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Game Notes: Patriots clinch playoff spot

TEAM NOTES 

PATS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT FOR 18th TIME IN KRAFT'S 23 YEARS OF OWNERSHIP
New England has now qualified for the playoffs 24 times in its 57-year history. The Patriots have earned 18 playoff berths in the 23 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. 

PLAYOFF SEASONS SINCE 1994
New England Patriots    18
Green Bay Packers    17
Indianapolis Colts    16
Pittsburgh Steelers    14
Denver Broncos    12
Philadelphia Eagles    12
Seattle Seahawks    12 

DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1994
The Patriots claimed the AFC East Division title for the eighth consecutive season and for the 16th time under Robert Kraft.

DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1994
New England Patriots    16
Pittsburgh Steelers    11
Green Bay Packers    11
Indianapolis Colts    10

PATRIOTS SET NFL MARK WITH 8TH STRAIGHT DIVISION TITLE
The Patriots became the first NFL team ever to win eight straight division titles.

PATRIOTS WIN 18TH DIVISION TITLE SINCE THE 1970 MERGER
The Patriots won their 18th division title since the NFL merger in 1970, the third-most during that time frame. 

MOST DIVISION TITLES SINCE THE 1970 MERGER
Team        Titles
Pittsburgh        21
San Francisco    19
New England    18
Dallas        18
Minnesota        17

PATRIOTS NOW SET TO PLAY IN A POSTSEASON GAME FOR 8TH STRAIGHT YEAR
The Patriots are now set to participate in a postseason game for the eighth straight seasons and can become the seventh team in NFL history to play in a postseason game in at least eight consecutive seasons in 2016. 

WRAPPING IT UP.
The Patriots clinched the division with the 16-3 win at Denver. 

PATRIOTS IN THE PLAYOFFS
New England has qualified for the playoffs 24 times in its 57-year history. Eighteen of those playoff berths have come in the 23 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994

PATRIOTS EARN FIRST ROUND BYE FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT SEASON
The Patriots earned a first round bye for the seventh straight season, adding to their NFL record. Dallas and San Francisco earned four straight byes from 1992 through 1995 and Denver earned four straight from 2012-15.
The Patriots lead the NFL with 12 first-round byes since the current NFL playoff format was instituted in 1990. |

MOST SEASONS EARNING A BYE SINCE 12-TEAM PLAYOFF FORMAT IN 1990
New England    12
Denver        8 
Pittsburgh        8
San Francisco    8

MOST FIRST ROUND BYES SINCE 2001
New England    11
Denver        5
Chicago        4
Pittsburgh        4
Atlanta        3
Indianapolis    3
Philadelphia    3

PATRIOTS WIN 12 GAMES FOR THE 7TH STRAIGHT SEASON TO TIE NFL MARK WIN 11 FOR THE 11TH TIME IN TEAM HISTORY.
The Patriots have won at least 12 games 11 times in team history, including seven straight from 2010-16. San Francisco owns the NFL record with thirteen 12-win seasons since the NFL merger. The Patriots are now tied with Indianapolis for the most consecutive 12-win seasons with seven straight. 

CONSECUTIVE 12-WIN SEASONS SINCE 1970 MERGER
New England Patriots        7 (2010-16)
Indianapolis Colts        7 (2003-09)
Dallas Cowboys        4 (1992-95)

12-WIN SEASONS SINCE 1970 MERGER
1. San Francisco    13
2t. New England    11
2t. Dallas    11
2t. Denver     11
5. Pittsburgh     9
6. Indianapolis     8

PATRIOTS PROVE TO BE GOOD ON THE ROAD;IMPROVE TO 7-0 ON THE ROAD IN 2016
Since the start of the 1994 season when Robert Kraft purchased the team, the Patriots have the best regular-season road record in the NFL with a 113-70 (.628). The 2016 Patriots are now 7-0 on the road. The only season the Patriots went undefeated on the road was in 2008 with an 8-0 record. The Patriots were 7-1 on the road in 2006 in in 1986

STINGY DEFENSE
The Patriots defense has 10 seasons holding opponents under 20 points per game since 2001, including in each of the last two seasons. The 2016 Patriots have allowed just 16.6 points per game. The Patriots defense has held it opponent under 20 points in nine games in 2016. The Patriots held their opponents under 20 points 11 times in 2001 and 2006, the most under Bill Belichick.

PATRIOTS HAVE THROWN JUST TWO INTERCEPTIONS IN 2016; LOWEST MARK EVER THROUGH THE FIRST 14 GAMES A SEASON
The 2016 Patriots have thrown just two interception in 2016 through the first 15 weeks of the 2016 season, the fewest interceptions thrown by any team though the first 15 weeks of the season since the 1970 merger. Prior to the Patriots, the fewest interceptions through the first 15 weeks of the season was the 1993 Dallas Cowboys with three interceptions. 

PATRIOTS NEARING RECORD FOR LEAST AMOUNT OF INTERCEPTIONS
The Patriots have thrown just two interceptions in 2016. The NFL record for fewest interceptions thrown in a season by an NFL team since the 1970 merger is five. The Patriots had just five passes intercepted in 2010, tying the NFL mark for fewest interceptions in a single season. New England attempted 507 passes in 2010, with just five resulting in interceptions. The Patriots are the only team of that group to have only five interceptions with over 500 pass attempts.

GAME TIME TEMEPERATURE WAS 18 DEGREES;THIRD COLDEST SINCE 1993
The game time temperature was 18 degrees, the coldest game since the Patriots 41-27 win at Pittsburgh on Jan. 23, 2005 in the AFC Championship Game, which was 11 degrees. It is the coldest regular season game for the Patriots since a 19 degree game vs. Indianapolis on Dec. 26, 1993. The Patriots coldest game since 1993 was 4 degrees on Jan. 10, 2004 in a playoff win vs. Tennessee. 

INDIVIDUAL NOTES  

BELICHICK SETS THE MARK FOR MOST DIVISION TITLES WITH HIS 14TH TITLE
Bill Belichick guided the Patriots to the AFC East title in 2016 for his 14th title overall. Overall, Belichicks 14 division titles are the most ever by an NFL coach. Don Shula and Tom Landry each had 13 overall. Belichick's 14 division titles are the most by a head coach since the 1970 merger. Don Shula is second with 11 division titles since the merger. 

BELICHICK EXTENDS RECORD TO EIGHT STRAIGHT DIVISION TITLES
Bill Belichick extended his NFL record to eight consecutive division titles. Paul Brown (1950-55), Tom Landry (1966-71), Bud Grant (1973-78) and Chuck Noll (1974-79) led their teams to six straight titles.

BELICHICK ADDS TO HIS RECORD WITH HIS 11TH 12-WIN SEASON
Bill Belichick owns the NFL record among head coaches with 11 seasons of 12 or more wins. Belichick has led the Patriots to an NFL record seven straight 12-win seasons. Tony Dungy had six straight 12 win seasons. 

BELICHICK NEARING 200 REGULAR SEASON WINS WITH THE PATRIOTS
Bill Belichick now has 199 career regular season wins with the Patriots and is one win away from joining 

BRADY EXTENDS HIS RECORD TO EIGHT STRAIGHT DIVISION TITLES;WINS NFL-LEADING 14TH DIVISION TITLE
Tom Brady extended his NFL record by leading the Patriots to their eighth straight division title.

TOM BRADY WINS 12….AGAIN
Since entering the NFL in 2000, Tom Brady's teams have reached 12 regular-season wins in 11 different seasons, to tie Peyton Manning for the most 12-win seasons. 

BRADY IS BIG IN DECEMBER
Tom Brady is 53-10 (.841) in December, the second-best winning percentage in December among quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era. Roger Staubach is first (17-3, .850). Among active quarterbacks, Cam Newton is second with a 18-4 record (.818).Brady has 53 wins in December, which is one more than the 52 by Brett Favre for the most among all NFL quarterbacks. Manning is next with 49 wins.  

BRADY HAS THROWN JUST ONE INTERCEPTION
Tom Brady has thrown just two interceptions in 372 pass attempts in 2016. Brady's lowest interception total during his career was in 2010 when he threw just four interceptions. 

BLOUNT SETS TEAM RECORD FOR MOST RUSHING TOUCHDOWN IN A SEASON
RB LeGarrette Blount set the franchise record with his 15th rushing touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. He had been tied with Curtis Martin with 14 rushing touchdowns. Martin had 14 rushing touchdowns in 1996 and 1995. 

MOST RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS/SEASON IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
15    LeGarrette Blount, 2016
14    Curtis Martin, 1996
14    Curtis Martin, 1995
13    BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 2010
13    Corey Dillon, 2006
12    Stevan Ridley, 2012
12    Corey Dillon, 2005
12    Corey Dillon, 2004
12    Antowain Smith, 2001
12    Steve Grogan, 1976 
11    BenJarvis Green-Ellis, 2011
11    Horace Ivory,1978
11    Jim Nance, 1966
10    Tony Collins, 1983 

Patriots record for most overall touchdowns in a season
23 Randy Moss, 2007 (23 receiving)
18 Rob Gronkowksi, 2011 (17 receiving and 1 rushing)
17 Curtis Martin, 1996 (14 rushing and 3 receiving)
15 LeGarrette Blount, 2016 (15 rushing)
15 Curtis Martin, 1995 (14 rushing and 1 receiving)

BRADY REACHES 3000 YARDS
Tom Brady (3,064) once again reached 3,000 yards in 2016 for his 14th 3,000-yard season. He entered the game needing 124 yards to reach the milestone and reached it on a 16-yard pass to RB James White in the third quarter. 

NFL RECORD FOR MOST 3,000-YARD SEASONS
18    Brett Favre
16    Peyton Manning
14    Tom Brady
14    Drew Brees
13    Dan Marino
12    John Elway

RB DION LEWIS SETS CAREER HIGHS
RB Dion Lewis set a career-best after finishing with 18 rushing attempts for 95 yards. His previous best was 15 rushing attempts for 69 yards rushing on Sept. 10, 2015 vs. Pittsburgh. 

NATE EBNER SPECIAL TEAMS TAKLES –  TIED FOR NFL LEAD
DB Nate Ebner has a team-leading 16 special teams tackles in 2016, which is tied for the NFL lead with Miami's Mike Hull and Michael Thomas. He has had 10 or more tackles in each of his five NFL seasons, including a career-high 17 specials teams tackles as a rookie in 2012. 

EDELMAN NEARING 100 RECEPTIONS
WR Julian Edelman had 6 receptions to push his 2016 totals to 85 receptions. He needs to average 7.5 receptions over the final two games to record his second career 100-catch season. In 2013, Edelman finished with 105 receptions. 

DL TREY FLOWERS HAS THIRD TWO-SACK GAME OF 2016
DL Trey Flowers recorded two sacks for the third time in 2016. He had two sacks in back-to-back games at Buffalo (10/30) and vs. Seattle (11/13). 

CB LOGAN RYAN HAS FIRST INTERCEPTION OF 2016
CB Logan Ryan intercepted a Denver pass and returned 46 yards for his first pick of the 2016 season. 

LINEUP NOTES

ROOKIE JONATHAN JONES MAKES FIRST NFL START
Rookie DB Jonathan Jones made his first NFL start in the Patriots nickel defense. 

LB SHEA MCCLELLIN LINED UP AS A WIDE RECEIVER
LB Shea McClellin lined up as a wide receiver for one play in the first quarter. 

ERIC ROWE RETURNS TO ACTION
DB Eric Rowe returned to action after missing the previous game due to injury. 

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