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Game Notes: Bills vs. Patriots

Posted Dec 29, 2013

The following are game notes from the New England Patriots regular season game vs. the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, December 29, 2013.

PATRIOTS SET NFL MARK FOR MOST FIRST ROUND BYES;
BECOME FIRST AFC TEAM TO EARN FOUR STRAIGHT BYES
The Patriots earned a first-round bye in the 2013 NFL playoffs and lead the NFL with nine first-round byes since the current NFL playoff format was instituted in 1990. The Patriots have earned a first-round bye for the fourth consecutive season, becoming the third NFL team to record four straight byes and the first AFC team to do so, joining Dallas and San Francisco, who did so from 1992 through 1995.

PATRIOTS ARE PERFECT AT HOME
The Patriots finished with a perfect 8-0 regular-season record at Gillette Stadium for the sixth time in team history (2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2013). Cincinnati and New Orleans were the only other teams in 2013 to finish undefeated at home.

BLOUNT SETS TEAM SINGLE-GAME ALL-PURPOSE YARD RECORD
LeGarrette Blount set a new Patriots single-game record with 334 all-purpose yards, gaining 189 yards from scrimmage and adding 145 return yards. Blount’s performance topped the 51-year-old team record set by Larry Garron on November 3, 1962, when Garron had 273 all-purpose yards at Buffalo. Blount’s 334 all-purpose yards ranks 11th in NFL history and is the highest total net yardage total by an NFL player in a game since Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson had 361 all-purpose yards on Oct. 14, 2007. The NFL record for single-game all-purpose yards is 404, by Denver’s Glyn Milburn vs. Seattle on Dec. 10, 1995.

BLOUNT’S 189 RUSHING YARDS MOST BY PATRIOT SINCE 1998
LeGarrette Blount finished the game with 189 rushing yards on 24 carries, totaling the fifth-highest single-game rushing total in Patriots history and the highest rushing total by a Patriots player during Bill Belichick’s coaching tenure in New England. The last time a Patriots player had more rushing yards in a game was on December 13, 1998, when Robert Edwards had 196 rushing yards at St. Louis.

TOM BRADY GUIDES THE PATRIOTS TO EIGHTH 12-WIN SEASON IN 2013
Tom Brady guided the Patriots to their 12th win in 2013. Since entering the NFL in 2000, Brady’s teams have reached 12 regular-season wins in eight different seasons, second all-time, behind Peyton Manning.

BRADY TIES JOHN ELWAY FOR THIRD PLACE WITH 148 CAREER WINS
Tom Brady led the Patriots to his 148th career regular season win to move into a tie with Hall of Famer John Elway for third on the all-time win list among starting quarterbacks.

GOSTKOWSKI SETS FRANCHISE RECORD FOR MOST POINTS IN A SEASON
Stephen Gostkowski set a franchise record after increasing his totals to 158 points for the season, surpassing the 155 total points scored by Gino Cappelletti in 1964. Gostkowski’s previous career-high for points was 153 total points in 2012

GOSTKOWSKI IS ONE OF JUST FIVE PLAYERS TO LEAD LEAGUE IN SCORING FOR AT LEAST THREE SEASONS
Stephen Gostkowski led the NFL with 158 points in 2013, topping Denver’s Matt Prater’s total of 150. Gostkowski also led the NFL in scoring in 2008 with 148 points, and in 2012 with 153 points and is one of five players to lead the NFL in scoring for at least three seasons.

NFL Record for Most Seasons Leading the League in Scoring
5 Don Hutson Green Bay (1940-44)
5 Gino Cappelletti Patriots (1961, 1963-66)
3 Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (2008, 2012, 2013)
3 Earl Clark, Portsmouth (1932), Detroit (1935-36)
3 Pat Harder, Chicago Cardinals (1947-49)
3 Paul Hornung, Green Bay (1959-61)

GOSTKOWSKI BREAKS HIS OWN TEAM RECORD FOR MOST FG IN A SEASON
Stephen Gostkowski made four field goals (43, 35, 29 and 35) to break his own franchise record for most field goals in a season, finishing 2013 with 38 field goals. He originally set the franchise record with 36 field goals in 2008.

GOSTKOWSKI TIES CAREER-HIGH WITH FOUR FIELD GOALS
Gostkowski tied a career-high with four field goals. He has now had four field goals in a game seven times in his career.

EDELMAN BREAKS 1,000-YARD MARK
Edelman caught a five-yard and a 4-yard reception in the first quarter to push his 2013 totals over 1,000 yards to become the 10th Patriots player to register a 1,000-yard season. He entered the game with 991 receiving yards, and finished the season with 1,056 receiving yards.

EDELMAN BREAKS 100-CATCH MARK
Julian Edelman’s 12-yard reception in the second quarter was his 100th reception of 2013. He entered the game with 96 receptions and finished with 105 catches. Edelman joined Wes Welker (2007-09, 11-12) and Troy Brown (2001) as the only Patriots players to reach 100 receptions in a season.

PATRIOTS ARE GOOD IN DECEMBER
Since 2008, the Patriots are 23-3 and have won 19 of their last 21 December games. Bill Belichick is 51-9 (.850) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games). George Seifert is second (27-6, .818). Tom Brady is 4-1 in the month of December in 2013 for a 45-7 career December record and has the best winning percentage at 86.5 in December for any quarterback since the 1970 NFL merger.

PATRIOTS ARE REALLY GOOD AT HOME IN DECEMBER
The Patriots are now 24-2 at home in December since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002.

BRADY HAS THE BEST RECORD IN THE FINAL FOUR GAMES OF THE REGULAR SEASON SINCE THE 1970 MERGER
Tom Brady is now 43-9 in the final four games of the regular season, the best among any starting quarterback in the final four games since the 1970 merger.

BRADY FINISHES WITH 4,343 PASSING YARDS
Tom Brady finished the 2013 season with 4,343 passing yards, marking his third straight 4,000-yard season and his sixth 4,000-yard season of his career. Brady owns six of the eight 4,000-yard passing seasons in Patriots history.

LOGAN RYAN TIES FOR AFC LEAD IN INTERCEPTIONS WITH FIVE
Rookie CB Logan Ryan finished the 2013 season with five interceptions, tying Cleveland’s Tashaun Gipson and Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner for the AFC lead.

LEGARRETTE BLOUNT HAS EIGHTH NFL 100-YARD GAME AND FIRST AS A PATRIOT
LeGarrette Blount scored on a 36-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to pit him over 100 yards for the day. It is his eighth career 100-yard game and his first as a member of the Patriots. It is the third 100-yard rushing performance in 2013. Shane Vereen had 101 yards rushing in the season-opener at Buffalo on Sept. 8 and RB Stevan Ridley had 115 yards vs. Pittsburgh on Nov. 3. Blount finished the game with a career-high 189 rushing yards.

BLOUNT SETS NEW SINGLE-SEASON CAREER HIGH WITH SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS
LeGarrette Blount had a pair of touchdown runs today, bringing his season total to 7 touchdowns. Blount’s seven touchdowns were a new career high and tied Stevan Ridley’s seven scores for the team lead. Blount finished the season with 772 rushing yards, a yard shy of Ridley’s team-high 773 rushing yards.

BLOUNT HAS A PAIR OF 30-PLUS YARD TOUCHDOWN RUNS
LeGarrette Blount had a 36-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 35-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, marking his second and third touchdown runs of 30 or more yards in 2013. He had a 47-yard touchdown run at Atlanta on Sept. 29.

BLOUNT HAD A CAREER-LONG 83-YARD KICKOFF RETURN IN THE THIRD QUARTER;
SECOND LONGEST NON TOUCHDOWN KICKOFF RETURN IN TEAM HISTORY
Blount had a career-long 83-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. It is the second longest non touchdown kickoff return in team history. Kevin Faulk had a 95-yard return vs. the New York jets on Nov. 15, 1999. Blount’s previous best was a 30-yarder vs. Miami on Oct. 27. It is the longest kickoff return by the Patriots in 2013. Rookie WR Josh Boyce had a 41-yard kickoff return at Houston on Dec. 1.

BLOUNT IS FIRST PATRIOTS PLAYER SINCE 2008 WITH TWO KICK RETURNS OF 50 YARDS OR MORE IN THE SAME GAME
Blount had an 83-yard kickoff return in the third quarter and a 62-yard return in the fourth quart6er. He is the first Patriots player to have two 50-yard kickoff returns in the same game since Ellis Hobbs had an 81-yard return and a 50-yard return vs. Miami on Sept. 21, 2008.

THE PATRIOTS 173 RUSHING YARDS ARE SECOND MOST EVER IN A HALF
The Patriots had 173 yards rushing in the first half, the second most ever in a half. The most by the Patriots in a half was 174 in the second half on Oct. 1, 2006 at Cincinnati.

BLOUNT STARTS WITH A STRONG RUSH
LeGarrette Blount’s 118 rushing yards in the first half were the most first-half rushing yards by a Patriots running back since Sammy Morris had 138 first-half rushing yards on October 20, 2008, against Denver at Gillette Stadium.

2014 OPPONENTS DETERMIEND
The Patriots 2014 opponents have been determined. In addition to playing each of the other AFC East opponents twice, the Patriots will play one game against each of the AFC West and NFC North teams. As the first-place team in the AFC East, the Patriots will play the first-place team of the AFC North (Cincinnati) and AFC South (Indianapolis)

PATRIOTS REMAIN PEFECT AGAINST BUFFALO AT GILLETTE
The Patriots have won their last 13 home games against Buffalo, including a perfect 12-0 record against the Bills at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady is 22-2 all-time against Buffalo.

PATRIOTS POSTSEASON STREAK OF FIVE STRAIGHT IS LONGEST IN NFL
With Baltimore losing today and being eliminated from the postseason, the Patriots streak of five straight postseason berths is the longest active streak in the NFL.

PATRIOTS EXTEND STREAK TO 15 STRAIGHT WINS OVER AFC EAST FOES AT HOME
The Patriots won their 15th straight game at home against AFC East opposition. The last time the Patriots lost a home game against an AFC East opponent was on Nov. 13, 2008, when the New York Jets left Gillette Stadium with a 34-31 overtime win. The Patriots are now 31-5 against the AFC East at Gillette Stadium.

GOSTKOWSKI HAS 24 STRAIGHT FOURTH QUARTER FIELD GOALS
Stephen Gostkowski has made 24 consecutive fourth-quarter field goals, including a 35-yarder in the fourth quarter today against Buffalo.

PATRIOTS REGISTER MOST SACKS IN A SEASON SINCE 1985
The Patriots finished the 2013 season with 49 sacks, recording the team’s highest single-season sack total since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000, and the most for a Patriots team since registering 51 sacks in 1985. Prior to this season, the most sacks the Patriots had with Belichick as head coach was 46 in 2007.

BRADY IMPROVES ON HOME RECORD AS STARTER
Tom Brady improved to 49-3 as a starter at Gillette Stadium since the playing surface was changed to an artificial surface ahead of the Patriots’ game against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 26, 2006. Brady has now won 18 consecutive home starts against AFC East opponents, dating back to a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets on November 12, 2006.

QUICK HITS
- Rob Ninkovich stopped Buffalo QB Thad Lewis for a 1-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 rush in the second quarter.
- Chandler Jones tackled Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller for a 2-yard loss in the second quarter.
- Logan Ryan tackled Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller for a 2-yard loss in the first quarter.
- Joe Vellano tackled Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller for no gain in the third quarter.
- Aqib Talib tackled Buffalo RB Fred Jackson for a 1-yard loss on second down in the fourth quarter. Following a sack on the next play, Buffalo was forced to settle for a field goal.
SACK ATTACK
- Sealver Siliga was credited with his third sack of the season when he forced Buffalo QB Thad Lewis to fumble the ball out of bounds for a loss of 13 yards in the first quarter. The sack raised Siliga’s 2013 total to three sacks in five games with New England.
- Steve Gregory was credited with a 0-yard sack of Buffalo QB Thad Lewis in the third quarter. The sack was Gregory’s first as a member of the Patriots and his first since having a pair of sacks in 2009 with San Diego.
- Chris Jones sacked Buffalo QB Thad Lewis for a 6-yard loss in the third quarter, tallying the sixth sack of his rookie season.
- Rob Ninkovich sacked Buffalo QB Thad Lewis for a 4-yard loss on third down in the fourth quarter, forcing a Buffalo field goal on the next play.

EDELMAN HAULS IN SECOND 2-POINT CONVERSION OF SEASON
Julian Edelman caught a 2-point conversion pass from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a 24-10 lead. It was Edelman’s second 2-point conversion of the season, having also caught a 2-point pass against Denver on Nov. 24. Edelman’s two 2-point conversions ties the Patriots record for most 2-point conversions in a season, joining David Meggett (1995) and Danny Woodhead (2011) with two 2-point conversions in a season.

CLOSING TIME
The Patriots have one of the more dominating closers in the NFL with running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount rushed for 62 of his career-best 189 yards in the fourth quarter of today’s game, and is third in the NFL in fourth quarter rushing yards (322) and is bruising opposing defenses with 5.75 yards per carry in the final 15 minutes, the second highest average among players who have at least 30 fourth quarter carries. He also is tied for first in fourth quarter rushing touchdowns with five, a lead he shares with Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers.

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