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Game Notes: Patriots vs. Colts

Posted Dec 4, 2011

The following are game notes from the New England Patriots regular season game vs. the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, December 4, 2011.

SUSTAINED SUCCESS: PATRIOTS TO FINISH ABOVE .500 FOR 11th STRAIGHT SEASON
With their ninth win of the 2011 season, the Patriots guaranteed a winning record for the 11th straight season. The Patriots have now won nine or more games in 15 of the 18 seasons that Robert Kraft has owned the team. The Patriots have won more than half of their games 11 straight years. They are the first team to win more than half of their games in 11 straight seasons since free agency began in 1993. The Patriots are the fourth team to win more than half of their games in 11 straight seasons since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, joining the 49ers (16 straight from 1983-1998), the Cowboys (16 straight from 1970-85), and the Raiders (11 straight from 1970-80). At the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Patriots will be the only NFL team to finish with a record of .500 or better in each of the last 11 years (2001-2011). Each of the other 31 NFL teams had at least one losing season between 2001 and 2010.

ANNUAL ACHIEVMENTS – PATRIOTS HAVE MOST 9 WIN SEASONS SINCE 2001
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have recorded nine or more wins in each of the last 11 seasons.

MOST SEASONS OF 9 WINS SINCE 2001
New England    11*
Pittsburgh    9*
Indianapolis    9
Philadelphia    8
*-Includes 2011 Season

BRADY MOVES PAST JOHNNY UNITAS AND IS NOW TIED WITH WARREN MOON FOR SIXTH ON NFL ALL-TIME TOUCHDOWN LIST
With two touchdown passes today, Tom Brady passed Johnny Unitas and moved into a tie with Warren Moon for sixth on the NFL's all-time touchdown pass list. Brady's 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter was his 290th career touchdown pass, tying Johnny Unitas for seventh place on the NFL's all-time list. He completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski to move past Unitas into a tie for sixth place with Warren Moon at 291 career touchdown passes. John Elway is in fifth with 300.

TOM BRADY BECOMES SIXTH NFL QUARTERBACK WITH THREE 30 TD SEASONS
Tom Brady threw two touchdowns and now has 30 for the season. Brady became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to have 30 touchdown passes in at least three seasons. He had an NFL-leading 36 in 2010 and an NFL-record 50 in 2007.

MOST SEASONS WITH 30-PLUS TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Brett Favre    9
Peyton Manning    6
Dan Marino    4
Tom Brady    3
Drew Brees    3 (prior to tonight's game)
Kurt Warner    3

BRADY HAS MORE PASSING YARDS THAN ANY OTHER QUARTERBACK AFTER 12 GAMES
Tom Brady has thrown for 3,916 yards through 12 games this season, setting a new NFL record for most passing yards in the first 12 games of the season. Rich Gannon had the record with 3,877 yards in 2002 when he was with Oakland. Gannon finished with 4,689 yards that season. Brady is on pace to total 5,221 yards this season. Dan Marino (5,084 in 1984) and Drew Brees (5,069 in 2008) are the only NFL quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a season. After 12 games, Marino had 3,678 yards in 1984 and Brees had 3,870 after 12 games in 2008.

BRADY HAS 11 GAMES IN 2011 WITH 2 OR MORE TOUCHDOWNS
Tom Brady threw two touchdowns against the Colts. It was Brady's 11th game in 2011 with two or more touchdowns. 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.

WELKER SETS PERSONAL BEST WITH HIS SEVENTH 100-YARD GAME OF THE YEAR
Wes Welker registered his 22nd career 100-yard game and his seventh of the 2011 season after finishing with 110 yards on 11 catches against Indianapolis. Welker's seven 100-yard games are a single-season career best. His previous best was six 100-yard games in 2009. The Patriots record for most 100-yard receiving games in a season is nine by Randy Moss in 2007 and Stanley Morgan in 1986.

WELKER HAS 13th CAREER 10-PLUS RECEPTION GAME
Welker finished with 11 receptions for 110 yards. It his Welker's 13th career game with 10 or more receptions and his second such game of the 2011 season. He had a career-high 16 receptions at Buffalo on Sept. 25.

WELKER'S 1,253 RECEIVING YARDS IN 2011 ARE FIFTH HIGHEST TOTAL IN TEAM HISTORY
Wes Welker increased his 2011 receiving yardage total to 1,253 yards, a total that already ranks as the fifth highest single-season total in team history. Welker had a personal season-best of 1,348 receiving yards in 2009, a total that ranks fourth in team history. He is on pace to finish with 1,671 yards and break the New England record set by Randy Moss in 2007 with 1,493 receiving yards. Welker needs 96 more receiving yards to set a new single season career-high.

WELKER MOVES PAST IRVING FRYAR INTO THIRD PLACE
Welker (5,789 receiving yards with the Patriots) moved past Irving Fryar (5,726) into third place on the Patriots' all-time list, behind, Stanley Morgan (10,352) and Troy Brown (6,366). Welker moved past Fryar on a 17-yard reception in the second quarter against the Colts.

GRONKOWSKI SCORES IN FIFTH STRAIGHT REGULAR SEASON GAME TO TIE TEAM MARK
Rob Gronkowski tied a Patriots record for consecutive games with a receiving touchdown by catching a touchdown in his fifth straight regular season game with an 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It is his second time with a touchdown catch in a five-game stretch. Randy Moss, Daniel Graham, Michael Timpson and Jimmy Colclough also caught touchdown passes in five straight games. The Patriots record for most consecutive games with at least one touchdown (rushing or receiving) is seven by Curtis Martin.

PATRIOTS TIGHT ENDS ARE TOUCHDOWN MACHINES
Rob Gronkowski has 13 touchdowns in 2011, while Aaron Hernandez has five. The tandem has totaled 18 touchdown receptions through 12 games this season, comprising more than half of Tom Brady's total of 30 scoring tosses.

GRONKOWSKI SETS MARK FOR MOST OVERALL TOUCHDOWNS BY A TIGHT END; TIES ALL-TIME TIGHT END TOUCHDOWN RECEPTION MARK
Rob Gronkowski added his 12th and 13th touchdown receptions of the season with an 11-yard score in the second quarter and a 21-yard touchdown in the third quarter to tie the NFL record for most touchdown receptions by a tight end. Vernon Davis (SF in 2009) and Antonio Gates (SD in 2004) also had 13 touchdown catches in a season. Including Gronkowski's 2-yard touchdown on a lateral in the third quarter (his third score of the day), Gronkowski has 14 total touchdowns this season – the highest number of combined touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history.

GRONKOWSKI BECOMES FIRST PATRIOTS TIGHT END TO RECORD A RUSHING TOUCHDOWN
Rob Gronkowski scored a 2-yard touchdown on a lateral from Tom Brady in the third quarter, becoming the first tight end in Patriots history to score a rushing touchdown. Gronkowski is the first NFL tight end to score a rushing touchdown since Tennessee's Bo Scaife had a 31-yard scoring run against Baltimore on Nov. 12, 2006.

GRONKOWSKI ADDS TO TEAM MARK FOR TOUCHDOWN RECEPTIONS BY A TIGHT END
Gronkowski set the Patriots record for most touchdowns by a tight end with 10 as a rookie in 2010 and broke that record with his 11th touchdown on a 24-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter at Philadelphia. Against the Colts, Gronkowski added two more touchdown receptions to his team record.

GRONKOWSKI LEADS ALL TIGHT ENDS IN TOUCHDOWNS SINCE 2010
Rob Gronkowski has 23 touchdowns since the start of the 2010 season, the most among all NFL tight ends during that time.

Most Touchdowns by a Tight End Since 2010
Player        Touchdowns
Rob Gronkowski    23
Jason Witten    14*
Antonio Gates    14*
Tony Gonzalez    13
Jimmy Graham    13*
* - Not including 4:00 games or later on 12/4/11

GRONKOWSKI THIRD ON PATRIOTS LIST FOR TOUCHDOWNS BY A TIGHT END
Gronkowski is third on the Patriots all-time touchdown list by a tight end with 23, behind Ben Coates (50) and Russ Francis (28).

GRONKOWSKI SCORES THREE TIMES, INCLDUING HIS FIRST CAREER RUSHING TD
Gronkowski scored three times against the Colts with two receiving touchdowns and his first rushing touchdown. It is his seventh game overall with two or more touchdowns and his fifth two-touchdown game of the 2011 season. It is his second three-touchdown game of his career. He had a career high three touchdown receptions at Pittsburgh (11/14/10). His other two touchdown games of 2011 were vs. San Diego (9/18), at Buffalo (9/25), at the NY Jets (11/13) and vs. Kansas City (11/21).

GRONKOWSKI'S THREE TDS IN A SINGLE GAME ARE TIED FOR SECOND MOST IN TEAM HISTORY
Gronkowski's three-touchdown performance is the 25th time in team history a Patriots player has scored three touchdowns in a game. Randy Moss set the franchise record with four touchdowns at Buffalo on Nov. 18, 2007.

GRONKOWSKI ON PACE TO SET PATRIOTS TIGHT END RECEIVING YARD RECORD
Rob Gronkowski has 928 receiving yards on 65 receptions and is on pace to finish with 87 receptions for 1,237 yards. The Patriots record for most receiving yards by a tight end is Ben Coates with 1,174 in 1994. The Patriots record for most receptions by a tight end is 96 by Coates in 1994. The NFL record for most yards by a tight end is 1,290 by Kellen Winslow in 1980 with San Diego. Gronkowski's pace would be fourth all-time by a tight end.

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN PASS CONTINUES FOR BRADY
Tom Brady has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 28 straight regular season games, extending his record with an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Rob Gronkowski 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 12 games in 2011. The old team record was 19 games, also set by Brady. The NFL record is 47 set by Johnny Unitas (1956-7), followed by Drew Brees with 38 (prior to tonight' s game) and Brett Favre with 36.

BRADY ON PACE TO SET ALL-TIME PASSING NUMBERS
After throwing for 289 yards against the Colts and 3,916 yards through 12 games this year, Tom Brady is on pace to finish the season with 5,221 passing yards. Only two NFL players have thrown for 5,000 or more yards in a season with Dan Marino's NFL record 5,084 in 1984 and Drew Brees' 5,069 in 2008. The most yards Brady has ever thrown in a season is 4,806 in 2007.

BRADY ON PACE FOR SECOND CAREER 40 TOUCHDOWN SEASON
Brady has 30 touchdown passes through 12 games and is on pace for 40 touchdown passes. If Brady reaches 40 touchdowns he will be just the second player in NFL history to have two seasons with 40 or more touchdown throws. Dan Marino had 48 touchdowns in 1984 and 44 in 1986.

WELKER IS STREAKING
Wes Welker extended his streak to 73 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 90 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 77 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.

PATRIOTS WIN WHEN GREEN-ELLIS SCORES
BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first half. The Patriots are now 20-1 (.952) when Green-Ellis has a rushing touchdown in a game. The only Patriots loss was a 2008 game at Indianapolis.

PATRIOTS SCORING STREAK
The Patriots are averaging 35 points over their last four games, totaling 140 points over that span. During their current four-game winning streak, New England has scored 37 points against the N.Y. Jets (11/13), 34 points against Kansas City (11/21), 38 points against Philadelphia (11/27) and 31 points against Indianapolis (12/4).

HOME RECORD IN DECEMBER SINCE 2002
The Patriots improved to 19-1 all-time in the month of December at Gillette Stadium, a streak that dates back to when the facility opened in 2002. New England has won 18 straight home games in December and has not lost a December home game since dropping a 30-17 decision to the New York Jets on Dec. 22, 2002.

NFL'S TOP DECEMBER RECORD SINCE 2001
The Patriots have an NFL-best 38-5 record in the month of December since the 2001 season, including a 1-0 record in 2011. New England has won eight straight December games overall.

LB JEROD MAYO REGISTERS FIRST NFL INTERCEPTION
LB Jerod Mayo registered his first NFL interception when he picked off Indianapolis QB Dan Orlovsky in the fourth quarter.

NICK MCDONALD MAKES NFL DEBUT WITH FIRST STARTING ASSIGNMENT
Nick McDonald made his NFL debut when he started at center. McDonald was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Saturday. He originally signed with Green Bay as a rookie free agent in 2010 and made the 53-man roster but was inactive for all 16 games and all four postseason games. He joined the New England practice squad after being released by Green Bay in September.

MATTHEW SLATER MAKES FIRST NFL START AT SAFETY
Special Teams captain Matthew Slater made his first ever NFL start when he lined up at safety. Slater was credited with seven total tackles and one forced fumble. Matthew Slater forced Indianapolis running back Delone Carter to fumble in the third quarter and Kyle Arrington recovered the loose ball to give the Patriots possession at their own 34-yard line.

NEWLY ACQUIRED DB NATE JONES STARTS
Nate Jones, who was signed to the team earlier in the week, made his New England debut with a start at safety.

LB NIKO KOUTOUVIDES MAKES FIRST START SINCE HIS ROOKIE SEASON
LB Niko Koutouvides made his third NFL start and his first since starting two games as a rookie in 2004 with Seattle.

LB ROB NINKOVICH ADDS A 4-YARD SACK FOR A CAREER HIGH 4.5
Rob Ninkovich had a 4-yard sack in the second quarter. He now has a career-best 4.5 in 2011. He had 4.0 sacks in 2010 with the Patriots.

DEFENSIVE QUICK HITS

  • Vince Wilfork sacked Dan Orlovsky for a 7-yard loss in the first quarter, raising his season total to 2.5 sacks.
  • Andre Carter dropped Joseph Addai for a 1-yard loss in the first quarter.
  • Rob Ninkovich and Vince Wilfork combined to stuff Donald Brown for a 1-yard loss in the first quarter.
  • Rob Ninkovich sacked Dan Orlovsky for an 8-yard loss on third-and-goal in the second quarter, forcing the Colts to settle for a field goal that tied the game at three.
  • The Patriots defense had a goal-line stand to hold the Colts to a second-quarter field goal after Indianapolis had a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. On first down on the first play of the second quarter, Vince Wilfork and Tracy White stuffed Joseph Addai for no gain. On second down, Jerod Mayo tipped a Dan Orlovsky pass intended for Jacob Tamme in the end zone, forcing an incompletion. On third down, Rob Ninkovich sacked Orlovsky for an 8-yard loss.
  • Nate Jones broke up a Dan Orlovsky pass on third-and-two in the second quarter, forcing an Indianapolis punt on the next play.

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