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Game Notes: Patriots set team record with seventh defensive touchdown of the season

Game notes and records from Patriots PR.

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TEAM NOTES

  • Patriots score on defense for fourth straight week.
  • Patriots set team record with seventh defensive touchdown of the season.
  • S Kyle Dugger scores third defensive touchdown of the season.
  • LB Ja'Whaun Bentley sets career-high in tackles.
  • DB Devin McCourty plays in 204th NFL game.
  • Jonathan Jones set career-high with fourth pick of the season

PATRIOTS SCORE ON DEFENSE FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WEEK

The Patriots scored on defense for the fourth straight week after DB Kyle Dugger returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. It is the first time in team history that the Patriots have scored on defense in four straight weeks. The last NFL team to score in four straight weeks on defense was Tampa Bay in 2002.

PATRIOTS SCORE ON DEFENSE FOR SEVENTH TIME IN 2022 TO SET A TEAM RECORD

The Patriots scored on defense for the seventh time in 2022 to establish a team record. The Patriots scored on defense six times in 2003 (5 interceptions and 1 fumble return) and 2007 (3 interception returns and 3 fumble returns). It is the most defensive touchdowns in a season since the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars had seven defensive touchdowns.

PATRIOTS DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS IN 2022

1. DB Jack Jones returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown at Green Bay on Oct. 2

2. S Kyle Dugger returned a fumble 59 yards for a touchdown vs. Detroit on Oct. 9.

3. CB Jonathan Jones returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown vs. Indianapolis on Nov. 6.

4. LB Raekwon McMillan returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown at Arizona (12/12).

5. S Kyle Dugger returned an interception 13 yards for a touchdown at Las Vegas on Dec. 18.

6. DB Marcus Jones returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown vs. Cincinnati on Dec. 24.

7. S Kyle Dugger returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown vs. Miami on Jan. 1, 2023.

PATRIOTS RETURNED AN INTERCEPTION FOR A TOUCHDOWN FOR FIFTH TIME IN 2022

The Patriots have returned five interceptions for touchdowns so far in 2022 to tie a team record. The Patriots also returned five interceptions for touchdowns in 2001 and 2003.

PATRIOTS HAVE NFL-HIGH OF EIGHT NON-OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS

The Patriots have an NFL-leading eight non-offensive touchdowns in 2022 (5 interception returns, 2 fumble returns and 1 punt return). The team record for most non-offensive touchdowns in a season is nine in 2010 (4 interception returns, 2 kickoff returns, 1 punt return, 1 blocked field goal return and 1 fumble return) and 1961 (2 interception returns, 2 kickoff returns, 2 blocked punt returns and 3 fumble returns). The 2007 team also had eight non-offensive touchdowns (3 interception returns, 2 kickoff returns and 3 fumble returns).

PATRIOTS HAVE SECOND OPENING DRIVE SCORE OF THE 2022 SEASON

The Patriots scored on their opening drive of the game with a 10-play, 81-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from QB Mac Jones to WR Tyquan Thornton. It is the second time in 2022 that the Patriots scored on their first possession. On Thanksgiving night at Minnesota on No. 24, the Patriots capped a 5-play, 75-yard drive on their opening possession with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jones to WR Nelson Agholor.

WARM IN JANUARY

The game day temperature at kickoff was 51 degrees. The last time the Patriots played a home game in December or January with the temperature at 51 degrees or more was Dec. 2, 2018 vs. Minnesota when it was 53 degrees at kickoff.

PATRIOTS SNAP A FOUR-GAME LOSING STREAK AGAINST MIAMI

The Patriots snapped a four-game losing streak against Miami with the 23-21 victory.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

DUGGER SCORES THIRD TOUCHDOWN OF THE SEASON

DB Kyle Dugger scored his third touchdown of the season after returning a third quarter interception 39 yards for a touchdown. He is the first New England player since 1970 with three defensive touchdowns in a single season. He had a 59-yard fumble returned for a touchdown vs. Detroit on Oct. 9 and a 16-yard interception returned for a touchdown at Las Vegas on Dec. 18. The last NFL player with three defensive touchdowns in a season was Darius Slay of Philadelphia in 2021 with one interception returned for a touchdown and two fumbles returned for a touchdown.

DUGGER PLAYS ROLE IN FOUR OF THE SEVEN DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS

Dugger has played a major role in four of the seven defensive touchdowns. In addition to his pick-six against Miami, he returned a pick 16 yards for a touchdown at Las Vegas, returned a fumble 59 yards for a touchdown vs. Detroit and forced a fumble that LB Raekwon McMillan returned 23 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter at Arizona.

MCCOURTY TIES STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI FOR FIFTH IN GAMES PLAYED

DB Devin McCourty tied former Patriots placekicker Stephen Gostkowski for fifth in team history with his 204th game played as a member of the Patriots.

BENTLEY SETS CAREER-HIGH IN TACKLES

LB Ja'Whaun Bentley had a team-leading 9 tackles to increase his 2022 season total to 115 tackles, a single-season career high. His previous high was the 108 total tackles he had in 2021.

SLATER'S SPECIAL

Team Captain Matthew Slater had two special teams tackles to increase his 2022 total to 12 special teams tackles. He has recorded at least 10 special teams tackles for a season for the 11th time.

MAC JONES HAS SECOND BEST COMPLETION PERCENTAGE IN FIRST TWO SEASONS

QB Mac Jones completed 20-of-33 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and now has a 66.5 completion percentage through his first two seasons. If that number stands, it will be the second-highest in a quarterback's first two NFL seasons behind the 68.2 completion percentage Joe Burrow recorded in 2020 and 2021.

RHAMONDRE STEVENSON NEARING 1,000 YARDS

RB Rhamondre Stevenson added 42 rushing yards and now has 986 rushing yards and needs 14 yards to reach 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career. It would be the first 1,000-yard season for a New England Patriots player since 2016 when LeGarrette Blount rushed for 1,161 yards and the 17th time in team history that a player has reached 1,000 yards rushing in a season.

JONATHAN JONES SETS CAREER-HIGH WITH FOURTH INTERCEPTION

DB Jonathan Jones intercepted Miami QB Skylar Thompson in the fourth quarter for his fourth interception of the season, a new single-season career-high. He had three interceptions in 2018.

TYQUAN THORNTON HAS TWO 20-YARD RECEPTIONS

WR Tyquan Thornton had two receptions of more than 20 yards with a 24-yard pass from QB Mac Jones in the first quarter and 29-yard reception in the third quarter for his two longest receptions. His previous best was a 21-yard reception at Cleveland on Oct. 16. Thornton finished with 3 receptions for a team-leading 60 yards.

THORNTON HAS SECOND TOUCHDOWN RECEPTION OF 2022

Thornton capped a 10-play, 81-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown reception from Jones. It marked his second receiving touchdown of the season and his first from Jones. He had a 2-yard touchdown reception from QB Bailey Zappe at Cleveland on Oct. 16.

MYLES BRYANT RETURNED PUNTS

Myles Bryant returned punts in place of Marcus Jones, who was inactive. Bryant returned punts for the first three weeks of the season before Jones took over. Bryant had two punt returns for 10 yards against Miami.

PIERRE STRONG JR RETURNED KICKS

RB Pierre Strong Jr. lined up to return kicks in place of Jones. He had a 21-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.

LINEUP NOTES

  • RB Damien Harris returned to action after missing four games due to injury. He had 9 rushing attempts for 32 yards and caught 3 passes for 18 yards.
  • DB Tae Hayes made his debut in a New England uniform after being signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. He had 2 solo tackles.
  • DB Quandre Mosely made his NFL debut after being elevated to the active roster.
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