WHAT A RUSH
New England totaled 238 yards rushing on 41 carries, marking their highest team rushing total in 13 seasons. The last time the Patriots had as many as 238 yards on the ground was on Dec. 26, 1993, when they gained 257 yards on 58 carries against the Indianapolis Colts in a 38-0 victory at Foxboro Stadium. The 200-plus yards on the ground against Cincinnati marked the Patriots' first 200-yard rushing game since Dec. 5, 2004, when New England ran for 225 yards on 50 carries against the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals game marked the third time in the Bill Belichick coaching era (2000-present) that the Patriots have totaled more than 200 yards rushing in a game. The other two occurrences came in 2004.
Laurence Maroney ran for 125 yards on 15 carries (8.3 avg), marking the highest rushing total by a Patriots rookie in nearly eight years, since Robert Edwards ran for 196 yards on 24 carries at St. Louis on Dec. 13, 1998. Maroney also recorded the first 100-yard rushing game by a Patriots rookie since Edwards in 1998. Additionally, Maroney's 41-yard run in the third quarter was the Patriots' longest rush in nearly two years, since Corey Dillon ran for a 44-yard gain against the New York Jets on Oct. 24, 2004.
MARONEY IN THE ZONE
First-round draft choice Laurence Maroney scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 11 and 25 yards. Maroney is the first Patriots rookie to rush for multiple touchdowns in a game since Curtis Martin did it five times in 1995.
Maroney also became the first Patriots rookie to score multiple rushing touchdowns in a season since Robert Edwards ran for nine touchdowns in 1998. Maroney's second touchdown, a 25-yarder, was the Patriots' longest touchdown run since Kevin Faulk scored on a 45-yard touchdown run at Buffalo on Nov. 3, 2002. The touchdowns give Maroney a total of three touchdowns in his four-game NFL career, including a 1-yard scoring run in the Patriots' 24-17 victory over the New York Jets on Sept. 17.
MOVING ON UP
With his 12-yard run in the third quarter, Corey Dillon moved into 15th place on the NFL's all-time rushing list, passing Ricky Watters' mark of 10,643 yards. Following that run, Dillon had 2,471 rushes for 10,649 yards in his 10-year career. O.J. Simpson currently ranks 14th on the all-time list, totaling 11,236 yards over 11 seasons from 1969-79. Dillon has more career rushing yards than any other active running back and is the only active player to own more than 10,000 career rushing yards.
Tom Brady improved his career record as a starter to 17-1 on turf, 10-1 against AFC North and 2-0 against Cincinnati.
With the win over Cincinnati, the Patriots extended their streak to 53 games without back-to-back losses. That streak ties Denver (1976-79) for second longest streak since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and guarantees that they will get to 54 games and have the second-longest all-time streak. The San Francisco 49ers hold the post-merger record, going 60 games without losing two in a row from 1995-99. The last time New England lost back-to-back games was in December, 2002, when they dropped contests at Tennessee (12/16/02) and against the New York Jets (12/22/02).
Jarvis Green had a career-high three sacks for 30 yards, becoming the first Patriots player to record three or more sacks in a regular-season game since Mike Vrabel had three sacks against Cleveland in a 9-6 win at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 26, 2003. Green's previous career high was 2.5 sacks, achieved against Indianapolis in the 2003 AFC Championship Game. On Green's first sack of the day, he dropped Cincinnati's Carson Palmer for a 10-yard loss, forced him to fumble on the play and recovered the ball himself at the Bengals' 13-yard line in the fourth quarter. The strip-sack set up Corey Dillon's 1-yard touchdown plunge that gave the Patriots a 31-13 lead. The takeaway marked the fourth forced fumble of Green's career and also the fourth fumble recovery of his career. Green also had sacks of nine yards and 11 yards in a three-play span in the fourth quarter.
FAULK'S PUNT RETURN
Kevin Faulk's 43-yard punt return in the second quarter was New England's longest punt return since Troy Brown returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown in the 2001 regular-season finale at Carolina on Jan. 6, 2002. The punt return was the longest of Faulk's career, besting his 35-yard return against Kansas City on Dec. 4, 2000 at Foxboro Stadium. Faulk's 43-yard return came on his 65th career punt return. Faulk has never returned a punt for a touchdown, but owns two career kickoff returns for touchdowns to go along with 10 career rushing touchdowns and nine career receiving touchdowns.
GABRIEL GETS THE TOUCHDOWN
Wide receiver Doug Gabriel scored a touchdown for the second consecutive week, hauling in a 25-yard score from Tom Brady in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 14-6 lead. Gabriel had scored a total of five touchdowns in his first 43 career games (all with Oakland) and his last two scores mark the first time in his career he has scored touchdowns in back-to-back games.
New England began a second-quarter touchdown drive at the Cincinnati 42-yard line following Kevin Faulk's 43-yard punt return. It marked just the second time this season that New England began a drive in its opponents' territory. The Patriots took advantage of the field position to drive 42 yards on six plays to take a 14-6 lead on a 25-yard touchdown catch by Doug Gabriel. The other drive this season that New England began in opponents' territory was against the New York Jets on Sept. 17 and also resulted in a touchdown, when the Patriots took over at New York's 45-yard line and went 45 yards on seven plays, ending in a 1-yard scoring run by Laurence Maroney.
LONG RUN FOR BRADY
Tom Brady scrambled for a 22-yard run on third-and-13 in the third quarter, recording the longest run of his career. His previous career-long run was 15 yards, which he accomplished on two occasions – at Kansas City on Nov. 27, 2005 and against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 22, 2002.
- Patriots have now won five of their last six road games in the regular season.
- Chad Scott reached in to bat down a Carson Palmer pass intended for Chad Johnson in the first quarter.
- Wide receiver Troy Brown participated on defense as an extra defensive back on occasion.
- Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain's 16-yard kickoff return in the first quarter was his third career kickoff return, having recorded one return in both 2004 and 2005.
- Defensive lineman Mike Wright dropped Rudi Johnson for no gain on first down in the second quarter.
- Rookie wide receiver Chad Jackson recorded the first rushing attempt of his career, gaining a first down on a 10-yard run as part of New England's second-quarter touchdown drive. On the play, running back Kevin Faulk took a direct snap and handed off to Jackson, who used a block from Tom Brady to break free.