Game notes from today’s Patriots-Bills game
Posted on December 28, 2008
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PATRIOTS TIE FIFTH-HIGHEST REGULAR-SEASON VICTORY TOTAL IN FRANCHISE HISTORYThe Patriots finished the 2008 regular season with an 11-5 record, tying the fifth highest regular-season win total in the team’s 49-season history. The Patriots have finished with more than 11 regular-season wins on just four occasions – 2007 (16), 2003 (14), 2004 (14) and 2006 (12). New England also won 11 games in 1976, 1978, 1985, 1986, 1996 and 2001.PATRIOTS RECORD FIRST SHUTOUT SINCE 2006The Patriots shut out the Bills today, recording their first shutout since downing the Green Bay Packers 35-0 on Nov. 19, 2006. Today’s shutout was the sixth for the Patriots since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. New England had three shutouts in 2003, one in 2005 and one in 2006.2008 PATRIOTS SET NFL RECORD FOR FEWEST PENALTIES IN A 16-GAME SEASONThe 2008 Patriots finished their 16-game regular season with just 57 accepted penalties called against them, setting an NFL record for fewest penalties in a 16-game season. The NFL expanded its season from 14 games to 16 games in 1978. The Patriots broke the previous 16-game season record of 59 penalties, established by the Seattle Seahawks in 2007.NFL RECORD BOOK / FEWEST ACCEPTED PENALTIESSINCE 16-GAME SCHEDULE ESTABLISHED IN 1978Team Year Penalties AcceptedNew England Patriots 2008 57Seattle Seahawks 2007 59New Orleans Saints 1992 60Miami Dolphins 1991 62New York Jets 2001 62NOTE: List excludes 1982 strike season (9 games)2008 PATRIOTS HAVE MOST RUSHING YARDAGE FOR FRANCHISE SINCE 1985Sammy Morris’ 6-yard run in the first quarter raised the Patriots’ 2008 team rushing yardage total to 2,135 yards, passing the team’s 2004 total (2,134 yards) as the franchise’s highest rushing total in 23 years (since the 1985 team gained 2,331 rushing yards). The Patriots finished the 2008 season with 2,278 rushing yards, a total that is the highest for a Patriots team since 1985.2008 PATRIOTS HAVE FRANCHISE’S HIGHEST RUSHING TOUCHDOWN TOTAL SINCE 1981LaMont Jordan’s third-quarter touchdown run was the 21st rushing score by the Patriots this season, tying the team’s fourth-best single-season rushing touchdown total (21 in 1974) and standing as the team’s highest rushing score total since having 23 in 1981. The Patriots set a franchise record with 30 rushing touchdowns in 1978. The Patriots finished the 2008 season with 21 rushing touchdowns, a total that is the highest for a Patriots team since 1981.2008 PATRIOTS CLAIM SECOND HIGHEST SINGLE-SEASON FIRST DOWN TOTAL IN TEAM HISTORYMatt Cassel’s 6-yard run for a first down in the third quarter was the Patriots’ 349th first down of the 2008 season, passing the 1994 squad’s 348 first downs to claim the second highest single-season total in team history. The Patriots’ 2008 first-down total trails only the 2007 squad’s team-record 393 first downs, a total that ranks second in NFL history. The Patriots finished the 2008 season with 356 first downs.GOSTKOWSKI HAS FRANCHISE’S HIGHEST SINGLE-SEASON POINT TOTAL SINCE 1970 MERGERWith his 33-yard field goal in the first quarter, Stephen Gostkowski raised his season total to 144 points, setting a new Patriots record for most points in a season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, topping Adam Vinatieri’s 141 points in 2004. He finished the season with 148 points, a total that ranks second in single-season team history, trailing only Gino Cappelletti’s 155 points in 1964 (7 TD, 36 XP, 25 FG, 1 2-pt). Gostkowski’s 2008 point total is the highest in team history by a player who scored all his points as a kicker.MOSS BREAKS 1,000 RECEIVING YARDS FOR NINTH TIME IN CAREEROn a 13-yard reception in the fourth quarter, Randy Moss broke the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season, marking the ninth time in his 11-year career that he has exceeded the 1,000-yard milestone. Moss’s nine 1,000-yard receiving seasons are tied for the second highest total in NFL history, trailing only Jerry Rice’s 14 seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards. In addition to Moss, Tim Brown and Jimmy Smith also reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark nine times.MOSS MOVES INTO NINTH PLACE ON NFL’S ALL-TIME RECEIVING YARD LISTOn a 13-yard reception in the fourth quarter, Randy Moss moved into ninth place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list, passing Andre Reed’s career total of 13,198 receiving yards. Following his 13-yard catch, Moss had 13,201 career receiving yards. Henry Ellard ranks eighth on the league’s all-time receiving yardage list with 13,777 career receiving yards.PATRIOTS RECORD SECOND-FEWEST PASSING ATTEMPTS IN FRANCHISE HISTORYFacing extremely windy conditions, the Patriots recorded just eight passing attempts against the Bills today – the second fewest in any game in franchise history. The only game in which the Patriots attempted fewer passes was the “Snow Plow Game” on Dec. 12, 1982 against the Miami Dolphins. In that contest, played in a driving snowstorm, New England attempted just five passes in a 3-0 win.EVANS SETS CAREER HIGH FOR RECEIVING YARDSHeath Evans caught two passes for 31 yards on a first-quarter Patriots field goal drive, setting a new single-game career high for receiving yards. Prior to today, Evans’ previous single-game career best was 29 receiving yards, achieved on Oct. 21, 2007 at Miami. Heading into today’s game, Evans had one reception this season, catching a 28-yard pass on Dec. 21 against Arizona.JORDAN SCORES FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WEEKLaMont Jordan gave the Patriots a 10-0 third-quarter lead with a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:39 left in the third quarter. The touchdown was Jordan’s fourth of the season and marked his third straight game with a touchdown. Jordan scored his first touchdown of the season on Dec. 14 at Oakland and followed that with a two-touchdown game against Arizona on Dec. 21. Jordan’s touchdown against Buffalo raises his career total to 27 rushing touchdowns.CLUTCH PUNTChris Hanson booted a 46-yard punt into a 30-40 mile per hour wind in the third quarter with the Patriots facing a fourth down on their own 18-yard line. Hanson’s punt went out of bounds at the Bills’ 36-yard line and saved the Patriots from having to defend a short field with a 3-0 lead. On the Bills’ possession following Hanson’s punt, Jarvis Green strip-sacked Trent Edwards and the Patriots got the ball back on the Bills’ 43-yard line, setting up a LaMont Jordan touchdown run that made the score 10-0.GREEN STRIP-SACKJarvis Green sacked Trent Edwards for a 6-yard loss in the third quarter and forced him to fumble on the play. Mike Vrabel recovered the ball at the Bills’ 43-yard line to give possession to the Patriots and set up a touchdown drive that ended in a scoring run by LaMont Jordan. The sack was Green’s first of the season and raised his career total to 26.0 sacks. Last season, Green had one strip-sack and in 2006, he tied Mike Vrabel for the team lead with three strip-sacks. Green’s forced fumble against the Bills was his ninth career forced fumble and his eighth career strip-sack. The Patriots have recovered the fumble following seven of Green’s eight career strip-sacks. Green added a 7-yard sack in the fourth quarter to record his fourth career multiple-sack game and his first since the 2007 regular-season opener on Sept. 9, 2007.LOWEST-SCORING FIRST HALF OF PATRIOTS GAME SINCE 2005The Patriots and Bills combined for three points in the first half, marking the lowest combined point total in the first half of a Patriots game since Oct. 20, 2005. On that day, the Bills led the Patriots 3-0 at halftime of a game the Patriots eventually won, 21-16.CASSEL PUNTS 57 YARDSMatt Cassel recorded a 57-yard punt into the wind on third down in the fourth quarter. The ball was downed at the Bills’ 2-yard line. Cassel became the first Patriots quarterback to record a punt since Tom Brady booted a 36-yard punt that was downed at the 1-yard line against Miami on Dec. 7, 2003.QUICK HITS· The Patriots beat the Bills for the 11th straight time, tying the longest series winning streak in team history. New England has not lost to the Bills since the 2003 regular-season opener. The Patriots also beat Buffalo 11 straight times from 1982-87.· The Patriots won their 12th straight game in the month of December and improved to 24-2 in the month of December since 2003.· The Patriots swept the season series with the Bills for the fifth straight season, tying the franchise record for most consecutive divisional sweeps. New England also swept Buffalo in five straight years from 1983-87.