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Game Notes: Patriots improve to 12-1 in home openers at Gillette Stadium

TEAM NOTES

PATRIOTS IMPROVE TO 12-1 IN HOME OPENERS AT GILLETTE STADIUM
With today's 16-9 win over Oakland, the Patriots improved to 12-1 in home openers since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002. The Patriots won their first 10 openers at Gillette before suffering their first loss, a 20-18 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 16, 2012. Overall, the Patriots are 30-25 home openers.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Patriots improved to 82-15 (.845) at Gillette Stadium in regular season games. With today's victory over Oakland, New England has now won 31 straight games at home against AFC conference opponents. The Patriots last loss at home against an AFC opponent was a 33-10 loss vs. Pittsburgh on Nov. 30, 2008.

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The New England Patriots take on the Oakland Raiders in their home opener at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 21, 2014.

PATRIOTS KEEP OAKLAND OUT OF THE END ZONE**
The Patriots held the Raiders without a touchdown in the game, marking the first time the Patriots kept their opponents from scoring a touchdown in a game since September 22, 2013, when New England kept Tampa Bay out of the end zone in a 23-3 Patriots win at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots have kept their opponents out of the end zone 15 times in the 97-game regular-season history of Gillette Stadium.

PATRIOTS EXTEND STREAK TO 42 STRAIGHT HOME GAMES WITH AT LEAST 1 TD PASS
The Patriots extended their streak 42 straight home games with at least one touchdown pass, the longest streak in post-merger NFL history, with the 6-yard touchdown pass from QB Tom Brady to TE Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter. New Orleans has the second longest streak with 39, including today's games. The last time the Patriots did not have a touchdown pass in a home game was in a 33-10 loss vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 30, 2008.

PATS EXTEND STREAK TO 10 STRAIGHT HOME WINS AGAINST AFC WEST
The Patriots won their 10th straight home game against AFC West opponents, including two playoff wins. The Patriots last loss at home against the AFC West was a 17-7 defeat to Denver on Sept. 24, 2006.

PATRIOTS DEFENSE STOPS THE RUN
The Patriots defense limited Oakland to 67 rushing yards (3.0 yards per carry) one week after holding Minnesota to 54 yards on the ground.

PATRIOTS CONTINUE STRONG START TURNING THE BALL OVER
The Patriots have now forced a turnover in each of the three games so far in 2014, and have totaled eight takeaways through three games. New England is on pace for 43 takeaways in 2014, which would be the most for the team since having 47 takeaways in 1985. The Patriots defense had 29 turnovers in 2013. The most takeaways in team history was 50 in 1976.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

BRADY BECOMES THE THIRD NFL QUARTERBACK WITH 150 WINS
Tom Brady led the Patriots to his 150th career regular season win, becoming the third NFL quarterback to reach that milestone, joining Brett Favre (186) and Peyton Manning (169, not including today's game).

WILFORK SEALS WIN WITH THIRD CAREER INTERCEPTION
Vince Wilfork made his third career interception when he snared a pass that had been deflected in the final minute of the game. The play came with the Raiders having gained a first-and-goal and with Oakland trailing by seven points, 16-9. Wilfork's last interception was also against Oakland, coming in a 31-19 New England victory in Oakland on October 2, 2011. Two of Wilfork's three career interceptions have come against the Raiders.

VINCE WILFORK IS PATRIOTS FRANCHISE LEADER IN INTERCEPTONS BY A DEFENSIVE LINEMAN
Vince Wilfork had his third interception as a Patriots defensive lineman and as a result became the franchise's all-time leader in interceptions by a defensive lineman. Wilfork moved past Anthony Pleasant (2), Richard Seymour (2) and Henry Thomas (2) to become the first Patriots defensive lineman to have three interceptions.

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EDELMAN RUNS STREAK TO NINE STRAIGHT GAMES WITH AT LEAST SIX RECEPTIONS**
Julian Edelman has at least six receptions in his last nine regular season games. He closed out the 2013 season with six straight games with at least six catches and extended his streak to 10 with at least six receptions in the first three games in 2014. It is the longest streak in the NFL and is the longest streak for the Patriots since Wes Welker put together a team record streak of 12 (2007-08), 11 (2008-09) and 10 (2012) such games.

EDELMAN HAS FOURTH REGULAR SEASON GAME WITH 10 CATCHES
Julian Edelman caught 10 passes for 84 yards against Oakland, marking his fourth regular season game with at least 10 receptions. He had 13 receptions at Miami (12/15/13) and vs. New York Jets (9/12/13) and 10 receptions at Houston (1/3/10). He also had 10 receptions in the AFC Championship game at Denver (1/19/14).

EDELMAN ON A HIGH PACE IN 2014
Edelman has 22 receptions through the first three games. He is on pace to finish the season with 117 receptions.

GOSTKOWSKI HAS 27 STRAIGHT FOURTH QUARTER FIELD GOALS
Stephen Gostkowski has made 27 consecutive fourth-quarter field goals, including a 20-yard and a 36-yard field goal against Oakland.

GOSTKOWSKI STARTS THE SEASON PERFECT
Stephen Gostkowski was three-for-three on field goals against the Raiders and has made all eight of his attempts in 2014. His first four field goals were all from greater than 40 yards. He drilled a 47 and 45-yard field goal in the season-opener at Miami and connected on a 48-yarder in the first quarter and a 47-yarder in the third quarter at Minnesota. Gostkowski added a 27-yarder in the fourth quarter against Minnesota. Against the Raiders, Gostkowski was good from 21, 20, and 36 yards.

BRADY INCHING CLOSER TO 50,000 PASSING YARDS
Tom Brady (49,781) needs 219 more passing yards to become the sixth player in NFL history to reach 50,000 passing yards.

GRONKOWSKI EXTENDS HIS STREAK TO 53 STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A RECEPTION
Rob Gronkowski caught a 6-yard pass touchdown pass in the second quarter and has caught at least one pass in all 53 regular season games that he has played.
LONGEST CURRENT STREAKS OF CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A RECEPTION BY TIGHT ENDS
90 Owen Daniels (Houston/Baltimore)
*89 Jason Witten (Dallas)
*83 Heath Miller (Pittsburgh)
53 Rob Gronkowski
*
Not including today's games.*

GRONKOWSKI AND BRADY CONNECT FOR 44TH TOUCHDOWN
Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady connected on their 44th touchdown pass with a 6-yard connection in the second quarter. It is tied for the second-most connections between a quarterback and a tight end in NFL history.

NOTABLE DEFENSIVE PLAYS
The Patriots defense came up with a number of notable plays in keeping Oakland out of the end zone. Below are some of the highlights—

  • Kyle Arrington swatted away a Derek Carr pass intended for Oakland WR Denarius Moore on third-and-5 to end the Raiders' first offensive possession of the game.
  • Dont'a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich teamed up to drop Oakland RB Darren McFadden for a 6-yard loss on a passing play on first down in the first quarter, setting up a long yardage situation that helped to stall an Oakland drive and force the Raiders to settle for a field goal. Chandler Jones batted down a pass by Oakland's Derek Carr on third-and-14 in the first quarter, forcing Oakland into a field goal try on the next play. He also batted away a Carr pass intended for WR James Jones on second down in the third quarter, forcing Oakland into a third down that it did not convert and helping to hold Oakland to a field goal on the drive.
  • Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater tackled Oakland PR TJ Carrie for a 1-yard loss on a first-quarter punt return.
  • Patrick Chung reached in to bat away a Derek Carr pass intended for Oakland FB Marcel Reese inside the Patriots' 10-yard line in the third quarter.
  • Rob Nonkovich and Jerod Mayo teamed up to stop Oakland RB Latavius Murray for no gain on third-and-1 at the Patriots' 29-yard line in the fourth quarter, forcing an Oakland punt on the next play and keeping momentum on the Patriots' side following a New England field foal drive.

LINEUP NOTES

DL MICHAEL BUCHANAN MADE HIS 2014 DEBUT
Michael Buchanan made his 2014 debut after missing the first two games due to injury.

TE ROB GRONKOWSKI MAKES HIS FIRST START OF 2014
TE Rob Gronkowski made his first start of the 2014 season.

BRANDON LAFELL MADE HIS FIRST AS A PATRIOT
WR Brandon LaFell was in the starting lineup for the first time as a member of the Patriots.

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