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How they Got Here: Patriots 2014 Regular Season (Weeks 9-13)

Look back at how the Patriots earned the top seed in the AFC.

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GAME 9: BRONCOS AT PATRIOTS


FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 43, BRONCOS 21

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

While the rest of the Patriots secondary was mixing and matching in terms of their assignments, Arrington appeared to lock up with Welker exclusively and was in his shirt on virtually every play. Welker was similarly a non-factor in the two matchups last year as Arrington appeared to know his every move on his various routes between the numbers. At times Welker appeared to be confused and reacted late to passes thrown his way, and in the second half he had a bad drop that led to Brandon Browner's interception. - Paul Perillo   MORE>>

After a couple quiet weeks and few drops that had some wondering if Edelman might be banged up, JE11 bounced back in a big way. Edelman had nine catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also continued his resurgent season as a punt returner, taking his only attempt of the night back 84 yards for a touchdown. - Andy Hart   MORE>>

On a day that started out snowy – yes, snowfall just two days after Halloween – it must have been an omen. Manning historically plays poorly in cold weather, while Brady excels in it. Ironically, though, neither team could run the ball effectively all day, and through a stiff wind, both QBs threw the ball all over the field. - Erik Scalavino   MORE>>

The Images:

Team photographer, David Silverman, offers his best from the Patriots-Broncos game at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 2, 2014.

GAME 10: PATRIOTS AT COLTS


FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 42, COLTS 20

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

In what has become a common occurrence of late the Patriots got great performances by linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins. Both were outstanding in coverage and tackled effectively around the line of scrimmage. For the second straight game the at times maligned run defense was outstanding, and Hightower and Collins were big parts of that. - Paul Perillo   MORE>>

In his third season but seeing his first stretch of playing time, the former undrafted rookie Gray had a breakout day, career game and just about everything else you could say about a positive performance. Gray finished with 38 carries for 201 yards and four touchdowns -- the first four of his career. He was the recipient of some great blocking up front, finding plenty of room to run before running into Colts defenders, as well as nice blocks by fullback James Develin and tight end Rob Gronkowski to spring a few runs. - Andy Hart   MORE>>

The Patriots didn't play a great game overall. Sounds funny, I know, when a team puts up 42 points on the road against a good opponent. The defense may have played slightly better than the offense, but the night belonged to Gray. *- Erik Scalavino * MORE>>

The Images:

Patriots team photographer, Keith Nordstrom, offers his best photos from the Patriots - Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, November 16, 2014.

GAME 11: LIONS AT PATRIOTS


FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 34, LIONS 9

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

There was a lot of pre-game speculation regarding how the Patriots would employ their secondary against the Lions and on the first snap it was Brandon Browner locked up with Calvin Johnson and Darrelle Revis on Golden Tate. Interestingly Matthew Stafford decided to target Revis to start and had some success, hitting Tate twice for 41 yards on the opening drive that ended in a field goal. Meanwhile Browner locked horns with Johnson, arguably the most dangerous receiver in the game, and he dominated. *- Paul Perillo * MORE>>

Nobody makes touchdowns look easier than Tim Wright. Of course it helps when you are not covered. Twice the Lions seemingly lost track of the tight end and allowed him to just wait in the end zone for an easy touchdown from Brady. Certainly his being that open is a product of some of his teammates, including Rob Gronkowski, but Wright takes advantage of his chances to put up points, among his five catches for 36 yards. *- Andy Hart * MORE>>

Players often like to say they "tune out the noise" when it comes to outside criticism, but clearly, they hear what's being said about them and use it as motivation. Co-captain Vince Wilfork admitted as much in his post-game remarks, which touched on the team's rough start to the season and impressive turnaround of late. - Erik Scalavino   MORE>>

The Images:

GAME 12: PATRIOTS AT PACKERS


FINAL SCORE: PACKERS 26, PATRIOTS 21

Full Highlights:

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PFW Analysis:

The Patriots managed to remain in the game thanks to some tremendous work in the red zone by the defense. The Packers had four trips inside the Patriots 20 and were forced to kick field goals each time. Dont'a Hightower came up with a huge sack to stop one drive and the secondary was locked in on several potential scoring plays to stymie others. - Paul Perillo   MORE>>

Logan Ryan wasn't the only third corner to struggle – Alfonzo Dennard had his own problems in his return to significant playing time in the second half – but he was the worst. Ryan was matched up with Davante Adams early on and Rodgers went right at him with impressive success. There were even a few incompletions mixed in where Ryan was beaten badly but the Packers didn't take advantage. - Andy Hart   MORE>>

New England doesn't have time to dwell on this loss, and perhaps and immediate departure from frigid Wisconsin to more mild southern California for the next week is just what they need. The team will work in San Diego for the next several days to prepare for another tough opponent, the Chargers, next Sunday night. - Erik Scalavino   MORE>>

The Images:

Team photographer, David Silverman, offers his best photos from the Patriots game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

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