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Game Notes: Patriots at Bears

With Sunday's 36-7 win over the Chicago Bears the Patriots clinched a playoff spot for 12th time in Robert Kraft's 17 years of ownership. The following are game notes from the Patriots game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, December 12, 2010.


Patriots WR Deion Branch celebrating a touchdown. AP Photo.

PATRIOTS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT FOR 12TH TIME IN KRAFT'S 17 YEARS OF OWNERSHIPNew England has now qualified for the playoffs 18 times in its 51-year history. The Patriots have earned 12 playoff berths in the 17 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 12 division 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 played the Bears under snowy conditions and improved to a 11-0 record under head coach Bill Belichick when playing in the snow. In the last three games played in the snow, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 142-14.

GRONKOWSKI SCORES SEVENTH TOUCHDOWN OF THE SEASONPatriots rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski caught his seventh touchdown reception of the season on a 7-yard pass from QB Tom Brady in the first quarter. Gronkowski is chasing down WR Jim Colclough and WR Randy Vataha for the Patriots rookie receiving touchdown record of 9 touchdowns. Gronkowski ranks in the top five for total touchdowns among all Patriots rookies. He ranks third in NFL history for touchdowns by a rookie tight end.
Patriots Rookie Touchdowns Overall

*Ben Coates 1996 9
Ben Coates 1997 8
Ben Coates 1993 8
Russ Francis 1980 8
Rob Gronkowski 2010 7
Ben Coates 1994 7
Christian Fauria 2002 7
Daniel Graham 2004 7
Derrick Ramsey 1984 7
Jim Whalen 1968 7

PATRIOTS EXTEND STREAK TO FIVE GAMES WITH 30 POINTS AND NO TURNOVERSThe Patriots have scored at least 30 points without committing a turnover in each of their past five games to extend their NFL record. Last week they became the first team to have at least 30 points without committing a turnover in four straight games.

BRADY EXTENDS STREAK WITH AT LEAST TWO TOUCHDOWNS AND NO INTERCEPTIONS TO SIX TO TIE NFL MARKQuarterback Tom Brady has thrown at least two touchdowns without an interception in each of his past six games to tie Don Meredith for the longest streak in league annals.

PATRIOTS SCORE TOUCHDOWNSThe Patriots have scored 52 total touchdowns. That number is tied for the second most in team history

75 in 2007
52 in 2010, 1961 and 1980
50 in 2009
49 in 2004 and 1979

PATRIOTS SCORE POINTSThe Patriots scored over 30 points for the fifth straight game and the eighth time in 2010.

BELICHICK WINS 174TH CAREER GAMEBill Belichick won his 174th game and is now tied for 10th with Mike Holmgren on the all-time list.

GUYTON SCORES ON A 35-YARD FUMBLE RETURN IN THE SECOND QUARTERLB Gary Guyton returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown. The fumble was forced on a hit by CB Devin McCourty. It is Guyton's second touchdown of the season. Guyton returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown in the season-opening victory vs. Cincinnati (9/12). It is the first fumble returned for a touchdown by a New England player since Ellis Hobbs scored on a 35-yard fumble return at Buffalo on Nov. 18, 2007. It is the fourth defensive touchdown of the season for the Patriots. Guyton is the first Patriots player to score two defensive touchdowns in a season since LB Tedy Bruschi returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2003. Guyton recorded his second career interception in the third quarter.

PATRIOTS HAVE SEVEN NON-OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS IN 2010The Patriots have scored on seven touchdowns that were not offensive touchdowns in 2010. The Patriots returned three interceptions for a touchdown, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, scored on one fumble return and one blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown. The seven non-offensive touchdowns are second in the NFl to Arizona who has scored on eight non-offensive touchdowns.

PATRIOTS EXTEND TEAM RECORD TO FIVE GAMES WITHOUT A TURNOVERThe Patriots extended their streak to five straight games without a turnover. Last week, the Patriots established the team mark with their fourth straight game without a turnover.

EDELMAN HAS CAREER-LONG 42-YARD PUNT RETURNJulian Edelman had a career-long 42-yard punt return in the second quarter. His previous best was a 35-yarder vs. Tennessee on Oct. 18, 2009. Both of those punt returns were in snow games.

ERIC MOORE FORCES A FUMBLE AND RECORDS A SACK IN HIS DEBUTEric Moore forced a fumble that was recovered by LB Jerod Mayo at the Chicago 9-yard line in the second quarter. Later in the quarter he sacked QB Jay Cutler for a 10-yard loss.

BRANCH HAS HIS NINTH NFL REGULAR-SEASON 100-YARD GAME AND SECOND OF 2010Deion Branch scored on a 59-yard touchdown pass prior to the end of the first half to push him over 100 yards receiving for the day. He finished the game with 151 receiving yards. He had his first 100-yard day of 2010 at Detroit (11/25) with three receptions for 113 yards. It is his sixth 100-yard game as a member of the Patriots.

BRANCH HAS CAREER HIGH IN RECEIVING YARDSBranch set a personal best with 151 receiving yards. His previous best was a 130-yard performance on Sept. 30, 2007 at San Francisco while he was with Seattle.

PATRIOTS HAVE TWO PLAYERS REACH 100 YARDS RECEIVINGWes Welker (115) and Deion Branch (151) both finished with over 100 yards receiving. It is the first time the patriot shave had a game with two 100-yard receivers since the game in the snow last season vs. Tennessee on Oct. 18, 2009.

BRADY EXTENDS RECORD FOR MOST CONSECUTIVE PASS ATTEMPTS WITHOUT AN INT.Tom Brady extended his streak to 268 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, extending his team record. Brady eclipsed his old record of 183 consecutive pass attempts without an interception (set in 2009) on Thanksgiving at Detroit. Brady's 268 pass attempts without an interception stretches from the overtime period vs. Baltimore (10/17) through today's win over Chicago. Brady's last interception was on the last play of regulation vs. Baltimore (10/17). Brady has had previous streaks with 183, 175 and 173 consecutive pass attempts without an interception.

BRADY EXTENDS RECORD TO EIGHTH STRAIGHT START WITHOUT AN INTERCEPTIONQB Tom Brady has now gone eight straight starts without an interception. He has thrown an interception in just two games in 2010 with two at the NY Jets (9/19) and two vs. Baltimore (10/17). Tony Eason had the previous record of six straight starts without an interception in 1986.

BRADY HAS THROWN AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN PASS IN ALL 13 GAMESBrady has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 13 games of the 2010 season after finishing with two touchdown tosses against the Bears. Brady has started the season with at least one touchdown in the first 13 games for the second time in his career. Brady started the 2007 season with at least one touchdown in the first 13 games.

BRADY CLOSE TO 30 TOUCHDOWNS FOR SECOND TIME IN CAREERBrady now has 29 touchdown passes in 2010 and needs one more for his second season with 30 or more touchdown passes. He had an NFL-record 50 in 2007. If Brady reaches 30 touchdown passes he will be one of just 12 NFL players since the 1970 merger to have at least two 30 touchdown seasons.

Brady and Bill Belichick moved out of a tie with Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll (107) into sole possession of second place for most wins as a quarterback-coach combo with 108. Only Dan Marino/Don Shula ever won more games together (116).Brady and Belichick have the best winning percentage among head coach-starting quarterbacks since the 1970 merger.

BRADY MOVES UP ON ALL-TIME TOUCHDOWN LISTBrady finished the game with two touchdowns against Chicago to push his career total to 254 touchdown passes to tie Dan Foutes for 12th place on the NFL List. Sonny Jurgensen is 11th with 255. .
252 career touchdown passes, moving into 13th place on the all-time list. Brady passed Drew Bledsoe's

BRADY MOVES INTO SOLE POSSESION OF 8TH PLACE WITH 108 CAREER WINS.Brady moved out of a tie with Terry Bradshaw and into sole possession of 8th place on the NFL's list for most career wins as a starting quarterback with his 108th win.

BRADY HAS FOURTH 300-YARD GAME OF 2010 AND 34TH 300-YARD GAME OF CAREERTom Brady finished with a season-high 369 passing yards, marking his fourth 300-yard passing game of the season and the 34th 300-yard game of his career. The Patriots improved to 30-4 when Brady throws for 300 or more yards.

THREE CONSECUTIVE 300-YARD GAMES FOR BRADYBrady has now thrown for 300 yards in three straight games. He Ha a personal best five in a row in 2009

BRADY MOVES INTO THE TOP 20 IN ALL-TIME PASSING YARDSBrady moved past Steve DeBerg (34,241) into 20th on the NFL's all-time passing list and now has 34,242 passing yards.

BENJARVUS AND 1,000 YARDSRB BenJarvus Green-Ellis increased his 2010 rushing total to 786 with 87 yards rushing against Chicago. He needs to avarege 71 yards in the last three games to become the 11th New England player to record a 1,000-yard rushing season. If he reaches 1,000 yards he will be the first New England player to do so since Corey Dillon had a team-record 1,635 rushing yards in 2004.

WELKER EXTENDS STREAKWes Welker extended his streak to 76 straight regular-season games with at least one reception. He has caught at least one pass in each of his 62 games with the Patriots, including three postseason games. The last time that Welker did not catch a pass in a game was December 24, 2005 when he was with the Dolphins. He has caught at least one pass in 59 consecutive regular-season games as a member of the Patriots. The Patriots' record for most consecutive games with at least one pass is 63 by TE Ben Coates (12-17-92) to (12-15-96).

WELKER CLOSE TO 100 RECEPTIONSWelker added eight receptions against Chicago for a team-leading 80 on the season. He needs to average seven receptions over the next three games to reach 100 receptions for the fourth consecutive season to join Marvin Harrison as the only NFL player to ever have four straight 100 reception seasons.

PATRIOTS WIN GAME NUMBER 11Today's victory was the Patriots' 11th win in 2010. New England has now won 11 or more games seven times in the last 10 seasons.

BRADY IN DECEMBERTom Brady improved to 31-5 all-time as a starter in the month of December. Brady is 18-1 at home in the month of December. Brady improved to 24-3 when the kickoff temperature was 40 degrees or less.

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