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Game Notes: Patriots clinch playoff spot for the 19th time in Kraft's 24 years


 

TEAM NOTES 

• Patriots qualify for the playoffs for the 25th time in 58 years.
• Clinch 19th playoff appearance in the 24 years under Robert Kraft. 
• Patriots clinch ninth straight AFC East Title. 
• Win 11 games for an NFL record 8th straight season 
 
PATRIOTS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT FOR THE 19TH TIME IN KRAFT'S 24 YEARS
New England has qualified for the playoffs 25 times in its 58-year history. The Patriots have earned 19 of those playoff berths in the 24 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England has won 20 division crowns overall (19 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.
 
PATRIOTS WIN AFC EAST FOR THE 17TH TIME UNDER KRAFT
The Patriots claimed the AFC East Division title for the ninth consecutive season and for the 17th time under Robert Kraft.
 
DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1994
New England Patriots 17
Pittsburgh Steelers 13
Green Bay Packers 12
Indianapolis Colts 10
 
PATRIOTS EXTEND NFL RECORD TO NINE STRAIGHT DIVISION TITLES
The Patriots have won nine straight AFC East titles, the longest streak in NFL history. The Patriots have won 15 of the last 17 AFC East division crowns.
 
PATRIOTS TIE NFL RECORD WITH NINTH STRAIGHT PLAYOFF SEASON
The Patriots have now made the playoffs for nine straight seasons (2009-17), tied with Dallas (1975-83) and Indianapolis (2002-10) for the most in NFL history
 
MOST CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF SEASONS/NFL HISTORY
9 New England Patriots (2009-17)
Dallas Cowboys (1975-83)
Indianapolis Colts (2002-10) 
8 Green Bay Packers (2009-16)
Pittsburgh Steelers (1972-79)
Los Angeles Rams (1973-80)
Dallas (1966-73)
San Francisco (1983-90)
7 Houston Oilers (1987-93)
San Francisco 49ers (1992-98)
 
PATRIOTS PLAYOFF SEASONS
The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs 25 times in their 58-year history. Nineteen of those playoff berths have come in the 24 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. The Patriots have won 20 division crowns, including 15 of the last 17 seasons. 
 
PATRIOTS WIN 11 FOR RECORD 8TH STRAIGHT YEAR
The Patriots have won 11 games 19 times in team history, including a current streak of eight years dating back to 2010. The eight straight 11-win seasons is an NFL record, surpassing the seven straight 11-win seasons by Indianapolis (2003-09). The Patriots have had 11 or more wins 15 times in Robert Kraft's 24 seasons of ownership after having only four 11-win seasons prior to Kraft purchasing the team (1976, 1978, 1985 and 1986).
 
WRAPPING IT UP
The Patriots clinched the division with the 27-24 win at Pittsburgh. 
 
BOUNCING BACK
Since the beginning of 2003, the Patriots are 45-6 (.882) in regular season games following a loss. They have dropped back-to-back regular season games in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015 (twice). As a starter in his career, Tom Brady is 45-10 in games following a loss.
The Patriots have now followed all three of their 2017 losses with a win. 
 
PATRIOTS DEFENSE LEADS LEAGUE WITH SIX RED ZONE TAKEAWAYS
The Patriots defense leads the NFL with six takeaways in the red zone after DB Duron Harmon's pick in the end zone to seal the victory. Baltimore is second with four takeaways in the red zone. 
 
PATRIOTS DEFENSEIVE TAKEAWAYS IN THE RED ZONE
1. DL Trey Flowers forced a fumble that was recovered by LB Elandon Roberts vs. Carolina (10/1) when the Panthers reached the New England 13-yard line. 
2. CB Malcom Butler forced a fumble at the 1-yard line that resulted in touchback at the New York Jets (10/15).
3. LB Marquis Flowers forced a fumble that was recovered by DB Patrick Chung at Oakland (11/19) after the Raiders reached the New England 15-yard line. 
4. CB Stephon Gilmore intercepted a pass in the end zone vs. Miami (11/26) after the Dolphins reached the New England 15-yard line. 
5. LB Eric Lee intercepted a pass at the 1-yard line at Buffalo (12/3) after the Bills reached the New England 6-yard line.
6. DB Duron Harmon intercepted a pass in the end zone after Pittsburgh reached the New England 7-yard line. 
 
In addition, Harmon intercepted a pass in the end zone vs. Houston (9/24) on a pass from the Houston 46-yard line, and DB Jonathan Jones intercepted a pass vs. the LA Chargers at the New England 1-yard line on a pass from the 23-yard line. 

 

INDIVIDUAL NOTES  

 
BELICHICK EXTENDS NFL RECORD TO NINE STRAIGHT DIVISION TITLES
Bill Belichick extended his NFL record to nine straight division titles. Paul Brown (1950-55), Tom Landry (1966-71), Bud Grant (1973-78) and Chuck Noll (1974-79) are next on the list after leading their teams to six straight titles.
 
BELICHICK EXTENDS HIS NFL RECORD TO 15 DIVISION TITLES
Bill Belichick guided the Patriots to the AFC East title in 2017. It is his 15th division title as a head coach, the most by a head coach since the 1970 merger. Don Shula is second with 11 division titles since the merger. Overall, Belichick's 15 division titles are the most in NFL history among NFL head coaches. Shula and Tom Landry are second with 13 titles.
 
BELICHICK HAS 16TH POSTSEASON BERTH AS A HEAD COACH
Bill Belichick has led his teams to 16 postseason berths, which is third all-time among NFL head coaches. He has led his team to 15 berths with New England and one with Cleveland. 
 
NFL HEAD COACHES WITH THE MOST POSTSEASON SEASONS
Coach Playoff Berths
Don Shula 19
Tom Landry 18
Bill Belichick 16
 
BELICHICK WILL SET MARK FOR MOST POSTSEASON GAMES
With the Patriots securing a postseason berth in 2017, Belichick is guaranteed to coach in his 37th career postseason game and break a tie with Tom Landry and Don Shula for the most postseason games coached. 
 
MOST POSTSEASON GAMES AS A HEAD COACH
Head Coach GAMES
Bill Belichick (Cleveland/New England) 36
Tom Landry (Dallas) 36
Don Shula (Baltimore/Miami) 36
Chuck Noll (Pittsburgh) 24
Mike Holmgren (Green Bay/Seattle) 24
Joe Gibbs (Washington) 24
 
BELICHICK HAS 15TH 11-WIN SEASON
Bill Belichick now has fifteen 11-win seasons as a head coach to extend his record for most 11-win seasons. Belichick has fourteen 11-win seasons with New England and one with Cleveland.
 
NFL HEAD COACHES WITH THE MOST 11-WIN SEASONS
Bill Belichick 15
Don Shula 13
Tom Landry 10
 
BRADY EXTENDS RECORD TO NINE STRAIGHT DIVISION TITLES;
WINS 15TH DIVISION TITLE OVERALL
Tom Brady extended his NFL record by leading the Patriots to their ninth straight division title in 2017.
 
NFL RECORD FOR MOST DIVISION TITLES
Player Career Division Titles
Tom Brady 15
Peyton Manning 12
Joe Montana 9
Brett Favre 8
Terry Bradshaw 7
John Elway 7
 
BRADY IS CLOSING IN ON THE MOST WINS BY A 40-YEAR OLD QB
Brady's 11 wins in 2017 are the most in a single season by a 40-year old quarterback and are tied with Warren Moon (11) for second all-time, behind the 13 wins overall by Brett Favre at the age of 40. 
 
MOST WINS OVERALL BY A QB AT AGE 40
Player Wins
Brett Favre 13
Tom Brady 11
Warren Moon 11
Vinny Testaverde 8 
 
BRADY REACHES 4,000 PASSING YARDS FOR THE NINTH TIME IN HIS CAREER
Tom Brady (4,163) reached 4,000 yards passing for the ninth time in his career. He entered the Pittsburgh game with 3,865 and needed 135 yards to reach the milestone. He reached it on a 7-yard pass to WR Brandin Cooks in the third quarter. 
 
ALL-TIME 4,000 YARD PASSING SEASONS
14 Peyton Manning
11 Drew Brees
9 Tom Brady 
7 Philip Rivers
6 Dan Marino
6 Brett Favre
6 Matt Ryan
6 Aaron Rodgers
6 Carson Palmer, Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford 
 
BRADY NEARING THE TOP FOR MOST WINS AMONG ALL NFL PLAYERS.
Tom Brady has the most wins by an NFL quarterback with 219 overall career wins. His 219 wins are the second-most wins all-time by an NFL player, behind the 224 wins by Adam Vinatieri. 
 
MOST WINS BY AN NFL PLAYER (INCLUDING POSTSEASON GAMES)
Player Wins
Adam Vinatieri 224
Tom Brady 219
George Blanda 218
Jerry Rice 211
Gary Anderson 210
Peyton Manning 201
Brett Favre 201
Morten Andersen 194
 
BRADY NOW HAS 53 COMEBACKS
Brady led the Patriots back from a 24-16 fourth quarter deficit. It is the 53rd time that he has led his team to a victory from a fourth quarter deficit and the second time he has done so in 2017. He led the Patriots to a 36-33 win vs. Houston on Sept. 24 after leading the Patriots back from a 33-28 fourth quarter deficit. 
 
HARMON SECURES THE WIN
DB Duron Harmon intercepted Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone with nine seconds to play to secure the 27-24 win. It is the fourth time that he has picked off a pass in the end zone to secure a win and the second in 2017. He picked off Houston QB Deshaun Watson in the end zone as time expired to secure the win on Sept. 24, 2017. He secured a win with an end zone pick vs. Miami on Sept. 18, 2016 and secured a Divisional Playoff win vs. Baltimore with an end zone pick vs. Baltimore on Jan. 10, 2015. 
 
GRONK GOES OVER 100 YARDS
TE Rob Gronkowski finished with nine receptions for 168 yards for his 26th 100-yard game of his career and the third of the 2017 season. He had 116 yards at New Orleans (9/17) and 147 yards at Buffalo (12/3). The only tight end with more 100-yard games than Gronkowski is Tony Gonzalez with 31. 
 
MOST 100-YARD GAMES BY A TIGHT END IN NFL HISTORY
Player 100-Yard Games
Tony Gonzalez 31
Rob Gronkowski 26
Kellen Winslow 24
Jackie Smith 22
Antonio Gates 21
Jason Witten 21
Shannon Sharpe 19
 
MOST 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
Stanley Morgan 38
Wes Welker 28
Rob Gronkowski 26
Randy Moss 18
 
MOST 100-YARD GAMES BY A PATRIOTS TIGHT END
Player 100-Yard Games
Rob Gronkowski 26
Ben Coates 9 
 
GRONKOWSKI ON PACE FOR FOURTH 1,000-YARD SEASON
TE Rob Gronkowski added 168 yards and reached 1,000 yards for the fourth time in his career with 1,017 yards. He joins Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten as the only NFL tight ends with four 1,000 yard seasons. 
 
GRONKOWSKI GOES OVER 100 YARDS IN A HALF
TE Rob Gronkowski had 135 yards receiving on seven catches in the second half vs. Pittsburgh. It is the seventh time in his career he has had over 100 yards receiving in one half and the third time he has done so in the second half of a game.
 
NFL TIGHT ENDS WITH AT LEAST TWO 1,000-YARD SEASONS
Rob Gronkowski 4
Tony Gonzalez 4
Jason Witten 4
Kellen Winslow, Sr. 3
Shannon Sharpe 3
Todd Christensen 3
Greg Olsen 3
Antonio Gates 2
Jimmy Graham 2
Ozzie Newsome 2
 
GRONK SETS CAREER-HIGH
Gronkowski set a career-high with 168 yards receiving. His previous best was 162 yards vs. Cincinnati on Oct. 16, 2016. He gained 135 yards in the second half. 
 
GRONK COMES UP BIG IN PITTSBURGH
In six games against Pittsburgh, TE Rob Gronkowski has had at least 90 yards receiving in five games, including two 100 yard games. His other 100-yard game against the Steelers was when he finished with 142 on Nov. 3, 2013. The only time he did not reach 90 yards receiving against Pittsburgh was in his first meeting as a rookie on Nov. 14, 2010. However, he scored three touchdowns in that game. 
 
COOKS HAS SEVENTH 40-YARD PASS RECEPTION
WR Brandin Cooks hauled in a 43-yard pass from QB Tom Brady in the first quarter to set up the Patriots first touchdown. He now has seven 40-yard pass receptions in 2017. 
54-yarder vs. Kansas City (09/07/17)
42-yarder at Jets (10/15/17)
44-yarder vs. Houston (09/24/17)
42-yader vs. Houston (09/24/17)
52-yarder at Oakland (11/19/17)
64-yard TD at Oakland (11/19/17)
43-yarder at Pittsburgh (12/17/17)
 
BURKHEAD SCORES IN FOURTH STRAIGHT GAME
RB Rex Burkhead scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter and has now scored at least one rushing touchdown in four straight games. He now has five rushing touchdowns in his last four games after just three rushing touchdowns in his first 48 NFL games. 
 
DION LEWIS STIL AVERAGING 5.0-YARDS PER CARRY
Dion Lewis is averaging over 5.2-yards per carry in 2017 after gaining 67 yards on 13 carries  vs. Pittsburgh. If he keeps the pace then he will become the fifth Patriots player to finish a season with an average of at least five yards per carry. 
Highest Average Rushing Gain Season (100 attempts)
5.59 Don Calhoun, 1976 (129-721)
5.45 Mosi Tatupu, 1983 (106-578)
5.05 Legarrett Blount, 2013 (153-772)
5.04 Carl Garrett, 1969 (137-691)
 
GUY RECORDS FIRST SACK WITH THE PATRIOTS
DL Lawrence Guys sacked Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger for a 3-yard sack in the second quarter for his first as a member of the Patriots. 
 

LINEUP NOTES

 
• WR Kenny Britt played in his first game as a member of the New England Patriots. 
• DL Trey Flowers returned to action and was in the starting lineup. 
 

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