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Patriot-Jets Game Notes

Patriots at JetsDecember 20, 2003BIG MAC ATTACKWillie McGinest picked off a Chad Pennington pass and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give New England a 14-7 lead. It was the third interception of McGinest’s career and his second returned for a touchdown (46 yards vs.

Patriots at Jets
December 20, 2003

BIG MAC ATTACK
Willie McGinest picked off a Chad Pennington pass and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give New England a 14-7 lead. It was the third interception of McGinest's career and his second returned for a touchdown (46 yards vs. Buffalo, 10/27/96). McGinest now has four touchdowns in his career (two interception returns, two fumble returns). McGinest also sacked Chad Pennington in the fourth quarter, giving him five sacks this season and 62 for his career (fourth on the Patriots' all-time list).

DEFENSIVE SCORING
Willie McGinest's interception returned for a touchdown was the fifth pick the Patriots have returned for a score this season, tying a team record set in 2001. New England has a total of six defensive touchdowns this season, leading the NFL. Not including tonight's game, the Patriots are 11-2 in their last 13 games with a defensive touchdown, including a 5-0 mark this season.

2003 PATRIOTS DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS

DateOpp.PlayerScoring PlayResult
12/20/03atNYJWillie McGinest15-yd. INT returnW, 21-16
12/07/03MIATedy Bruschi5-yd. INT returnW, 12-0
10/12/03NYGMatt Chatham38-yd. fumble rec.W, 17-6
10/05/03TENTy Law65-yd. INT returnW, 38-30
09/21/03NYJAsante Samuel55-yd. INT returnW, 23-16
09/14/03atPHITedy Bruschi18-yd. INT returnW, 31-10

QUICK STRIKE
Tom Brady hit David Givens for a 35-yard touchdown on the Patriots' first offensive play of the game, right after Tedy Bruschi's interception on the Jets' second offensive play of the game. It marks the second consecutive game the Patriots have scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession. Prior to last week's game against Jacksonville, the last time the Patriots scored a touchdown on their opening drive was against Minnesota on Nov. 24, 2002.

GIVENS GRABS TDs
David Givens caught a career-high two touchdown passes tonight, giving him a team-leading five receiving touchdowns this season. Givens is tied with Michael Cloud for the team lead with five total touchdowns. Givens is the second Patriot receiver to catch two touchdowns in a game this season, joining Christian Fauria's two-touchdown performance on Sept. 14, 2003.

FULL TILT, FULL TIME
Tedy Bruschi set a career-high with his third interception of the season when he picked off Chad Pennington's second pass of the game. The pick broke Bruschi's NFL-record string of four consecutive interceptions returned for a touchdown. The last time Bruschi picked off a pass and did not return it for a touchdown was on Nov. 18, 2001 against the St. Louis Rams, when he intercepted a Kurt Warner pass and returned it four yards. Bruschi now has eight career interceptions and has returned four of them for touchdowns.

ABLE VRABEL
Mike Vrabel sacked Chad Pennington twice tonight, marking his fourth multiple-sack game of the season and giving him a career-high and team-leading 9.5 sacks. He dropped Pennington for a 7-yard loss at the Jets' 6-yard line late in the first quarter, then forced him to fumble on a one-yard sack in the third quarter (the Jets recovered the ball). Vrabel's 9.5 sacks are the highest sack total for any Patriot in the Bill Belichick era. The last time a Patriot had 9.5 or more sacks in a season was in 1996, when Willie McGinest also notched 9.5 sacks.

MOVING ON UP
Tom Brady passed the 10,000-yard mark for his career with an 18-yard completion to Deion Branch in the third quarter. Brady is the fifth Patriots passer to reach the 10,000-yard milestone (Bledsoe, Grogan, Parilli, Eason). Brady also passed Jim Plunkett to move into fifth place on the Patriots' all-time passing yardage list. Brady's 7-yard completion to Troy Brown in the second quarter gave him 9,934 yards for his career, passing Plunkett's mark of 9,932 yards.

HUNDRED-YARD DAY
Antowain Smith ran for 121 yards tonight, recording the 13th 100-yard game of his career. It is the first time the Patriots have had a 100-yard rusher in 22 games. The last time a Patriot ran for more than 100 yards was on Nov. 3, 2002, when Smith ran for 111 yards at Buffalo.

TURNING OVER WINS
With their five interceptions tonight, the Patriots have recorded 37 takeaways this season. It's the highest number of takeaways by a Patriots team since 1994 (40 takeaways).

PICK PARTY
The Patriots recorded five interceptions off of Chad Pennington tonight. It is the second time this season the Patriots have recorded four or more interceptions in a game, with both games coming against New York teams. New England also recorded four picks against Kerry Collins of the New York Giants on Oct. 12, 2003. After Eugene Wilson's fourth-quarter pick, the Patriots have 27 interceptions this season, the most by any Patriots team since 1964 and the third-most in team history (31 in 1964 and 29 in 1963).

LAW AND ORDER
Ty Law grabbed his sixth interception of the season, tying him with Tyrone Poole for the team lead. It was the 35th interception of Law's career and he now needs one more pick to tie Raymond Clayborn's all-time franchise mark (36 picks). Law set a single-season career high in 1998 with nine interceptions.

RECORD SUCCESS
With tonight's 21-16 win over the Jets, the Patriots are…

28-2 under Bill Belichick when scoring 21 points or more

24-4 after Nov. 1 since 2001

13-3 in their last 16 games against AFC East teams.

PLAYOFF SCENARIOS
The Patriots can clinch a first-round bye if Indianapolis loses to Denver on Sunday night. New England can earn homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over Buffalo next week.

HOT WHEN IT'S COLD
At kickoff tonight, the temperature was 30 degrees with a 20-degree wind chill. Since 1993, the Patriots are now 14-2 when the kickoff temperature is below 35 degrees (including tonight's game). This is the third consecutive game the Patriots have played in below-freezing temperatures (25 degrees vs. Jacksonville and 28 degrees vs. Miami).

COLDEST GAMES SINCE 1993 (13-2)

Date Opp.Temp NotesW/LScore
12/26/93IND19Wind Chill -21W38-0
12/21/96at NYG24Wind Chill 18W23-22
12/14/03JAX25Wind Chill 16W27-13
01/19/02OAK*25SnowW16-13 ot
12/10/95NYJ26Wind Chill -4W31-28
01/12/97JAX*27Wind Chill 0W20-6
12/07/03MIA28Wind Chill 17W12-0
12/20/03atNYJ30Wind Chill 20W21-16
12/24/00MIA31Wind Chill 17L24-27
11/26/95at BUF33FlurriesW35-25
12/16/01at BUF34Wind Chill 17W12-9 ot
12/12/93CIN34Wind Chill 10W7-2
12/17/00at BUF35Snow/W.Chill 6W16-13 ot
11/23/97MIA35Flurries/DrizzleW27-24
12/28/97MIA*35Wind Chill 22W17-3
01/01/95at CLE*35Wind Chill 20L13-20
*-playoffs
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