Posted on December 16, 2007
Filed Under Uncategorized
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are a couple of postgame notes on today’s 20-10 win over the Jets:
PATRIOTS CLINCH TOP SEED IN AFC PLAYOFFS
With their victory today, the Patriots have clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs for the second time, joining the 2003 team as the only squads in team history to accomplish the feat. New England has won the 2007 AFC East division championship and has also clinched a first-round playoff bye. They have won their division for the fifth straight year and have earned a first-round bye for the fifth time since the current playoff format was adopted in 1990. The Patriots also earned first-round byes in 1996, 2001, 2003 and 2004. New England will host a divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on the weekend of Jan. 12-13.
PATRIOTS TIE NFL’S LONGEST WINNING STREAK TO BEGIN A SEASON
The Patriots have begun the 2007 season with 14 consecutive victories, becoming just the second team in the NFL’s 88-year history to open a season with 14 straight wins. New England joins the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who finished their season 14-0. The NFL went from a 14-game regular season to a 16-game regular season in 1978. The Patriots are the third team in league history to win 14 straight games within a single season, joining the 1972 Dolphins and the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers, who won their final 14 games of the year to finish 15-1.
PATRIOTS TIE FRANCHISE RECORD FOR REGULAR-SEASON WINS
With 14 victories in 2007, the Patriots have tied the franchise’s single-season record for regular-season wins. The Patriots also won 14 games during the 2003 and 2004 campaigns, finishing with a 14-2 record in both seasons. The 2007 Patriots are the 24th team in NFL history to win 14 or more regular-season games.
PATRIOTS TIE SECOND-LONGEST REGULAR-SEASON WINNING STREAK IN NFL HISTORY
The Patriots have won 17 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last season, tying the second longest regular-season winning streak in the NFL’s 88-year history. New England’s winning streak ties the 17 straight wins by the 1933-34 Chicago Bears for the second longest streak, trailing only the Patriots’ NFL-record 18 consecutive regular-season wins from 2003-04.
PATRIOTS TIE NFL RECORD WITH 21st DIFFERENT PLAYER TO SCORE A TOUCHDOWN
With his first quarter interception return for a touchdown, Eugene Wilson became the 21st different player to score a touchdown for the Patriots this season, tying the all-time NFL record for most players scoring a touchdown in a single season. The Patriots have tied the 2000 Denver Broncos and the 1987 Los Angeles Rams, who also each had 21 players scoring a touchdown.
BRADY SETS SINGLE-SEASON CAREER HIGH FOR PASSING YARDS
On a 12-yard completion to Randy Moss in the first quarter, Tom Brady set a new single-season career high for passing yards, topping his total of 4,110 yards in 2005. Following his 12-yard completion to Moss, Brady had 4,117 passing yards for the season. He finished the game with 4,235 passing yards this year. Brady’s 2007 yardage total is currently the second highest total in Patriots franchise history, trailing only Drew Bledsoe’s team-record 4,555 passing yards in 1994.
WELKER TOPS 1,000 RECEIVING YARDS FOR SEASON
On his final catch of the day – a 16-yard reception in the fourth quarter – Wes Welker exceeded the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season. Welker finished the game with 96 receptions for 1,004 receiving yards in 2007. His 96 receptions are tied for the third highest single-season total in team history (Ben Coates, 1994). Troy Brown holds the team record with 101 catches in 2001. The 1,000-yard season is the first of Welker’s career, and along with Randy Moss’s 1,343 yards, the Patriots have two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season for just the second time in team history. New England also had two 1,000-yard receivers in 1979 (Harold Jackson 1,013 and Stanley Morgan 1,002). Prior to this season, the Patriots had just eight 1,000-yard receiving seasons, accomplished by five players (Morgan (3), Terry Glenn (2), Jackson, Ben Coates and Troy Brown).
MARONEY TOPS CENTURY MARK
Laurence Maroney gained 104 yards on 26 carries, recording his second 100-yard rushing game of the season and the third 100-yard rushing game of his career. Maroney also topped the century mark against Buffalo on Sept. 23, 2007 (103 yards on 19 carries) and also at Cincinnati on Oct. 1, 2006 (125 yards on 15 carries).
MOSS BREAKS 12,000 RECEIVING YARD MARK FOR CAREER
On his final catch of the game – a 46-yard reception from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter – Randy Moss exceeded 12,000 receiving yards for his career, becoming the 15th player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Moss ended the game with 12,043 career receiving yards on 763 career receptions.
MOSS BREAKS 1,300 RECEIVING YARD MARK FOR SEASON
On his 46-yard reception in the fourth quarter, Randy Moss exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the season, becoming the second player in Patriots history to achieve the feat. Stanley Morgan is the only other player in team history to break the 1,300-receiving yard mark, gaining a franchise-record 1,491 receiving yards in 1986. Moss ended the game with 1,343 receiving yards on 87 receptions in 2007. His 1,343 receiving yards are the second highest single-season total in Patriots history, trailing only Morgan’s 1986 total.
EUGENE WILSON SCORES FIRST CAREER TOUCHDOWN
Eugene Wilson returned an interception five yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead. The touchdown was the first of Wilson’s 5-year career and came on his 10th career interception. Wilson has become the 30th player in Patriots history to record 10 or more regular-season interceptions with the team and ties Mike Vrabel for the third highest interception total in a New England uniform by an active Patriots player. Of active Patriots, only Asante Samuel (22) and Tedy Bruschi (12) have more interceptions than Wilson in a New England uniform. The interception was Wilson’s first since Nov. 20, 2005. He became the sixth Patriots player to score a defensive touchdown this season, joining Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Randall Gay, Rosevelt Colvin and Adalius Thomas. The interception return for a touchdown was the third for the Patriots this season.
WILSON AND THOMAS TEAM UP TO CREATE TURNOVER
Adalius Thomas forced New York’s Chris Baker to fumble following a third-quarter completion and Eugene Wilson scooped up the loose ball to give the Patriots possession at their own 14-yard line. The forced fumble was Thomas’s first of the season and was the 16th forced fumble of his eight-year NFL career. For Wilson, the play was his fourth career fumble recovery and his first of the season.
MARONEY SCORES THIRD TOUCHDOWN OF SEASON
Laurence Maroney gave the Patriots a 17-7 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The scoring run was Maroney’s third of the season and was the ninth rushing score of his career. Maroney’s touchdown against the Jets was the 10th overall touchdown of his career, including nine rushing scores and one receiving touchdown.
WASHINGTON BLOCKED PUNT: FIRST FOR PATRIOTS SINCE 1999
Kelley Washington blocked a punt by New York’s Ben Graham in the second quarter, giving the Patriots possession at the Jets’ 3-yard line, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Laurence Maroney and a 17-7 Patriots lead. The blocked punt was the first for the Patriots Dec. 19, 1999, when Larry Whigham blocked a punt by Philadelphia’s Sean Landeta in a 24-9 victory over the Eagles at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Following the field goals, Gostkowski was 18-for-21 on the season (85.7 percent) and 38-for-47 for his regular-season career (80.9 percent). Including his 8-for-8 career playoff mark, Gostkowski is 46-for-55 in his career (83.6 percent).
OPPONENT BLOCKED PUNT RETURN FOR TOUCHDOWN: FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
The Jets’ David Bowens blocked a Chris Hanson punt and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown, marking the first time a Patriots opponent had returned a blocked punt for a touchdown since Oct. 18, 1990. In that game, Miami’s Mark Higgs returned a blocked punt of New England’s Brian Hansen 19 yards for a touchdown. Prior to today’s game, the last time an opponent blocked a Patriots punt was on Sept. 8, 2005, when Oakland’s Randal Williams blocked a Josh Miller punt.
SEAU RECORDS SECOND SACK OF SEASON
Junior Seau sacked Chad Pennington for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter. The sack was Seau’s second of the season and raised his career total to 55.0 career sacks. Seau’s career sack total ranks fifth among active linebackers.
•With their victory today, the Patriots tied their all-time series with the Jets and are now 48-48-1 all-time against New York.
•The Patriots have gained 5,790 total net yards this season, the second highest total in franchise history and trailing only their franchise-record 5,965 total net yards in 1978.
•The Patriots have gained 347 first downs this season, the second highest total in franchise history and trailing only their team-record 348 first downs in 1994.