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Game Notes: Patriots remain undefeated at home against Houston

TEAM NOTES

- Patriots remain undefeated at home against Houston. 

- Bill Belichick passes Tom Landry for sole possession of third in regular season wins.

- Brady wins his 13th kickoff weekend game, tied for the most all-time. 

- The McCourty brothers became the first set of twins to play together on the same team since 1926 when Gene and Tom Golsen suited up together for the Louisville Colonels. Hours later, the Griffin twins (Shaquill and Shaquem) also took the field together for the Seattle Seahawks. 

UNBELEMISHED RECORD 

The Patriots remain undefeated at home against Houston in the regular season after the 27-20 win improved the team to a 5-0 home record against the Texans. The Texans are one of four teams against which the Patriots own an undefeated regular season home record (5-0). The Patriots are 5-0 against Baltimore, 4-0 against Chicago and 4-0 against Jacksonville. The patriots are also 2-0 against Houston in the postseason. 

THE PATRIOTS IMPROVE TO 78 STRAIGHT HOME WINS WHEN LEADING BY 10 PLUS AT HALFTIME

Including the postseason, the Patriots have now won 78 straight home games when leading by 10 or more points at halftime after securing a 21-6 halftime lead against Houston in a 27-20 win. It is the longest such streak in NFL history. Pittsburgh (1946-87) had a streak of 76 games. The last time the Patriots lost a game with a 10-plus lead at halftime at home was when they failed to hold onto a 13-3 halftime lead in a 16-13 overtime loss on Dec. 27, 1992 vs. Miami. 

PATRIOTS SCORE AT LEAST 27 AGAINST HOUSTON FOR 10TH STRAIGHT GAME

The Patriots have scored at least 27 points against Houston for the 10th straight game, including the postseason. The Patriots beat Houston 23-20 in overtime in their first ever meeting on Nov. 23, 2003, the lowest offensive output in the series.

DEFENSE HOLDS OPPONENT UNDER 20 FOR EIGHTH STRAIGHT GAME AT HOME

The Patriots defense held its opponent under 20 points for the eighth straight game at home, including the postseason. 

PATRIOTS SCORE IN FINAL MINUTE OF THE FIRST HALF 

The Patriots scored in the final minute of the first half when QB Tom Brady connected with WR Phillip Dorsett on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds to play in the first half. The Patriots scored in the final minute of the first half 11 times in 2017. 

PATRIOTS BLOCK A PUNT 

RB Jeremy Hill blocked a second quarter punt. It is the first blocked punt since RB Rex Burkhead blocked a punt at Denver on Nov. 12, 2017.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES  

BELICHICK MOVES PAST LANDRY FOR MOST REGULAR SEASON WINS 

Bill Belichick now has 251 regular season wins to move past Tom Landry for third all-time, behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318). 

BRADY IS GOOD AT 40+; NOW HAS MOST WINS BY A QB OVER 40 

Brady already has the most passing yards and the most wins in a single season by a quarterback at the age of 40, and his 14 wins overall since turning 40 (13 in 2017 and 1 in 2018) are now the most wins overall ever by a quarterback over the age of 40. 

BRADY TIES MANNING WITH MOST OPENING DAY WINS WITH 13

Tom Brady is 13-3 as a starting quarterback on opening day, the best winning percentage among any quarterback on opening day in the Super Bowl era and tied with Peyton Manning for the most opening days wins. 

BRADY NEARING THE TOP FOR MOST WINS AMONG ALL NFL PLAYERS

Tom Brady has the most wins by an NFL quarterback with 224 overall career wins. His 224 wins are the second-most wins all-time by an NFL player, behind the 225 wins by Adam Vinatieri.

BRADY IN 19TH SEASON TO JOIN FIVE OTHERS WITH AT LEAST 19 YEARS WITH ONE TEAM

Brady is now in his 19th season with the Patriots. He joins Jim Marshall (19-Minnesota), Bruce Matthews (19-Houston/Tennessee), Darrell Green (20-Washington), Jackie Slater (20-LA Rams) and Jason Hanson (21-Detroit) as the only players with at least 19 seasons played with one NFL team. 

BRADY HAS THROWN TOUCHDOWN PASSES TO 69 DIFFERENT PLAYERS; SECOND PLACE FOR TD TARGETS BY A QB 

Tom Brady connected with WR Phillip Dorsett on a 4-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Brady has thrown a touchdown pass to 69 different players in the regular season, one behind Vinny Testaverde who threw a touchdown to 70 different players.

BRADY THREW THREE TDS IN THE FIRST HALF FOR THE 18TH TIME IN HIS CAREER

Brady threw three touchdowns in the first half for the 18th time in his career and for the second straight time against Houston. When the two teams met on Sept. 24, 2017, Brady threw three of his five touchdowns in the first half. The Patriots are 17-1 in those games with the only loss coming on Sept. 25, 2011 at Buffalo. Brady had two games in 2017 with three touchdowns in the first half. In addition to the Houston game, he also accomplished the feat at New Orleans on Sept. 17, 2017. 

BRADY IS GOOD IN IN THE CLOSING MINUTES

Brady helped lead an 8-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass to WR Phillip Dorsett with 19 seconds to play in the first half. Since 2015, Brady has 15 TD passes and 0 INTs in the last 2 minutes of both halves (17-0 if you include postseason)

MCCOURTY BROTHERS MAKE HISTORY 

The McCourty brothers became the second set of twins in NFL history to play together on the same field. They join Gene and Tom Golsen, who played together in 1926 for the Louisville Colonels. Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin of Seattle also aim to accomplish the unique occurrence on kickoff weekend. The McCourtys were lined up next two each other during the Patriots first kickoff in the first quarter. 

WR PHILLIP DORESETT HAS HIS FIRST TD PASS AS A PATRIOT

WR Phillip Dorsett caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from QB Tom Brady in the second quarter, his first touchdown pass as a member of the Patriots. 

DORSETT SETS CAREER HIGH IN RECEPTIONS

Dorsett finished the game with seven receptions, a single-game high. His previous high was five receptions vs. Kansas City on Oct. 30, 2016 when he played for Indianapolis.  

RB JEREMY HILL BLOCKS A PUNT

RB Jeremy Hill got his hand on a second quarter punt

GRONKOWSKI SCORES AND THE PATS WIN

TE Rob Gronkowski scored on a 21-yard pass from QB Tom Brady in the first quarter. The Patriots have now won 25 straight games at home (including the postseason) when Gronkowski scores at least one touchdown. The last time the team lost at home when Gronkowski scores was on Sept. 16, 2012 vs. Arizona. 

GRONKOWSKI ENTERS THE TOP 20 FOR RECEPTIONS BY A TIGHT END 

Gronkowski entered this week with 474 career receptions and needed five receptions to move into the top 20 among receptions for tight ends. He caught seven passes and now has 481 to move past Delanie Walker (479), Owen Daniels (479) and Jackie Smith (480) into 18th on the all-time list. 

GRONK GOES OVER 100 YARDS 

TE Rob Gronkowski finished with seven receptions for 123 yards for his 27th 100-yard game of his career. The only tight end with more 100-yard games than Gronkowski is Tony Gonzalez with 31. It was also Gronkowski’s first 100-yard game on kickoff weekend. 

BRADY AND GRONK CONNECTIONS 

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady connected on a 21-yard touchdown in the first quarter for their 76th touchdown connection, the second-most touchdown connections between a quarterback and a tight end. 

GRONK PLAYS DEFENSE

Gronkowski entered the game on defense for the final play. It marked the fifth time that he has played a snap on defense and the first time since the Patriots game against Houston on Sept. 24, 2017.

RB JAMES WHITE CATCHES TD PASSES; LEADS ALL RUNNING BACK SINCE 2015

RB James White scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from QB Tom Brady in the second quarter. It marked his 13th receiving touchdown since 2015, the most by a running back in the NFL during that time. It is the third-most by a Patriots running back, behind Larry Garron (26) and Kevin Faulk (15).

CB STEPHON GILMORE WITH THE PICK IN THE END ZONE

CB Stephon Gilmore picked off Houston QB Deshaun Watson in the end zone in the second quarter. It is his second pick in as many games against Houston. Last season, Gilmore had a second quarter pick of Watson that helped set up a Patriots touchdown.

LINEUP NOTES

NEW FACES

The Patriots have 13 players that are new to the team in 2018

2018 Draft Picks – RB Sony Michel, LB Ja’Whuan Betley and DB Keion Crossen

2019 rookie free agents – DB J.C. Jackson 

First-Year Player – WR Riley McCarron 

Veteran free agents – OL Trent Brown, DL Adrian Clayborn, WR Chad Hansen, RB Jeremy Hill, DB Jason McCourty, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, OL Brian Schwenke and DL Danny Shelton. 

Of that group, eight saw action in the game against Houston.  

DL KEIONTA DAVIS AND WR RILEY MCCARRON SEE FIRST NFL ACTION

DL Keionta Davis, who spent the 2017 season on the non-football injury/reserve list and WR Riley McCarron, who spent last season on the practice squad, played in their first NFL games. 

LB DONT’A HIGHTOWER MAKES RETURN 

LB Dont’a Hightower made his return to action after being limited to five games last year due to injury. Hightower recovered a fumble at the 19-yard line to help set up the team’s first touchdown. 

2018 FIFTH-ROUND DRAFT PICK LB JA’WHAUN BENTLEY STARTS

2018 fifth-round draft pick LB Ja’Whaun Bentley was in the starting lineup at linebacker. He is the 21st rookie to start in his first game under Bill Belichick.

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