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Patriots Replay Wed Aug 05 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Game Notes: Patriots are the best in the first half since 2000

TEAM NOTES 

PATRIOTS ARE THE BEST IN THE FIRST HALF SINCE 2000
The New England Patriots are an NFL best 97-38 in the first half of the season since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000. New England closed out the first half of 2017 and head into the bye with a 6-2 record.

PATRIOTS START 6-2 OR BETTER FOR 16th TIME IN TEAM HISTORY
The Patriots are off to a 6-2 record or better for the 16th time in team history and for the fifth straight season. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have started the season with a 6-2 record or better 11 times. (1974, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017).

PATRIOTS RECORD FIRST SAFETY OF THE SEASON;PATS RECORD NFL'S FIRST SAFETY ON A PUNT RETURN SINCE 2003;PATRIOTS FIRST SPECIAL TEAMS SAFETY SINCE 1979
S Brandon King tackled Chargers PR Travis Benjamin in the end zone on a punt return for a safety in the second quarter. It was the Patriots first safety since DL Malcom Brown tackled Kenneth Dixon in the end zone for a safety vs. Baltimore on Dec. 12, 2016. In 2016, the Patriots had two safeties. LB Dont'a Hightower sacked QB Andy Dalton in the end zone for a safety vs. Cincinnati (10/16/16). The Patriots recorded the NFL's first safety on a punt return since the New Orleans Saints recorded a safety on a punt at Tennessee on Sept. 21, 2003. It was the Patriots first special teams safety since Dec. 9, 1979, when the Jets fumbled a snap on a punt out of the end zone.

PATRIOTS SCORE IN FINAL MINUTE OF THE HALF FOR SIXTH TIME IN 2017
The Patriots scored in the final minute of the half for the sixth time in in 2017, including the fifth straight game. 

FINAL MINUTE SCORING
13-yard TD pass from Tom Brady with 13 seconds to play at New Orleans (9/17/17)
58-yard field goal with no time remaining vs. Carolina (10/1/17)
23-yard field goal with 40 seconds to play at Tampa Bay (10/5/17)
2-yard TD pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski with 9 seconds play at NY Jets (10/15/17)
2-yard TD pass from Tom Brady to James White with 21 seconds to play vs. Atl. (10/22/17)
36-yard field goal with 24 seconds to play vs. LA Chargers (10/29/17)

PATRIOTS RUNNING BACKS ACCOUNT FOR 14 RECEPTIONS
The Patriots running backs accounted for 14 receptions with Rex Burkhead (7), James White (5), and Dion Lewis (2). Burkhead had seven receptions for 68 yards, and White had five receptions for 85 yards. 

INDIVIDUAL NOTES 

INCHING CLOSER TO PASSING LANDRY
Bill Belichick won his 269th overall game as a head coach and now needs one more wins to tie Tom Landry (270) for third place all-time, behind George Halas (324) and Don Shula (347). 

BRADY GOES OVER 300 YARDS FOR FIFTH TIME IN 2017
Tom Brady threw for over 300 yards for the fifth time in 2017 after throwing for 333 yards against the Chargers. Brady had five games of 300 or more yards in 2016. Brady's record is 11 games of 300 or more yards in 2011.It was his 81st 300-yard game. The Patriots are 67-14 when Brady throws for 300 yards.

BRADY HAS 30 COMPLETIONS IN FOUR GAMES IN 2017
Tom Brady completed 32 passes against the Chargers. It marks his fourth game in 2017 with 30 completions and his 34th game overall, which is third in NFL history. Brady had 30 completions at New Orleans, 32 completions vs. Carolina and 30 completions at Tampa Bay in addition to the Chargers game. 
Most games with 30 or more completions
Drew Brees 57 
Peyton Manning 39
Tom Brady 34
Brett Favre 25

BRADY ON PACE FOR SECOND 5,000-YARD SEASON
Tom Brady has 2,541 yards passing through the first eight games of the 2017 season and is on pace to finish with 5,082 yards. Brady owns one of the nine 5,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history and can join Drew Brees (5) as the only player with more than one 5,000-yard season. 

RB DION LEWIS HAS REGULAR SEASON HIGH WITH A 71-YD KICKOFF RETURN
RB Dion Lewis opened the second half with a 71-yard kickoff return. It is his longest in a regular season game. He scored on a 98-yard kickoff return in the AFC Divisional Playoff win vs. Houston on Jan. 14, 2017. His previous best in a regular season game was a 33-yarder vs. Arizona (11/13/11) and at Tampa Bay (12/9/12) while with Philadelphia. 

RB REX BURKHEAD SETS CAREER HIGHS
RB Rex Burkead sets career highs with seven receptions for 68 yards. His previous best in receiving yards was the 41 yards he had at New Orleans (9/17/17) and previous best in receptions was four twice in 2016 while with Cincinnati. 

JAMES WHITE ON HISTORIC PACE
RB James White had five receptions for 85 yards. He now has 43 receptions for the year and is on pace to finish the season with 86 receptions. Eight NFL running backs have had 90 or more receptions in a season. The Patriots record for most reception by a running back is 77 by Tony Collins in 1986. 

DB JONATHAN JONES RECORDS FIRST NFL INTERCEPTION
DB Jonathan Jones intercepted Chargers QB Philip Rivers with one second to play and the Chargers on the New England 23-yard line to preserve the 21-13 victory. It marks his first NFL interception. 

BRADY AND GRONK CONNECTIONS
TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady have now connected on 72 touchdown passes after a two-yard score in the second quarter, the second most touchdown connections between a quarterback and tight end in NFL history and tied for the fifth-most connections all-time. 

GRONK MOVES INTO PATRIOTS TOP FIVE FOR SCRING
TE Rob Gronkowksi scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and moved past Tony Franklin into fifth place on the Patriots all-time list with 444 total points.

GRONKOWSKI NEARING TOP 10
TE Rob Gronkowski had 57 yards and pushed his career total to 6,604 to move past Heath Miller (6,569) into 11th place all time for NFL tight ends.

GRONKOWSKI ON PACE FOR FOURTH 1,000-YARD SEASON
TE Rob Gronkowski now has 509 receiving yards and is on pace to finish the year with 1,018 yards. It would be his fourth 1,000-yard season and he would join Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten as the only NFL tight ends with four 1,000 yard seasons.

LINEUP NOTES

LB ELANDON ROBERTS RETURNS TO ACTION
LB Elandon Roberts returned to action after missing a gem due to injury and started at linebacker. He finished with six total tackles. 

DL ALAN BRANCH MAKES SECOND START OF THE SEASON
DL Alan Branch made his second start of the NFL season and his first since the season-opener vs. Kansas City on Sept. 7

LB TREVOR REILLY MADE HIS DEBUT IN A PATRIOTS UNIFORM
LB Trevor Reilly made his debut in a Patriots uniform after being signed from the practice squad early in the week. He saw action on special teams and on defense.

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