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Game Notes: Patriots vs. Ravens

Posted Jan 22, 2012

The following are game notes from the New England Patriots AFC Championship game vs. the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, January 22, 2012.

PATRIOTS ADVANCE TO SEVENTH SUPER BOWL OVERALL; SIXTH OF THE KRAFT ERA
With the win over Baltimore, New England has advanced to its seventh Super Bowl in franchise history, a total that ranks third in NFL history behind only Dallas and Pittsburgh (8 berths each). New England is 3-3 in its six previous Super Bowls. The Patriots' appearance in Super Bowl XLVI will be its sixth Super Bowl appearance since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a total that is the most in the league over that span (Pittsburgh, 4). Kraft is the first owner in NFL history to bring his team to six or more Super Bowls.

ALL-TIME SUPER BOWL BERTHS
8    Dallas
8    Pittsburgh
7    New England
6    Denver
5    Green Bay San Francisco, Oakland, Washington, Buffalo

PATRIOTS WIN 19th PLAYOFF GAME OF ROBERT KRAFT'S OWNERSHIP
The Patriots won their 19th playoff game since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England's 19 playoff victories over that span are the most in the NFL (Pittsburgh, 17). New England also leads the league in total victories (212), Super Bowl titles (3), conference championships (6), and division championships (11) since Kraft purchased the team.

PATRIOTS IMPROVE TO A 4-0 RECORD IN HOME AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
With today's 23-20 win over the Ravens, the Patriots are now 4-0 in home AFC Championship Games and 7-1 overall.

KRAFT'S SIX CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE MOST OF ANY NFL OWNER IN SUPER BOWL ERA
The 2011 AFC Championship was the sixth conference championship for Robert Kraft as Patriots owner. Kraft is the first NFL owner to bring his team to six Super Bowls and his six conference championships are the most of any NFL owner in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966). Seven NFL owners brought their teams to five Super Bowls, but Kraft is the first NFL owner to lead his team to six Super Bowl appearances.

SUPER COMBINATION
New England head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady won their fifth conference championship together, becoming the first head coach and quarterback tandem to win five conference titles in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966). Three other coach-quarterback duos have qualified for four Super Bowls – Dallas's Tom Landry and Roger Staubach; Buffalo's Marv Levy and Jim Kelly; and Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw.

BELICHICK'S FIVE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE TIED FOR SECOND MOST OF ANY NFL HEAD COACH IN SUPER BOWL ERA
The 2011 AFC Championship was Bill Belichick's fifth conference championship as a head coach. Belichick's five conference titles are tied with Tom Landry's total for the second most in NFL history during the Super Bowl Era (since 1966). The only head coach to bring his team to the Super Bowl more times than Belichick is Don Shula (6).

BRADY'S FIVE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE TIED FOR MOST OF ANY NFL STARTING QUARTERBACK IN SUPER BOWL ERA
The 2011 AFC Championship was Tom Brady's fifth conference title as a starting quarterback, tying John Elway for the most conference titles in NFL history during the Super Bowl Era (since 1966). Brady has started 14 or more games in 10 different NFL seasons (2001-07, 09-11), and has helped to lead his team to AFC Championships in five of those 10 seasons.

HEAD OF THE CLASS
Bill Belichick improved his career playoff record to 17-6 (.739). Belichick's 17 career playoff wins tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs for the third highest total by any head coach in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers Tom Landry (20), and Don Shula (19). Belichick's career playoff winning percentage of .739 is the second-highest playoff winning percentage among NFL head coaches, trailing only Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900).

TOM BRADY WINS 16th CAREER POSTSEASON GAME
Tom Brady won his 16th career postseason game to improve to a 16-5 overall postseason record and tie Joe Montana for the NFL record for most playoff victories by a starting quarterback. Brady's .762 winning percentage in the postseason is the best postseason winning percentage by a starting quarterback (minimum of 15 starts). Brady is now 10-2 in home postseason games.

BRADY MOVES PAST JOHN ELWAY FOR FOURTH IN CAREER POSTSEASON PASSING YARDS
Tom Brady threw for 239 yards against Baltimore and moved past John Elway into fourth place on the all-time postseason passing list. Brady finished the game with 5,003 total passing yards in his 21 career playoff games. Brady joins Brett Favre, Joe Montana, and Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history to pass for 5,000 or more yards in postseason play. Additionally, Brady completed 22 passes today against Baltimore, raising his career postseason completion total to 472 completions, a total that ranks second in NFL history behind only Brett Favre (481).

WELKER IS POSTSEASON RECEIVING MACHINE
Wes Welker had six receptions for 53 yards, extending his streak of at least six catches in each of his six postseason games with the Patriots. Welker raised his career playoff total to 46 receptions in just six career playoff games. Welker is averaging 7.7 receptions per game in the playoffs. Welker had a playoff career high of 11 receptions in Super Bowl XLII, tied with Deion Branch, Jerry Rice and Dan Ross for a Super Bowl record. Welker's 46 receptions rank fourth in Patriots playoff history.

BRANCH HAS 51 RECEPTIONS IN THE POSTSEASON WITH PATRIOTS, TIED FOR SECOND IN TEAM HISTORY
Deion Branch had two receptions against Baltimore, raising his career playoff total with the Patriots to 51 receptions. Branch's 51 catches are tied with Kevin Faulk for second in team playoff history, trailing only Troy Brown (58).

GREEN-ELLIS SCORES FIRST POSTSEASON TOUCHDOWN
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored his first postseason touchdown on a 7-yard run in the second quarter against Baltimore. Green-Ellis has 24 touchdowns in the regular-season since 2010, tied with LeSean McCoy (Philadlephia) and Adrian Peterson (Minnesota) for second behind Arian Foster (Houston) who has 26. The Patriots are 22-1 (.957) overall in the regular season when Green-Ellis has a rushing touchdown in a game, and are now 1-0 in such playoff games.

SPIKES FIRST POSTSEASON INTERCEPTION; SECOND OF HIS CAREER
Brandon Spikes had his second career interception and first of the postseason when he picked off a Joe Flacco pass in the third quarter. Spikes had his first career interception in a 45-3 win vs. New York Jets on Dec. 6, 2010.

QUICK HITS
  • Mark Anderson sacked Joe Flacco for a 7-yard loss on third-and-3 in the first quarter, finishing off a three-and-out for the Patriots defense and forcing a Ravens punt. Anderson tied for the team lead with 10.0 sacks in the 2011 regular season.
  • James Ihedigbo sacked Joe Flacco for a 12-yard loss on third-and-8 from the Patriots' 9-yard line in the third quarter. The play helped to force Baltimore to settle for a field goal on the next play that raised the Ravens' lead to 20-16.

BIG PLAYS FOR BIG VINCE
  • Vince Wilfork sacked Joe Flacco for a 5-yard loss on third-and-15 in the first quarter, finishing off a three-and-out for the Patriots defense. On first down, Wilfork had dragged down Ricky Williams for a 5-yard loss on a first-down rushing play in the first quarter. The sack of Flacco raised Wilfork's 2011 playoff total to 2.5 sacks, including a 1.5-sack performance last week against Denver. Wilfork had a career-high 3.5 sacks in the 2011 regular season.
  • Vince Wilfork stopped Ray Rice for a 3-yard loss on third-and-three in the fourth quarter, setting up a fourth-and-six. On fourth-and-six, Wilfork's pressure on Joe Flacco caused an incompletion that gave the Patriots the ball back with a 23-20 lead and 2:46 left in the game.

THREE FIELD GOALS FOR GOSTKOWSKI
Stephen Gostkowski was a perfect three-for-three on field goals, raising his franchise-best playoff field goal percentage to 86.7 percent (13 field goals on 15 attempts). In regular season play, Gostkowski has a franchise-best career field goal percentage of 84.4 percent (141-for-167).

BRADY GIVES PATRIOTS THE LEAD WITH A TD PLUNGE
Tom Brady scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a 23-20 lead. The rushing touchdown was the third of Brady's playoff career. His three rushing scores are tied with Lawrence Maroney for the third highest rushing touchdown total in Patriots playoff history. Both of Brady's playoff rushing touchdowns prior to today were also in the fourth quarter. His first was a 6-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter of the 2001 Divisional Playoffs against Oakland (1/19/02) that cut the Raiders' lead to 13-10. His second was a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter of the 2004 Divisional Playoffs against Indianapolis (1/16/05) that increased the Patriots' lead to 20-3.

PATRIOTS AT HOME IN THE PLAYOFFS
The Patriots are now 13-3 at home in the playoffs in their history. Fifteen of the franchise's 16 home playoff games have taken place since Robert Kraft purchased the team 17 years ago.

ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RESULTS
The Patriots have compiled a 23-15 record in their 38 playoff games and their .605 playoff winning percentage is the fourth best in NFL history among teams that have played at least 10 playoff games. New England has qualified for seven Super Bowls (XX, XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII, and XLVI) and one AFL Championship Game in 1963.

PATRIOTS ARE MOST FREQUENT SUPER BOWL TEAM OVER LAST 30, 25, 20, 15, and 10 YEARS
The Patriots won their seventh conference championship since the 1985 season, and have won more conference titles than any other team over the last 30 years (since 1982). Additionally, the Patriots' six conference titles over the last 25 years are two more than the next closest teams, and New England's six conference championships in the last 20 years are also more than any other team. New England also has more conference titles over the last 15 years (5) and over the last 10 years (4) than any other team. The Patriots' two conference titles in the last five years are tied with Pittsburgh for the most over that span.

BRADY LEADS SEVENTH CAREER FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACK IN THE PLAYOFFS
Tom Brady led his seventh career fourth-quarter comeback in 22 career playoff games. New England trailed Baltimore 20-16 heading into the fourth quarter today, and the Patriots took a 23-20 lead on Brady's 1-yard fourth-down touchdown run with 11:29 remaining in the game. In addition to today's game, Brady also led fourth-quarter comebacks in the 2001 Divisional Playoffs against Oakland (trailing 13-3 heading into the fourth quarter of a 16-13 win); in Super Bowl XXXVI against St. Louis (tied 17-17 with 1:21 left in a 20-17 win); in the 2003 Divisional Playoffs against Tennessee (tied 14-14 heading into the fourth quarter of a 17-14 win); in Super Bowl XXXVIII against Carolina (tied 29-29 with 1:08 left in a 32-29 win); in Super Bowl XXXIX against Philadelphia (tied 14-14 heading into the fourth quarter of a 24-21 win); and at San Diego in the 2006 Divisional Playoffs at San Diego (trailing 13-21 with 8:35 left in the fourth quarter in a 24-21 win). Brady has a total of 34 career fourth-quarter comebacks to lead his team to victory following a fourth-quarter deficit or tie (six playoffs, 28 regular season).

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