- Two Alabama QBs start against each other for first time since 1983.
- Four Patriots players begin their second stint with the team.
- Nick Folk extends streak to 29 straight field goals.
- Damien Harris has fourth 100-yard game.
PATRIOTS HAVE NOW GONE 87 STRAIGHT GAMES SCORING IN THE FIRST HALF
The Patriots have gone 87 straight games (regular season and postseason) scoring in the first half, an NFL record. The Patriots also own the second-longest streak at 82 games with a first half score (2006-11). The last time the Patriots failed to score in the first half was a 16-0 loss at home against Buffalo on Oct. 2, 2016.
PATRIOTS DEFENSE HOLDS MIAMI TO UNDER 100 YARDS RUSHING
The Patriots defense held Miami to 74 yards rushing on 23 attempts. The Patriots defense held four teams under 100 yards rushing in 2020.
BILL BELICHICK BEGINS 47th NFL SEASON
Bill Belichick entered his 47th season as an NFL coach in 2021. His 47 consecutive years as an NFL coach are the most in NFL history, passing the 45 by Dick LeBeau. The only other NFL coach with at least 40 consecutive NFL coaching seasons is Tom Moore with 41.
TWO QUARTERBACKS DRAFTED OUT OF ALABAMA START AGAINST EACH OTHER
Rookie QB Mac Jones and Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa were both drafted out of Alabama. The game marked the first time that two quarterbacks drafted from Alabama started against each other since Week 12 of the 1983 season when Richard Todd's New York Jets beat Ken Stabler's New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome, 31-28 on Nov. 21.
MAC JONES COMPLETES FIRST NFL PASS TO JAMES WHITE; FIRST TD PASS TO NELSON AGHOLOR
QB Mac Jones made the start and completed his first pass to RB James White for a 4-yard gain in the first quarter. He threw his first touchdown on a 7-yard pass to WR Nelson Agholor in the second quarter. Jones finished 29-of-39 for 281 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
NICK FOLK EXTENDS STREAK TO 29 STRAIGHT FIELD GOALS MADE WITH THREE FIELD GOALS
K Nick Folk extended his streak to 29 consecutive field goals made with a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter, a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter and a 33-yarder in the fourth quarter. After missing his first two field goals of the 2020 season, Folk has not missed since. It is the second-longest field goal streak in team history and the longest streak in Folk's career. His previous best was 23 straight field goals in 2013 when he played for the New York Jets.
Most Consecutive Field Goals/Patriots History
31 Stephen Gostkowski
29 Nick Folk
25 Adam Vinatieri
23 Adam Vinatieri
21 Stephen Gostkowski
JOSH UCHE COMES UP WITH BIG THIRD DOWN SACK
LB Josh Uche recorded his second career sack on a third-down play late in the second half when he bull rushed his way to a 7-yard sack of QB Tua Tagovailoa to help hold Miami to a 48-yard field goal. He had his first career sack in the win vs. Baltimore on Nov. 15, 2020 when he dropped Lamar Jackson for a 7-yard loss.
JAMES WHITE GAINS 20
RB James White had a 26-yard reception from QB Mac Jones during the third quarter field goal drive. In 2020, he had four receptions of 20 or more yards.
PATS HAVE ROOKIE FREE AGENT ON ROSTER FOR 18TH STRAIGHT SEASON
With rookie free agent K Quinn Nordin making the 53-man roster, the Patriots have now had a rookie free agent make the opening day roster for 18 straight seasons, the third-longest streak in the NFL. The L.A. Chargers have had a rookie free agent make their opening day roster for 25 straight seasons and Indianapolis has had a rookie free agent make their opening day roster for 23 straight seasons. Nordin was inactive for the game.
JAKE BAILEY HAD FIVE TOUCHBACKS ON FIVE KICKOFFS
Jake Bailey had five touchbacks on five kickoffs. It is the third time in his career he has had at least five touchbacks in a single game. He had seven touchbacks on seven kicks at Washington on Oct. 6, 2019 and six touchbacks on eight kicks vs. Las Vegas on Sept. 27, 2020.
RB DAMIEN HARRIS STARTS THE GAME WITH A 35-YARD RUN
RB Damien Harris had a 35-yard run on the first play of the game. It is the second-longest run of his career to the 41-yard run he had at Kansas City on Oct. 5, 2020.
HARRIS HAS FOURTH 100-YARD GAME
Harris gained 100 yards on 23 carries for his fourth career 100-yard rushing game. He had three 100-yard rushing games in 2020.
DONT'A HIGHTOWER AND BRANDON BOLDEN MAKE THEIR RETURN
LB Dont'a Hightower and RB Brandon Bolden returned to the field after exercising their Opt-Out decision for the 2020 season.
LB BRANDON KING PLAYS IN FIRST REGULAR-SEASON GAME IN TWO YEARS
LB Brandon King played in his first regular-season game in two years after missing the last two seasons due to injury. His last regular game was in Super Bowl LIII vs. the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3, 2019.
FOUR PATRIOTS PLAYERS BEGAN SECOND STINT WITH THE PATRIOTS
The Patriots have had 26 players have two stints with New England since 2000 (on the active roster with the Patriots for at least one game in each stint; on the active roster with another team for at least one game in between). Four such players returned for a second stint in the season-opener: Trent Brown, Ted Karras, Harvey Langi and Kyle Van Noy.
VAN NOY REGISTERS KEY SACK IN HIS FIRST GAME BACK
LB Kyle Van Noy had a key third-down sack in the first quarter to end a Miami drive after Miami had reached the New England 49-yard line. Van Noy had a career-high 6 ½ sacks in 2019 with the Patriots.
TE HUNTER HENRY MAKES HIS DEBUT IN A PATRIOTS UNIFORM
TE Hunter Henry, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Los Angeles Chargers in the offseason, made his debut in a Patriots uniform after missing the three preseason games and was in the starting lineup in a two-tight end set. He finished with 3 receptions for 31 yards.
The Patriots have 23 new players on the 53-man roster that did not play a game with the Patriots during the 2020 season.
2021 draft picks – QB Mac Jones, DL Christian Barmore, LB Ronnie Perkins and RB Rhamondre Stevenson.
2021 rookie free agents – K Quinn Nordin
2021 rookies (claimed or traded) – CB Shaun Wade
Veteran free agents making their return to the Patriots – T Trent Brown, OL Ted Karras, LB Harvey Langi and LB Kyle Van Noy.
Veteran free agents – WR Nelson Agholor, DL Henry Anderson, WR Kendrick Bourne, OL Yasir Durant, DL Davon Godchaux, TE Hunter Henry, LB Matt Judon, DB Jalen Mills and TE Jonnu Smith.
Veterans returning from Reserve-Opt Out – RB Brandon Bolden and LB Dont'a Hightower
Veterans returning from Reserve Lists – OL Yodny Cajuste and LB Brandon King
Of that group, 19 players saw action; Cajuste, Nordin, Perkins and Wade were inactive.
MIKE ONWENU STARTS AT LEFT GUARD
OL Mike Onwenu started at left guard. As a rookie in 2020, he started all 16 games – 10 at right tackle, three at right guard, two at tackle-eligible and one at left guard. He started at left guard vs, Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 27, 2020.
JUSTIN HERRON PLAYED AT RIGHT TACKLE
OL Justin Herron entered the game at right tackle after Trent Brown left with an injury in the first quarter. As a rookie in 2021, he started at right tackle in one game at Kansas City on Oct. 5. He made four starts at left tackle and one as a tackle-eligible.
TRENT BROWN STARTED AT RIGHT TACKLE
Trent Brown made his return to the Patriots after two seasons with the Raiders and made his first start at left tackle for the team. In 2018, he started at left tackle in all 16 games and all three postseason games.