Troy Brown made history Sunday night when he broke the Patriots career-receptions record (534) previously held by Stanley Morgan. Brown had five receptions in the game, bringing the new record to 538 career receptions for Brown who's never played for another NFL team. Brown said Monday that he hadn't yet spoken to Morgan about the record-breaking game, but said he intends to.
Entering the game, Brown already held Patriots records for most receptions in a season (101), receptions in a game (16), career punt returns (246), punt return yards in a career (2,570) and overall return yards in a career (4,420). He's also tied for most punts returned for touchdowns in a career (3) and in a season (2).
The new record is a big one for Brown, as it stood for nearly 22 years. Morgan broke Gino Cappelletti's then-record of 292 catches back in Nov. 11, 1984. Since Morgan set the record, the Patriots have had six different head coaches, moved into a new stadium, qualified for the playoffs 10 times; they've also won seven division titles, five conference titles and three Super Bowls. Brown said he saw Cappelletti yesterday before the game, though the two didn't talk about the record.
"I thought he was a great ball player himself, so he's one of the guys that's got my back," said Brown of Cappelletti. "I have a lot of respect for him."
Brown got the ball from the record-breaking catch, though he said he hasn't thought much about breaking the record or what he'll do with the ball.
"It happened in a game where we lost," said Brown on Monday. "There's nothing I'm really cheering about today. I'm in this thing, so if the team's not happy, I'm not happy. It's a disappointing loss for us and I'm disappointed. The result of the game overshadowed everything else. … It was another catch for me in another game, and we didn't win it."
If the loss wasn't enough to overshadow the historic day, Brown, who's widely known around the NFL for his classy, professional demeanor, was called for two penalties in the game.
The first penalty came on Brown's record-tying catch. He made the catch and was knocked out of bounds at the Patriots sideline. Jumping up, he tossed the ball back to the ball boy, but it hit a Colts defender and Brown was called for taunting.
"[The official] was standing there and the ball boy was standing right there calling for the ball. So I just flipped it to him, like I always do," said Brown, who couldn't remember ever being called for a personal foul, even in college or high school. "I guess the guy walked right in front of it, I guess. I mean I don't know. I still haven't seen it. I don't know if it hit him or not. I guess he walked right in front of it. And the player, he laughed about it once I got back on the field too, you know. And he said they got one on us too. I didn't say anything to him and he didn't say anything to me [during the play]. I guess the ball must have grazed him or hit him or something. I don't know I didn't see the play. That's what he called, so it was unfortunate. Next time I guess I'll walk over and hand it to him. There won't be any balls flying around there."
Brown said he understands the official was just doing his job and refused to bad-mouth anyone in the incident. He also admitted his second penalty of the game was a good call. He was popped for illegal use of hands to the face on a Colts tight end while playing in his only defensive play of the game. He was in on the Patriots nickel package.
"I just had that one snap [on defense] and got the penalty on that too, so it just wasn't going really well for me," said Brown. "I was just trying to keep him from catching the ball and get off the field on third down. But I got a foolish penalty. These things happen. My hand ended up in his facemask, so they made the call. It was a good by them. If you touch it, you know it's a penalty, so they made a good call on that one."
Every catch from here on out is just going to add to the new record Brown owns. He's had the Patriots second-most receptions this season, and will surely continue to be a big contributor on both offense and defense. Even though the Patriots lost to the Colts, it is a game that will go down in history for Brown and the Patriots.
"You always want to win all your games at home," Brown said. "We haven't done that so far. We're playing well on the road, so that's good, but we got to protect the house. That's what we've got to do. So that's a little disappointing. And they were AFC opponents, so that can put you behind the 8-ball a little bit too. But that's where we are right now, six-and-two and two AFC losses. We've just got to play one day at a time."
Brown said the only thing to do now is move on to the Jets, who the Patriots play in Gillette Stadium next Sunday afternoon.
"We've just got to get re-focused now and put this game behind us, and correct all the mistakes that we had in this game, and take some of the positive things we did and try to build on it. We need to look forward to next week. We're playing a totally different team next week. They're still fighting. They're still in the hunt. It's going to be another tough game, a division game. We've just got to forget about it and keep moving on."
Notes:The Patriots didn't have practice today, but came in to watch the film of yesterday's game against the Colts. … Coach Bill Belichick held his usual Monday press conference, calling Brown "a special player," but admitting that the record wasn't at the forefront of his mind right now either. … Belichick also said that running back Patrick Pass, who's reached the PUP deadline, will begin practicing this week. The Patriots then have a few weeks to decide whether to sign him to the active roster. … Safety Rodney Harrison injured his right arm early in Sunday's game, and did not return. There was no new word on his condition today. … There's no media access tomorrow, as usual. Be sure to check Patriots.com for the newest edition of Ask PFW, which will be posted tomorrow, as it is every Tuesday.