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Game Notes: Patriots vs. Bills

Posted Jan 1, 2012

The following are game notes from the New England Patriots regular season game vs. the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, January 1, 2012.

PATRIOTS EARN NUMBER ONE SEED IN AFC PLAYOFF FIELD
The victory over Buffalo gives the Patriots the number one seed in the AFC playoff field for the second straight season. The Patriots have now earned the number one seed four times (2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003) in the past nine seasons. New England is the first team since Philadelphia (2002, 2003 and 2004) to have the top seed in its conference in at least two straight years and is the first AFC team to have the first seed in two straight years since Buffalo in 1990 and 1991.

BILL BELICHICK FIRST IN NFL HISTORY WITH 13-PLUS IN FIVE DIFFERENT SEASONS
Bill Belichick is the first head coach in NFL history with 13 or more wins in five different seasons.
2003-14-2
2004-14-2
2007-16-0
2010-14-2
2011-13-3

GRONKOWSKI SETS NFL RECORD FOR RECEIVING YARDS BY A TIGHT END
TE Rob Gronkowski finished the season with 1,327 receiving yards, surpassing San Diego's Kellen Winslow's 1980 record of 1,290 receiving yards for most receiving yards in a season by a tight end. New Orleans's Jimmy Graham also broke Winslow's old record, but finished the season with 1,310 receiving yards, 17 shy of Gronkowski's new record.

PATRIOTS COME BACK FROM 17 POINTS DOWN FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK
The Patriots came back from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit to defeat the Bills 49-21. Last week, the Patriots came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat Miami 27-24. It is the first time in franchise history that the Patriots have had comeback wins from deficits of 17 or more points in back-to-back games. Today's 21-point comeback against Buffalo was the Patriots' largest comeback since Nov. 10, 2002, when they trailed Chicago by 21 points (27-6) and came back to win 33-30. Prior to today, the last time the Patriots posted a comeback win after their opponent scored the game's first 21 points was on Sept. 19, 1999, when Indianapolis jumped out to a 21-0 lead in a game New England eventually won 31-28.

BRADY REACHES 5,000 YARDS
Tom Brady finished the season with 5,235 passing yards and joined Drew Brees (5,476 in 2011 and 5,069 in 2008) and Dan Marino (5,084 in 1984) as the only players in NFL history to reach 5,000 passing yards in a single season. Brady eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark on his 39-yard touchdown pass to TE Aaron Hernandez.

WELKER FINISHES WITH 122 CATCHES (T-4th ALL-TIME); BECOMES 2nd PLAYER IN NFL HISTORY WITH TWO 120-CATCH SEASONS
Wes Welker finished the season with 122 receptions, a total that is tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in NFL history. The 120-plus catch season was the second time in Welker's career he has passed the 120-reception mark (123 in 2009 and 122 in 2011), joining Cris Carter (122 in 1995 and 122 in 1994 as the only players to have 120-plus receptions twice in career.

WELKER FINISHES WITH 1,569 RECEIVING YARDS
Wes Welker finished the season with 122 catches for 1,569 receiving yards. Welker's 1,568 receiving yards are the most in Patriots history, topping Randy Moss's previous mark of 1,493 receiving yards in 2007.

WELKER FINSIHED WITH JUST UNDER 8 RECEPTIONS PER GAME IN 2011
Wes Welker averaged 7.6 receptions per game, totaling 122 receptions in 16 games. The NFL record for highest average catches for per game in a season is 8.9 by Marvin Harrison in 2002. Harrison in 2002 and Welker in 2009 with 8.8 are the only NFL players to average 8.0 or more receptions per game.

BRADY TIES FRAN TARKETON FOR FIFTH ALL-TIME WITH 124 WINS.
Tom Brady won his 124th career regular-season games as a starter, tying Fran Tarkenton for the fifth-highest career win total as a starting quarterback. Brady has won 124 of his 159 career starts, with his .780 winning percentage standing as the highest in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 100 wins.

BRADY THROWS 300th CAREER TOUCHDOWN PASS; TIES ELWAY FOR FIFTH ON NFL'S ALL-TIME TOUCHDOWN LIST
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes against Buffalo to finish the season with 300 career touchdown passes. Brady is the sixth player in NFL history to reach 300 touchdown passes, joining Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Fran Tarkenton, and John Elway. Brady is tied with Elway for fifth on the NFL's all-time touchdown pass list.

BRADY FINISHES SEASON WITH 39 TOUCHDOWN PASSES; BECOMES FIRST PLAYER IN NFL HISTORY WITH TWO OR MORE SEASONS OF 39 OR MORE TD PASSES
Tom Brady finished the 2011 season with 39 touchdown passes, marking the second highest total of his career, trailing only his NFL-record 50 scoring tosses in 2007. Brady is the only player in NFL history with at least two different seasons with 39 or more touchdown passes.

GRONKOWSKI: 13TH TIME AN NFL TIGHT END FINISHES WITH 90 RECEPTIONS
Rob Gronkowski finished the season with 90 receptions, posting the 13th season with 90 or more receptions by a tight end. New Orleans's Jimmy Graham also recorded 90 or more receptions as a tight end this season.

BRADY HAS 14 GAMES IN 2011 WITH 2 OR MORE TOUCHDOWNS
Tom Brady threw three touchdowns against Buffalo, marking Brady's 14th game in 2011 with two or more touchdowns, tying his franchise record for most games with two or more touchdowns in a season. Brady had 14 such games in 2007. The NFL record for most games with two or more touchdown passes in a season is 15 by Dan Marino in 1984.

BRADY THROWS AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN PASS IN ALL 16 GAMES FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON
Brady had at least one touchdown pass in all 16 games of the 2011 season. Since the NFL went to a 16-game season in 1978, only seven quarterbacks have thrown for at least one touchdown in each game. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are the first to do so in two straight seasons (2010, 2011).

BRADY HAS HIS 45TH 300-YARD GAME
Brady threw for 338 yards for his 45th career 300-yard game and his 11th 300-yard game of the 2011 season. The 11 300-yard games are a personal best. The NFL record for most 300-yard games in a season is 13 by Drew Brees (2011).
MOST 300-YARD PASSING GAMES IN NFL HISTORY
Peyton Manning        63
Dan Marino        63
Brett Favre        62
Drew Brees        57
Kurt Warner        52
Dan Fouts        51
Warren Moon        49
Tom Brady        45
Joe Montana        39

MOST 300-YARD GAMES PASSING IN A SEASON
13    Drew Brees, New Orleans, 2011
11    Tom Brady, Patriots, 2011
10    Rich Gannon, Oakland, 2002
10    Drew Brees, New Orleans, 2008
9    Dan Marino, Miami, 1984
9    Warren Moon, Houston, 1990
9    Kurt Warner, St. Louis, 1999
9    Kurt Warner, St. Louis, 2001
9    Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 2009
9    Matt Schaub, Houston, 2009

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN PASS CONTINUES FOR BRADY
Tom Brady has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 32 straight regular season games, extending his team mark with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez in the second quarter. Brady's current streak started when he threw a touchdown pass in all 16 games in 2010 and he has now achieved the feat in all 16 games in 2011. The old team record was 19 games, also set by Brady. Brady's 32 straight games is fourth all-time. The NFL record is 47 set by Johnny Unitas (1956-7), followed by Drew Brees with 43 and Brett Favre with 36.

WELKER IS STREAKING
Wes Welker extended his streak to 77 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots to extend his franchise record. Welker has an overall streak of 94 straight regular-season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins. Welker has caught at least one pass in each of his 81 games with the Patriots, including four postseason games. The last time that Welker did not catch a pass in a game was December 24, 2005 when he was with Miami.

PATRIOTES TIE THE NFL RECORD FOR MOST 30-POINT GAMES IN A SINGLE SEASON
The Patriots scored 30 points for the 12th time in 2011 to tie the NFL record for most 30-point games in a single season. The 2007 Patriots and the 1999 St. Louis Rams also had 12 30 point games.. The NFL record for most consecutive 30-point games in a single season is eight by the 2007 and 2010 Patriots and the 2000 St. Louis Rams.

HERNANDEZ SETS CAREER-HIGH WITH HIS SEVENTH TOUCHDOWN OF THE SEASON
Aaron Hernandez set a single-season career high with his seventh touchdown of the season on a 39-yard pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter. As a rookie in 2010, he had six touchdown receptions.


HERNANDEZ HAS FOURTH 100-YARD GAME AND THIRD OF THE 2011 SEASON
Aaron Hernandez finished the Buffalo game with seven receptions for a career-high 138 yards. The performance marked Hernandez's third 100-yard receiving game of the season and the fourth of his career.

MARK ANDERSON REACHES DOUBLE DIGIT SACKS; PATRIOTS HAVE TWO PLAYERS WITH 10 OR MORE SACKS IN 2011
Mark Anderson reached double digit sacks (10.0) for the second time in his career and for the first time since he had a career-high 12.0 as a rookie in 2006 with Chicago after an 8-yard sack in the second quarter. It is the third time in Patriots history (1985 and 1977) that two players have finished with double digit sacks with Anderson and Andre Carter reaching 10.0 sacks in 2011. The last time two Patriots had 10 or more sacks was 1985 with Andre Tippett (16.5) and Garin Veris (10.0). In 1977 Tony McGee (12.0) and Ray Hamilton (10.0) finished with double digit sacks. It is the 14th time that the Patriots have had a player finish with double digit sacks.

MAYO OVER 100 TACKLES FOR THE FOURTH STRAIGHT YEAR
LB Jerod Mayo finished the 2011 season with 102 tackles, registering 100 tackles for the fourth straight year. He is the first player in New England history to register 100 tackles in his first four NFL seasons. He is the fifth Patriots player to register at least four consecutive 100 tackle seasons.

100 Tackles in at least four consecutive seasons/Patriots
6 Fred Marion (1985-1990)
5 Lawyer Milloy (1997-2001)
5 Vincent Brown (1991-1995)
4 Jerod Mayo (2008-2011)
4 Steve Nelson (1979-82)

GREEN-ELLIS POSTS BACK-TO-BACK 10 PLUS TD SEASONS
RB BenJarvus scored on a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter for his 10th rushing touchdown of the season. He added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for his 11th touchdown of the season. With 13 rushing touchdowns last season and 11 in 2011, he is the third running back in team history with back-to-back 10-plus touchdown seasons. Corey Dillon with three straight (2004-06) and Curtis Martin (1995-96) are the others.

CONSECUTIVE 10-PLUS TOUCHDOWN SEASONS / PATRIOTS HISTORY
3 Randy Moss – 2007, 2008, 2009
3 Corey Dillon – 2004, 2005, 2006
2 Rob Gronkowski - 2010, 2011
2 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 2010, 2011
2 Curtis Martin – 1995, 1996

MOST 10-PLUS TOUCHDOWN SEASONS / PATRIOTS HISTORY
3 Randy Moss – 2007, 2008, 2009
3 Corey Dillon – 2004, 2005, 2006
2 Rob Gronkowski – 2001, 2011
2 Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis,- 2010, 2011
2 Curtis Martin – 1995, 1996
2 Stanley Morgan – 1979, 1986

PATRIOTS WIN WHEN GREEN-ELLIS SCORES
The Patriots are now 22-1 (.957) when Green-Ellis has a rushing touchdown in a game. The only Patriots loss was a 2008 game at Indianapolis.


GREEN-ELLIS HAS SIXTH CAREER TWO-TOUCHDOWN GAME
Green-Ellis had his sixth career two-touchdown game and his third two-touchdown game of the 2011 season. He also had two touchdowns on Oct. 9, 2011 in the win vs. New York Jets and two at Philadelphia on Nov. 27, 2011.

GREEN-ELLIS HAS CAREER LONG WITH A 53-YARD RECEPTION
Green-Ellis had a 53-yard pass reception in the third quarter, his longest of his career. His previous best was a 25-yard reception vs. Kansas City on Nov. 21, 2011.

GRONKOWSKI'S 18 OVERALL TDS ARE SECOND MOST BY A PATRIOT IN A SEASON
Rob Gronkowski finished the season with 18 overall touchdowns (17 receiving, 1 rushing). His 17 overall touchdowns passed Curtis Martin (17 overall in 1996) for the second highest single season total in Patriots history. Randy Moss had a franchise record 23 total touchdowns in 2007.

TWO PLAYERS WITH 10 OR MORE TOUCHDOWNS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (11) and TE Rob Gronkowski (18) reached 10 or more touchdowns in 2011. It is the second straight season and fourth time in team history that the Patriots have had two players finish with 10 or more touchdowns in a season. Last season Gronkowski (10) and Green-Ellis (13) had 10 touchdown seasons. In 1974, Mack Herron had 12 touchdowns (7 rushing, 5 receiving) and Sam Cunningham had 11 (9 rushing, 2 receiving). In 1976, Steve Grogan had 12 touchdowns (12 rushing) and Andy Johnson had 10 touchdowns (6 rushing, 4 receiving).

ROOKIE STERLING MOORE RECORDS FIRST CAREER INTERCEPTION
Rookie Sterling Moore intercepted his first pass of his career at the Buffalo 25-yard line in the third quarter. The Patriots converted the turnover into a touchdown to give the Patriots their first lead of the game.

GRONKOWSKI THIRD ON PATRIOTS LIST FOR TOUCHDOWNS CATCHES BY A TIGHT END
Gronkowski is third on the Patriots all-time touchdown reception list by a tight end with 27, behind Ben Coates (50) and Russ Francis (28).

GRONKOWSKI SCORES TWO TIMES
Gronkowski had his ninth game overall with two or more touchdowns and his seventh game in 2011 with two or more touchdowns. He has had two or more touchdown in five of the last six games.

GRONKOWSKI TIES CAREER HIGH WITH EIGHT CATCHES
Rob Gronkowski had eight catches for 108 yards, tying his single-game career high with eight receptions. He also had eight receptions on 11/6/11 vs. N.Y Giants and on 11/13/11 at N.Y. Jets. The Bills game was Gronkowski's sixth career 100-yard receiving game (his fifth of 2011).

PATRIOTS GAIN YARDS
The Patriots finished the 2011 season with 6,848 total net yards, setting a new franchise record for most total net yards in a season.
PATRIOTS RECORD BOOK / MOST TOTAL NET YARDS/SEASON
6,848 in 2011
6,580 in 2007
6,357 in 2009

PATRIOTS SCORE TOUCHDOWNS
The Patriots scored 61 total touchdowns in 2011. That number is third in team history to the 75 scored in 2007 and the 65 scored in 2010.
MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN A SEASON
75 in 2007
65 in 2010
61 in 2011
52 in 1961 and 1980
50 in 2009
49 in 2004 and 1979

PATRIOTS HAVE 18 100-YARD RECEIVERS IN 2011 TO SET FRANCHISE RECORD
The Patriots had two receivers pass the 100-yard receiving mark against Buffalo, giving New England 18 individual 100-yard receiving performances in 2011. That number set a new franchise record, topping the 16 100-yard performances in 2007.

GRONKOWSKI AND HERANDEZ COMBINE FOR MOST RECEPTIONS BY A TE PAIR
Ron Gronkowski (90) and Aaron Herandez (79) combined for 169 receptions in 2011, the most by a pair of tight end in the same season in NFL history. Jason Witten (94) and Martellus Bennett (33) combined for 127 in 2010 with Dallas for the second most.

WELKER AND GRONKOWSKI ARE THE TOP TWO IN THE AFC
Heading into this afternoon's late games, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski rank first and second respectively in the AFC in receiving yards. If they finish the season in the top two slots, they will become the first  teammates to finish 1-2 in conference in receiving yards since Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce in 2000 (St. Louis).

TWO PLAYERS WITH 100 YARDS FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN 2011
Both Rob Gronkowski (108) and Aaron Hernandez (138) went over 100 yards receiving, marking the sixth time that the Patriots had a game with two players over 100 yards receiving.
Wes Welker (160) and Aaron Hernandez (103) at Miami on Sept. 12
Wes Welker (217) and Rob Gronkowski (109) at Buffalo on Sept. 25
Wes Welker (136) and Gronkowski (101) vs. NY Giants on Nov. 6
Wes Welker (115) and Deion Branch (125) at Philadelphia on Nov. 27
Rob Gronkowski (108) and Aaron Heranandez (138) vs. Buffalo on Jan. 1, 2012