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Game Notes: Patriots finish 12-4 for fourth straight season

TEAM NOTES 

PATRIOTS FINISH 12-4 FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT SEASON
The Patriots finished 12-4 for the fourth straight season. 

PATRIOTS HAD A SACK IN EVERY GAME IN 2015; PUSH STREAK TO 29 GAMES WITH AT LEAST ONE SACK
The Patriots recorded at least one sack in every game in 2015. The Patriots also finished with a sack in every game in 1979, 1977, 1973 and 1963. They had one sack against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots have a streak of 29 straight games with at least one sack, the longest streak in the NFL. The last time the Patriots did not have a sack was vs. Oakland on Sept. 21, 2014. 

PATRIOTS SACK RECORD
The Patriots entered the Miami game with 48 sacks, one behind the NFL-leading Denver Broncos with 49 sacks and registered one sack against Miami to close the season with 49 sacks. The Patriots have led the league in sacks three times: 1963, 1977 and 1979.The 49 sacks are the sixth highest total in team history. 

PATRIOTS SET FOR MOST SACKS UNDER BELICHICK
The Patriots defense had 49 sacks in 2015, the most sacks the team has recorded under Bill Belichick. The previous best was 48 sacks in 2013. 

PATRIOTS AND OFFENSE IN THE TOP 10
The Patriots offense (4th) and defense (7th) entered this week in the top 10. The last time the Patriots offense and defense finished in the top 10 in the same season was 2008 when the offense finished 5th and the defense 10th.

2016 OPPONENTS DETERMINED
The Patriots 2016 opponents have been determined. In addition to playing each of the other AFC East opponents twice, the Patriots will play one game against each of the AFC North and NFC West teams. As the first-place team in the AFC East, the Patriots will play the first-place team of the AFC South (Houston or Indianapolis) and AFC West (Denver or Kansas City). 

Home: Buffalo, Miami., NY Jets, Baltimore, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Seattle, Houston/Indianapolis*
Away: Buffalo, Miami., NY Jets, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Francisco, Denver/Kansas City*
*-Still pending. 

INDIVIDUAL NOTES 

BRADY HAS ONE OF HIS BEST SEASONS
Tom Brady entered this week with an NFL-leading 4,636 passing yards. He pushed his 2015 total to 4,770 yards. If he leads the NFL, it would be his second season leading the NFL in passing yards. He led the NFL with 4,806 passing yards in 2007. 

BRADY CAN LEAD THE NFL IN TOUCHDOWNS
Tom Brady entered this week with an NFL-leading 36 touchdowns. Brady has led the league in touchdown passes three times in his career (2002-28 tds, 2007-50 tds and 2010-36-tds) and can tie Drew Brees, Len Dawson, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Steve Young for the most seasons leading the league in touchdown passes with four. 

BRADY HAS CHANCE TO LEAD THE NFL IN PASSING YARDS AND TDS
Brady entered the game this week leading the NFL with 4,636 passing yards and 36 touchdowns and finished 2015 with 4,770 yards and 36 touchdowns. He led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns in the same season in 2007 (4,806 and 50 TDS). Since the merger, 19 players have led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns in the same season. The last to do so was Peyton Manning in 2013. 

BRADY SETS CAREER-HIGH IN COMPLETIONS
Tom Brady set a career high in completions in 2015 with 402 completions. He entered the game against Miami with 390 and needed 12 to set his career best. Brady's previous best was 401 completions in 2011 and 2012. Brady joins Drew Brees (7), Peyton Manning (3) and Matt Ryan (3) for the most seasons with 400 completions. 

ROOKIE DL GENEO GRISSOM REGISTERS FIRSWT NFL SACK
Rookie DL Geneo Grissom recorded his first NFL sack in the first quarter when he dropped Miami QB Ryan Tannehill for an 8-yard loss. 

RB JAMES WHITES SETS PERSONAL BEST WITH A 68-YARD RECEPTION
RB James White had a 68-yard reception in the third quarter, the longest reception of his career. His previous best was a 30-yard touchdown reception vs. Tennessee on Dec. 20, 2015. It is the second longest play of the 2015 season for New England. Tom Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski for a 76-yard touchdown at the New York Giants on Nov. 15. 

RB STEVEN JACKSON SCORES FIRST TOUCHDOWN WITH THE PATRIOTS
RB Steven Jackson scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for his first touchdown as a member of the Patriots. 

ROOKIE WR CHRIS HARPER RECORDS FIRST RECEPTIONS
Rookie WR Chris Harper caught a 6-yard pass from QB Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter for his first NFL reception. 

*GRONKOWSKI HAS 10TH BEST RECEIVING YARD TOTAL BY A TE *
Rob Gronkowski finished the 2015 season with 1,176 yards, which is the 10th best receiving yard total by an NFL tight end. 

MOST RECEIVING YARDS BY A TIGHT ENDPlayer                Yards        Year
Rob Gronkowski            1,327        2011
Jimmy Graham (NO)        1,310        2011
Kellen Winslow (SD)        1,290        1980
Tony Gonzalez (KC)        1,258        2004
Todd Christensen (Raiders)    1,247        1983
Jimmy Graham (NO)        1,215        2013
Jackie Smith (STL)        1,205        1967
Tony Gonzalez (KC)        1,203        2000
Pete Retzlaff (PHI)        1,190        1965
Rob GronKowski         1,176        2015
Ben Coates (NE)        1,174        1994

GOSTKOWSKI REACHES 150 POINTS FOR RECORD FOURTH TIME
Stephen Gostkowski became the first NFL player with three seasons with 150 or more points in 2014 and his 34-yard field goal in the first quarter pushed him to 150 points for the fourth time in his career. He added one extra point for 151 total points in 2015. 

NFL Record for Most Points by a Kicker
166 David Akers (SF) in 2011
164 Gary Anderson (MIN) in 1998
163 Jeff Wilkins (STL in 2003
161 Mark Moseley (WAS) in 1983
158 Stephen Gostkowski (NE) in 2013
157 Mike Vanderjagt (Indianapolis) in 2003
156 Stephen Gostkowski (NE) in 2014 
153 Stephen Gostkowski (NE) in 2012
151 Stephen Hostkowski (NE) in 2015
150 Cody Parkey (PHI) in 2014
150 Matt Prater (DEN) in 2013 

Patriots Record for Most Points in a Season
158 Stephen Gostkowski, 2013
156 Stephen Gostkowski, 2014
155 Gino Cappelletti, 1964 (includes 7 TDs)
153 Stephen Gostkowski, 2012
151 Stephen Gostkowski, 2015
148 Stephen Gostkowski, 2008
147 Gino Cappelletti, 1961
143 Stephen Gostkowski, 2011

GOSTKOWSKI ENTERED THE FINAL WEEK IN THE NFL LEAD
Stephen Gostkowski has led the NFL in scoring in each of the last three seasons (2012-14). He can become just the third NFL player to lead the NFL in scoring in at least four consecutive seasons, joining Don Hutson (1940-44) and Gino Cappelletti (1963-66). If Stephen Gostkowski (151), who entered the game leading the NFL in scoring in 2015, does finish first in the NFL, he will join Don Hutson (5) and Gino Cappelletti (5) as the only NFL players to lead the NFL in scoring in five seasons. Gostkowski has led the NFL in scoring in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. 

GOSTKOWSKI 2015 FIELD GOAL TOAL
Gostkowski finished with 33 field goals in 2015, the fourth-most in team history. 

LINEUP NOTES

DL JABAAL SHEARD
DL Jabaal Sheard made his first start as a member of the Patriots in place of Chandler Jones, who was inactive. 

DL ISHMAA'ILY KITCHEN SEES FIRST ACTION FOR THE PATRIOTS
DL Ishmaa'ily Kitchen played in his first game as a member of the Patriots. 

RB STEVEN JACKSON MAKES HIS START AS A MEMBER OF THE PATRIOTS
RB Steven Jackson made his first start as a member of the Patriots. 

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