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Patriots return home to host Dolphins

Posted Dec 20, 2011

Following a two-game road trip at Washington and at Denver, the AFC East Champion New England Patriots return home for the Holidays to host their final two games of the season against Miami and Buffalo. New England will aim to extend their six-game winning streak this week.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (11-3) vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-9)
Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.
Gillette Stadium (68,756)

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Following a two-game road trip at Washington and at Denver, the AFC East Champion New England Patriots return home for the Holidays to host their final two games of the season against Miami and Buffalo. New England will aim to extend their six-game winning streak this week.

New England has now qualified for the playoffs 19 times in its 52-year history. The Patriots have earned 13 playoff berths in the 18 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won 11 AFC East crowns under Kraft's leadership. New England has won 14 division crowns overall (13 AFC East Crowns) and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players' strike. The Patriots are guaranteed to host their 14th playoff home playoff game in 18 years. In the 34 year prior to Kraft's ownership, the Patriots hosted just one playoff game.

The Patriots have won the AFC East three straight years, in 8 of the last 9 years, in 9 of the last 11 years and in 11 of the last 16 years.

Since 2001, the Patriots have qualified for the playoffs in every season expect 2002 and 2008. In 2002, the Patriots and Jets both finished with a 9-7 overall record and a 4-2 divisional record, but the Jets claimed the division title by virtue of having a better record against common opponents. In 2008, the Patriots and Dolphins both finished with an 11-5 overall record and a 4-2 divisional record, but Miami qualified for the playoffs due to a better conference record (8-4 to 7-5).

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play duties with Dan Fouts providing color. The game will be produced by Bob Mansbach and directed by Suzanne Smith.

NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Sports USA Radio Network. Eli Gold and Ross Tucker will call the game.

RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 37 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 35th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Scott Zolak will provide sideline analysis.

PATRIOTS WIN 10 FOR THE NINTH STRAIGHT YEAR
New England's 34-27 win over Washington (12/11) was the Patriots' 10th win in 2011. New England has now won 10 or more games 10 times in the last 11 seasons and for the ninth straight season. New England has reached at least 10 regularseason wins for the ninth consecutive season, joining San Francisco (16) and Indianapolis (9) as the only teams to accomplish the feat.

NFL’S BEST AT HOME
Since their state-of-the-art facility opened at the beginning of the 2002 season, the Patriots own the NFL's best record at home overall. The Patriots own an overall record of 65-13 (.833) at Gillette Stadium in regular season games and a 72-15 record including playoffs.


SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins will square off for the 93rd time, including three playoff games, in their 46th year as division foes. The Dolphins and Patriots began playing twice a year during the regular season in 1967.

The Patriots have won seven of the last nine games against Miami, including a the 2011 season-opener when the Patriots beat Miami, 38-24, on Monday Night Football. The Patriots will be looking for their second straight series sweep of Miami and their eighth sweep overall against the Dolphins.

The Patriots have had the upper hand at home against Miami, as they hold a 27-17 record in games played in New England in the regularseason, including a 7-2 record at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are 14- 33 all-time in Miami.

The two have played three times in the postseason with New England holding a 2-1 advantage.

SERIES TRENDS
Miami 50, New England 42
(Including New England 2, Miami 1 in Playoffs)
*-A Miami home game was played in Tampa in 1969

  • Record in New England, 28-17 (Incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
  • Record in Foxborough, 26-15 (1-0)
  • Record in Boston, 2-2
  • Record in Miami, 14-33 (Incl. 1-1 in playoffs)
  • Record at Dolphins / Pro Player / Joe Robbie/ Sun Life, 10-15
  • Record at Orange Bowl, 3-18 (1-1)
  • Record in Tampa*, 1-0
  • Seasonal Sweeps, Patriots 7, Dolphins 13
  • Seasonal Splits, 23 (Most recent 2009)
  • Bill Belichick vs. Miami, 14-11 (14-9 with New England)

PATRIOTS-DOLPHINS QUICK HITS
  • Since Bill Belichick became Patriots head coach in 2000, New England is 14-9 (.609) against the Miami Dolphins. Since 2001, the Patriots are 51-15 (.773) against AFC East opponents. More than half of those losses (9) have come to Miami. The Patriots are 14-7 against the Dolphins over that span and are 16-6 against the New York Jets and 19-2 against the Buffalo Bills in that time.
  • The Patriots have not been swept in their season series with a divisional opponent since 2000, when they lost both games to Miami and also to the New York Jets.
  • In eight career games against the Dolphins, Wes Welker has caught 63 passes for 843 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 7.9 catches and 105 receiving yards per game against his former club. Those averages are the best against any team Welker has faced more than once in his career. He also has four 100-yard games against Miami with a 138-yard game at Miami (10/21/07), a 120-yard game at Miami (11/23/08), a 10-catch 167-yard game in 2009 at Miami (12/06/09) and eight receptions for 160 yards, including a 99- yard touchdown at Miami (9/12) in the 2011 season-opener.

PASSING PERFORMANCES
Tom Brady is scheduled to start at quarterback against Miami for the 20th time and has compiled a 13-6 record in his previous 18 starts against the Dolphins. Brady is 47-12 in his career as a starter in the regular-season against AFC East opponents, with six of the 12 losses coming to the Dolphins. One of those losses was in the final game of the 2005 season when Brady was pulled after the first quarter.

BRADY AGAINST THE AFC EAST
As a starter against the AFC East, Tom Brady owns a 47-12 (.797) record. He is 17-2 against Buffalo, 15-4 against the New York Jets, 13-6 against Miami and was 2-0 against Indianapolis when they were in the AFC East (2001 season).


CONNECTIONS

New England Ties
  • Dolphins Wide Receivers coach Steve Bush attended Southern Connecticut State and has many New England ties: Graduate Assistant at Southern Connecticut State (1982-83), Defensive Coordinator/Secondary coach at Springfield College (1984-85), Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers at University of New Haven (1986-87), Defensive Coordinator/Secondary at Boston University (1988-89), and Head Coach of Longmeadow High School (1990-92).
  • Dolphins Offensive Line coach Dave DeGuglielmo grew up in Lexington, Mass. and attended Boston University (1987-90). DeGuglielmo served as the Graduate Assistant Offensive Line coach at Boston College (1991-92) before switching to Boston University for four seasons (Offensive Line, 1993-95 and Assistant Head Coach, 1996). Furthermore, DeGuglielmo was the Offensive Line Coach at the University of Connecticut (1997-98).
  • Dolphins Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Dave Puloka grew up in Arlington, Mass. where he attended high school. Puloka attended Holy Cross College from 1997-00.
  • Dolphins Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi attended the University of Rhode Island from 1988-92. Rizzi has multiple coaching ties to the region: Special Teams/Defensive Line (1994-96) and Defensive Coordinator (1997) at the University of New Haven, Special Teams/Linebackers Coach (1998) at Northeastern University, and Head Coach (2008) at the University of Rhode Island.
  • Dolphins Director of Player Personnel Brian Gaine attended the University of Maine (1991-95) and played tight end for the Black Bears.
  • Dolphins Director of College Scouting Chris Grier is a native of Holliston, Mass. and attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst before graduating in 1994. He is the son of former Patriots' Vice President of Player Personnel Bobby Grier.
  • Dolphins Assistant Director of Pro Scouting Chris Shea is a native of Belmont, Mass and went to Boston College. Additionally, Shea acted as the Football Recruiting Assistant at Boston College (1998-00) and Assistant Offensive Line Coach for Harvard University (1997-98).

Miami, Fla. Ties
  • Patriots NT Vince Wilfork attended the University of Miami and is a Boynton Beach, Fla. Native.
  • WR Chad Ochocinco attended Miami Beach High School and is a native of Miami, Fla.

Former Patriots
  • Dolphins Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll spent seven seasons on the New England coaching staff. He served as the team's Defensive Assistant (2000-01) and as their Wide Receivers coach (2002-06).
  • Dolphins Director of College Scouting Chris Grier, a native of Holliston, Mass. was an intern with the Patriots in 1994 and joined the team as a regional scout on a full-time basis the following year.
  • Dolphins TE Jeron Mastrud spent one day, April 26 2010, as a member of the New England Patriots before being cut the following day.
  • Dolphins Pass Rush Coach Bryan Cox played linebacker for the Patriots in 2001; he was a part of the Super Bowl XXXVI winning team.
  • Miami TE Will Yeatman originally was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent this past summer.

Former Dolphins
  • WR Wes Welker played for the Miami Dolphins from 2004- 06.
  • Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich played for the Dolphins in 2007.
  • Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien was the Assistant to the Head Coach/Coordinator of Football Operations for the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06.
  • Patriots Director of Pro Personnel Jason Licht began his NFL career with the Dolphins and worked with the organization from 1995-96.
  • OG Donald Thomas played with Miami from 2008-10.

Former Teammates
  • Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich and Dolphins RB Reggie Bush were teammates when they played for the New Orleans Saints in 2006.
  • Patriots OL Dan Connnolly and Dolphins DE Tony McDaniel were members of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006.
  • Dolphins LB Jason Taylor was NFL teammates with a number of Patriot players: WR Wes Welker, LB Rob Ninkovich (Dolphins 2007), DE Andre Carter (Redskins 2008), S James Ihedigbo, and DE Shaun Ellis (Jets, 2010).
  • Patriots WR Wes Welker and LB Rob Ninkovich were teammates with Dolphins C Joe Berger in Miami from 2005- 06.
  • Patriots G Dan Connolly spent the 2006 season in Jacksonville with Dolphins DT Tony McDaniel.
  • Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich spent parts of the 2006 and 2008 seasons with LB Marvin Mitchell in New Orleans.
  • Patriots DB Antwaun Molden and DE Mark Anderson played with RB Steve Slaton in Houston. Molden played with Slaton from 2008-10 and Anderson played with Slaton during the 2010 season.
  • LB Tracy White teamed up with S Tyrone Culver in Green Bay from 2006-07.
  • Patriots DE Shaun Ellis, S James Ihedigbo, and RB Danny Woodhead all played with Dolphins T Nate Garner during the 2008 season with the New York Jets.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

BY THE NUMBERS

2
The number of interceptions by Vince Wilfork in 2011. Anthony Pleasant (2001) is the only other Patriots defensive lineman to record two interceptions in the same season.

2
The number of punts returned by Julian Edelman for touchdowns during his career, the fourth Patriots' player with two or more punt returns for a touchdown.

3
The number of NFL players with four 100-reception seasons after Wes Welker reached 100 receptions in 2011 to join Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison.

7
The number of interceptions by Kyle Arrington to put him in a three-way tie for the NFL lead in 2011.

8
The number of times in NFL history a player reached 1,000 yards in the ninth game of the season after Wes Welker reached the milestone.

9
The number of AFC East title by the Patriots since the 2000 season.

10.0
The number of sacks by Andre Carter in 2011 for his fourth career 10-plus sack season.

15
The number of touchdown catches by TE Rob Gronkowski, the most in NFL history by a tight end in a single season.

16
The number of total touchdown by TE Rob Gronkowski in 2011 (15 rec. and 1 rush.) the highest number of combined touchdowns by a tight end in NFL history.

25
The number of touchdown receptions by Rob Gronkowski since 2010, the most among all NFL tight ends.

20
The number of 10-tackle games by LB Jerod Mayo after he finished with a team-high 11 total tackles vs. Kansas City (11/21/11).

34
The number of receiving yards that Gronkowski (1,141) needs to set the franchise record for most receiving yards by a tight end. Ben Coates has the record with 1,174 yards in 1994.

114
The number of receiving yards that Wes Welker (1,380) needs in 2011 to set the franchise record. Randy Moss had 1,493 yards in 2007.

150
The number of receiving yards that Gronkowski needs to set the all-time mark for a tight end in a single season. Kellen Winslow has the record with 1,290 yard sin 1980.

TOM BRADY BY THE NUMBERS

1
Tom Brady became the first player to follow a 500-yard performance with a 400-yard performance after Brady had backto- back games with 517 yards and 423 yards.

2
Brady joins Drew Brees (2011) as the only players to reach 3,000 yards in the first nine games of the season. Brady (3,032) had the most yards ever through the first nine games of the year.

4
The number of times that Brady has thrown a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of the game to turn a deficit into a Patriots win after a final-minute touchdown vs. Dallas (10/16), including the postseason.

4
The number of seasons that Brady has reached 4,000 passing yards. His four 4,000 yard seasons are tied with Warren Moon and Philip Rivers for the fifth most in NFL history.

6
Brady became the sixth NFL quarterback in NFL history to have 30 or more touchdowns passes in at least three seasons after reaching 30 vs. Indianapolis (12/4).

11
Tom Brady was the 11th quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 or more yards after he passed Brady for 517 in the 2011 opener at Miami.

19
The number of times Tom Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He earned the award in each of the first two weeks of the 2011 season.

43
The number of regular season 300-yard passing games by Tom Brady, a team record.

95
The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 80-15 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.

122
The number of wins that Brady has as a starting quarterback. He reached the 100-win milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among all quarterbacks in the modern era.

1,327
The number of passing yards Brady had in the first three games (517, 423 and 387) of 2011. Brady's 1,327 yards set the NFL mark for the most passing yards ever in a three-game stretch.

THE KRAFT ERA

3
The number of Super Bowl championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Only Denver (2; 1997 and 1998) and Pittsburgh (2; 2005 and 2008) have won multiple Super Bowl titles since 1994.

5
The number of conference championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh is second with three conference titles since 1994.

11
The number of division championships won by the Patriots since Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

13
The number of playoff seasons earned by the Patriots in the 18 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team.

17
The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh ranks second with 15 playoff wins over that span.

26
The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is tied with Pittsburgh for the most playoff games during that time period.

THE BELICHICK ERA

4
Bill Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club (Chuck Noll 4, Joe Gibbs 3 and Bill Walsh 3). Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in the post-1993 salary cap era and the only one to ever win three in four years.

188
Bill Belichick has 188 career victories as a head coach, including playoff games. Belichick moved past Bill Parcells into sole possession of ninth place in all-time coaching victories. Chuck Knox is in 8th place with 193 wins.

PATRIOTS DEDICATE 2011 SEASON TO MYRA KRAFT
The Patriots have dedicated the 2011 season to the loving memory of Myra Kraft, who passed away on July 20 after a courageous battle with cancer. Every Patriots player and coach are honoring Myra's memory by wearing a patch with her initials on it in recognition of her lifelong contributions to the local and global philanthropic community and her influence on the charitable mission of the entire Patriots organization. The patch will be worn on the left chest of every player throughout the season.

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