That's what the Patriots were forced to do Sunday night as snow pounded the northeast, closing airports in both Providence and Boston and grounding any plans the Patriots had of returning home after the big win in Buffalo.
Bill Belichick said his team would use the unwanted extra night on the road to rest.
"We're excited about staying here a little longer," Bill Belichick said in his usual dry style. "We'll let our travel people figure it out."
The ruined travel plans could do nothing to dampen the spirits of the New England players.
"We always celebrate," guard Logan Mankins said in the postgame locker room with a huge smile while slapping naked teammate Matt Light on his bare butt.
Though it greatly affected their postgame itinerary, players claimed they actually ignored the outside distraction of the storm during the game.
"To be honest, I didn't know anything about it until Pat told me in the middle of the game," James Sanders said of a conversation with fellow safety Pat Chung. "And he was like, 'man, there's like 20 inches of snow in Boston.' I was like, 'Are you serious?'"
"I don't think anybody on the team cared about whether we were going home or not during the game," rookie linebacker Dane Fletcher said after the win in which he notched a fumble recovery and his first career interception. "Now it's just a little weird staying. But we make the best of it. I couldn't ask for better guys to be around tonight. We'll have a little party together."
Sanders summed up the day nicely, in the form of those well-known commercials.
"I've never even heard of Rochester," Sanders admitted. "So I'm definitely not looking forward to that. I said to Darius Butler earlier, 'Winning the AFC East championship and the first-round bye is priceless. Spending the holidays in Rochester is garbage time.'"
After spending Sunday night in Rochester, the Patriots eventually boarded a plane from the city late Monday morning and made their way back to New England with the division and No. 1 seed in hand heading toward a virtually meaningless season finale at home against the Dolphins.
"I wouldn't say we never expected it, but we were just focusing on one week at a time. But now that you look back you see we're sitting at the No. 1 seed at 13-2 it's kind of remarkable, especially with our schedule this year," Sanders said. "So we're very pleased with that and just focusing on getting better and hopefully peaking at the right time."
Now the Patriots are the only team that can say they've clinched homefield and a No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs. And they're the only team that celebrated a win last week with an extra night in Rochester.
--The Patriots forced seven Buffalo turnovers Sunday (three interceptions and four fumbles) and did not turn the ball over to raise their 2010 turnover differential to plus-27. The Patriots' team record for best turnover differential in a season is plus-17, a record which was set in 2003. The Patriots improved to 12-0 this season when recording a positive turnover differential.
--RB Danny Woodhead had a big day against Buffalo, including a 29-yard touchdown. Woodhead finished with career-high 93 yards on just 13 carries for a 7.2-yard average. He also had three catches for 32 yards. Woodhead now has 528 yards on 95 attempts for the season for a 5.6-yard average with five rushing touchdowns.
--RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis notched his second 100-yard effort of the season against Buffalo, hitting for 104 yards on 19 carries. Green-Ellis leads New England with 928 yards on 209 carries with 12 rushing scores. He has a chance to become the Patriots first 1,000-yard rusher since Corey Dillon's franchise-record 1,635 yards in 2004.
--TE Rob Gronkowski, a native of nearby Amherst, N.Y., had a big day with four catches for 54 yards with two touchdowns in front of friends and family in Buffalo. The rookie has nine touchdown catches on the season, tied for most by a tight end in team history and third-most from a rookie tight end in NFL history.
--TE Alge Crumpler had a 4-yard touchdown in the victory over Buffalo, his first score as a Patriot and just his fifth catch of the season.
--WR Deion Branch had a quiet day in Buffalo, catching just two passes for 25 yards.
--WR Wes Welker had just three catches for 19 yards in the win over the Bills. With a team-high 86 catches on the season Welker will need 14 receptions in the finale to eclipse 100 catches for the fourth straight season.
--ILB Jerod Mayo had one of his more active games of the season, with New England's leading tackler notching a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a QB hit and a pair of pass defenses in the win over Buffalo. The fumble recovery was Mayo's third of the season.
--S Patrick Chung had six solo tackles and his third interception of the season in beating the Bills.
--ILB Gary Guyton had six tackles, a strip sack and two pass defenses against Buffalo.
--DL Kyle Love, an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi State, recorded his first career sack against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills.
--LB Dane Fletcher, an undrafted rookie out of Montana State, recorded his first career interception late in the fourth quarter of the win at Buffalo. Earlier in the game Fletcher also recovered a fumble. Fletcher became the 10th different Patriots player to record an interception this season.
--PK Shayne Graham hit a pair of field goals, from 34 and 26 yards, against the Bills and has yet to miss a field goal since replacing the injured Stephen Gostkowski in New England.
--DL Landon Cohen made his Patriots debut and first start after signing with the team last week.
--S Jarrad Page made his first start since joining the Patriots and took advantage with his first interception of the season early in the third quarter.