Sunday, November 20, 2005
Gillette Stadium (68,756)
1:00 p.m. EST
The AFC East leaders return home this week to square off against the Saints in Foxborough. New England will hope to solidify its lead atop the division and maintain momentum by putting together back-to-back victories for the first time this season. New Orleans will visit Foxborough for the first time since Nov. 25, 2001, when the Patriots defeated the Saints to begin a nine-game season-ending winning streak that culminated in the Super Bowl XXXVI championship.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast to a regional audience by the Fox Network and can be seen in Boston on WFXT Channel 25. Ron Pitts will handle play-byplay duties and will be joined by analyst Tim Ryan.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found by clicking here. Play-byplay broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 29th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 22nd season as a broadcast tandem.
MARDI GRAS BEADS TO RAISE FUNDS FOR HURRICANE RELIEF
Fans attending this week's Patriots-Saints game will be given a set of Mardi Gras beads for each $5 donation to the Fidelity Investments Children's Learning Fund, a charity that gives grants and donations to schools who are educating students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Stands will be set up around the stadium on Sunday for fans wishing to participate. In addition to a strand of Patriots-colored silver or blue Mardi Gras beads, fans who make a $5 donation will receive a raffle ticket good for a chance to win Patriots prizes, such as autographed Patriots gear, club seats or field privileges, at the conclusion of the first, second and third quarters. In addition to the funds donated by fans on game day, the Patriots Charitable Foundation will make a matching donation for the first $75,000 raised in the effort. Every dollar raised will provide education assistance to the more than 10,000 students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
MAJOR MILESTONE IN SIGHT
With his next catch, wide receiver Troy Brown will become just the second player in Patriots history to record 500 career receptions. The 13th-year veteran enters this week's game with 499 career catches, a total that ranks second on the team's alltime receiving list. Stanley Morgan is the Patriots' all-time leading receiver and the only player in team history to have caught more than 500 passes. Morgan recorded 534 career receptions from 1977-89. Brown, who joined the Patriots as an eighthround draft choice in 1993, owns the top two single-season receiving performances in team history, catching a franchise-record 101 passes in 2001 and then grabbing 97 passes in 2002.
The Patriots will square off with the New Orleans Saints in the regular season for the first time in four years. Before this week's game, the last time the teams tangled in the regular season was on Nov. 25, 2001, when the 5-5 Patriots beat the Saints at Foxboro Stadium to start a nine-game season-ending winning streak that culminated in a Super Bowl victory in New Orleans over the St. Louis Rams. This week marks the first time New Orleans has traveled to Gillette Stadium for a regular-season game, but it also marks the second time that the Saints are appearing in Foxborough in 2005. New Orleans and New England played at Gillette Stadium in the 2005 preseason, with the Saints claiming a 37-27 victory on Aug. 18. The last time the Patriots played a team at home in both the preseason and the regular season was in 2003, when they took both games from the New York Giants. The inter-conference foes will meet for just the third time in the last 10 seasons, with the Patriots riding a twogame winning streak after capturing contests in 1998 and 2001. The series dates back to 1972, when the Patriots claimed a 17-10 victory at Tulane Stadium as Jim Plunkett threw a pair of touchdowns and the Patriots defense intercepted Saints signal caller Archie Manning three times.
- Both of the Saints coordinators worked as assistants on Bill Belichick's Cleveland Browns staff for two seasons. Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi was Cleveland's linebackers coach (1994-95), and Saints offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard was Cleveland's tight ends coach (1993- 1994).
- Patriots running back Kevin Faulk was born in Lafayette, La. and attended LSU from 1995-98. He finished his collegiate career ranked fifth in NCAA history with 6,833 career allpurpose yards and had 53 total touchdowns.
- Patriots defensive lineman Jarvis Green was born in Donaldsonville, La. and attended LSU from 1998-2001. He finished his career at LSU ranked fourth on the school's career list with 20 sacks.
- Patriots cornerback Randall Gay was raised in Brusly, La and attended LSU from 2000-03, winning a national title with the Tigers in 2003.
- Patriots defensive end Marquise Hill was born in New Orleans, La. and attended LSU from 2001-03. He was also a member of the 2003 national championship team.
- Patriots linebacker Don Davis played for the Saints for three seasons (1996-1998).
- Patriots strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik spent three years with the Saints (1997-99).
- Saints running back Antowain Smith played three years for the Patriots and won two Super Bowls (2001-03).
- Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour and Saints defensive end Charles Grant were teammates at Georgia from 1999-2000.
- Patriots linebacker Chad Brown and Saints punter Mitch Berger were teammates at the University of Colorado in 1992.
- Patriots cornerback Randall Gay (2000) and Patriots defensive end Jarvis Green (1998-2000) were teammates of Saints cornerback Fred Booker at LSU.
- Patriots linebacker Monty Beiselwas a teammate of Saints tight end Shad Meier (1997-2000), Saints defensive end Darren Howard (1997-99) and Saints guard Kendyl Jacox (1997) at Kansas State.
- Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour (2000) and Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson (2000-02) were teammates of Saints defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan at the University of Georgia.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Saints running back Anthony Thomas were teammates at the University of Michigan from 1997-99.
- Patriots wide receiver David Givens and Saints linebacker Courtney Watson were teammates at the University of Notre Dame from 2000-01.
- Patriots tight end Christian Fauria was a teammate of Saints linebackers coach Winston Moss (1995-97) and Saints defensive back Fred Thomas (1996-99) with the Seattle Seahawks.
- Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie was coached by Saints quarterbacks coach Turk Schonert from 1998-2000, when Schoenert was the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills.
- Saints rookie linebacker Alfred Fincher is from Norwood, Mass. and attended UConn from 2001-04.
- Patriots tight ends coach Pete Mangurian and Saints defensive assistant/cornerbacks coach Greg Brown were both on the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff during the 2001 season.
- Patriots asst. head coach / offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi were both members of the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff from 1989-90. Venturi and Patriots strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik were both on the Saints coaching staff from 1997-99.
PATRIOTS IN NEW ORLEANS
The Patriots have played in three Super Bowls in New Orleans at the Louisiana Superdome. New England has reached the Super Bowl three of the last four times the game has been played in New Orleans. The 1985 Patriots qualified for the first Super Bowl in team history, but lost to the Chicago Bears, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX. In the 1996 season, the Patriots reached their second Super Bowl in the Crescent City and fell to the Green Bay Packers, 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI. New England returned to the Big Easy following the 2001 season for Super Bowl XXXVI and defeated the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, to claim the first NFL title in team history.
LET'S PLAY TWO
The Patriots are 4-1 in their last five regular-season games against teams they also played in the preseason. New England played the Saints in the 2005 preseason, with New Orleans taking a 37-27 victory at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 18. This week's game marks the seventh time the Patriots will have a regular season game against a preseason opponent since Head Coach Bill Belichick arrived in Foxborough in 2000. Following this week's game, New England will have played a preseason opponent in the regular season in five of Belichick's six seasons at the helm.
HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF EFFORTS
New England Patriots and their players have had a role in the Gulf Coast region's recovery in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Some of the Patriots' initiatives are detailed below.
New England Patriots Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund: Through its charitable foundation, the team established a fund to give fans the opportunity to make financial contributions to relief efforts. The effort raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, 100 percent of which is being distributed to non-profit agencies directly supporting relief efforts. For each $1,000 donation, the Kraft family and the Patriots rewarded the donor with one lower seating bowl ticket to the Patriots' regular-season opener.
Patriots Employee Matching Program: To encourage contributions by players, coaches and staff members to sanctioned non-profit organizations assisting relief efforts, the Kraft family and the Patriots pledged to make matching donations for the first $100,000 raised.
Assisting Evacuees in New England: Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, a Louisiana native, led a group of Patriots on two trips to Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod to deliver donated toys and clothing to displaced families and to meet with over 700 evacuees staying at the base. Faulk encouraged his teammates to clean out their closets and donate gently used items, which were packed up and delivered to the evacuees.
The number of different players who have started at safety for
the Patriots this season (Eugene Wilson, Rodney Harrison, Guss
Scott, Randall Gay, Arturo Freeman, James Sanders, Michael
The number of consecutive weeks that the Patriots have had a
different starter at strong safety, heading into this week's game.
The number of different defensive backs who have seen time on
the Patriots roster since the beginning of the 2004 season (not
including LB Don Davis or WR Troy Brown, both of whom have
seen action in the secondary since 2004).
The number of different defensive backs who have been on the
Patriots roster in 2005.
The number of different players who have started in the
secondary through nine games in 2005.
The number of defensive backs currently on injured reserve for
the Patriots (Rodney Harrison, Tyrone Poole, Guss Scott, Chad
Scott, Duane Starks).
The number of passes Tom Brady has thrown for 25 yards or
more this season, a mark that leads the NFL. Jake Delhomme
(CAR) and Eli Manning (NYG) are tied for second with 20 passes
of 25 yards or more.
The number of passing yards Brady has accumulated in 2005,
leading the NFL (prior to the PHI-DAL game on Nov. 14).
Brady's passer rating in 2005, a mark that would eclipse his
single-season career high (92.6) set in 2004.
The Patriots single-season record for highest passer rating in a
season, set by Tony Eason in 1984.
The number of yards Brady is on pace to throw for in 2005, a
number that would shatter his career high (3,764 yards) set in
the 2002 season.
The Patriots single-season record for passing yardage, set by
Drew Bledsoe in 1994.
The number of plays the Patriots have run this season that have
gained 20 yards or more, tying them with the Seattle Seahawks
for the second most in the NFL (NYG, 38).
The number of passes the Patriots have completed that have
gained 20 yards or more, a mark that is tied for the NFL lead
with the Arizona Cardinals.
The number of touchdown passes of more than 30 yards that
the Patriots have completed this season, a mark that is tied for
eighth in the NFL.
The number of different receivers that have caught the Patriots'
six big-play touchdown passes (Deion Branch, Tim Dwight,
Daniel Graham, Bethel Johnson, Benjamin Watson).
The number of receptions needed by Troy Brown to reach 500
receptions for his career. The 13th-year Patriot enters this
week's game with 499 career receptions and can join Stanley
Morgan (534 receptions, 1977-89) as the only two players in
team history to record 500 or more career catches.
The number of points needed by kicker Adam Vinatieri to
become the Patriots' all-time leading scorer. His current career
total is 1,115 points. Gino Cappelletti (1960-70) holds the
franchise record with 1,130 points.
The number of receptions needed by Deion Branch to set a
single-season career high. Branch enters this week's game with
50 receptions and set a career high with 57 receptions in 2003.
The number of receptions needed by David Givens to set a
single-season career high. Givens enters this week's game with
42 receptions and set a career high with 56 receptions in 2004.
The number of sacks needed by Willie McGinest (74.5 sacks) to
pass Julius Adams (79.5 sacks) for second place on the team's
all-time sacks list.
The average distance traveled by Josh Miller's 48 punts this
season, a mark that ranks third in the NFL and second in the
Miller's career high for single-season punting average, set in
1999 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The net average for Miller's punts (subtracting average return
yardage from average punt distance), a mark that is tied for
third in the NFL.
Miller's career high net average, set in 1999 with the Pittsburgh
Consecutive games in which Adam Vinatieri has played,
establishing the second longest streak in team history. He trails
only Raymond Clayborn's franchise record (161). Vinatieri has
not missed a game in his 10-year career.
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at
quarterback, the longest consecutive starts streak on the team.
Consecutive games in which Dan Koppen has started at center,
the second longest starting streak on the team.
Consecutive games in which Willie McGinest has started at
outside linebacker, the longest consecutive starts streak on the
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including
preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason,
regular-season and postseason games.
NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.