TWENTY-ONE IN A ROW
The Patriots won their 21st consecutive regular-season game this afternoon, improving on their all-time NFL record for consecutive regular season wins. The Patriots have not lost in the regular season since Dec. 20, 2006, when they fell to the Dolphins in Miami. Since then, they won the final three games of the 2006 regular season, won all 16 games in the 2007 regular season and have won the first two games of the 2008 campaign. New England also holds the second longest regular-season winning streak in NFL history, claiming victory in 18 straight regular season games from Oct. 5, 2003 to Oct. 24, 2004. The 1933-34 Chicago Bears rank third with 17 straight wins.
CASSEL WINS FIRST CAREER STARTMatt Cassel made his first career start at quarterback today and completed 16-of-23 passes (69.6 percent) for 165 yards and a passer rating of 89.9 in helping the Patriots to a 19-10 divisional win on the road. Through two games this season, Cassel has completed 29-of-41 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, totaling a 101.4 passer rating, as New England has started the season with a 2-0 record for the third straight year and for the fifth time in the nine seasons since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000.
MERIWEATHER'S FIRST CAREER INTERCEPTION SETS UP TOUCHDOWNBrandon Meriweather recorded his first career interception, picking off a Brett Favre pass at the Jets' 44-yard line in the third quarter and returning it 13 yards to give the Patriots possession at the New York 31-yard line. The play set up a 6-play, 31-yard dive that ended in a 1-yard scoring plunge by Sammy Morris that gave the Patriots a 13-3 lead. Meriweather was selected by the Patriots in the first round (24th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Miami.
DEFENSE: JUST 20 POINTS ALLOWED THROUGH TWO GAMESThe Patriots allowed the Jets to score 10 points today and have allowed a total of just 20 points through two games (Kansas City also scored 10 points in a 17-10 Patriots win on Sept. 7). The 20 points allowed through the season's first two games is the lowest total by a Patriots team since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. The last time the Patriots allowed a total of 20 points or fewer in the season's first two games was in 1997, when New England allowed a total of 13 points, beginning the season with a 41-7 win over San Diego at Foxboro Stadium and following that up with a 31-6 win at Indianapolis.
GOSTKOWSKI TIES CAREER HIGH WITH FOUR FIELD GOALSStephen Gostkowski nailed all four of his field goals - from 21, 37, 28 and 27 yards - improving to a perfect 5-for-5 on the season. He tied his career high for field goals in a game, matching his 4-for-4 performance against Houston as a rookie on Dec. 17, 2006. Gostkowski has hit 12 straight regular-season field goals dating back to last season, and has nailed 25 of his last 27 regular season boots (92.6 percent). Following his four kicks against the Jets, Gostkoswki has hit 55-of-65 field goals in his regular season and playoff career, and his 84.6 percent career accuracy rate is the highest in Patriots history. The Patriots selected Gostkowski in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Memphis. Additionally, Gostkowski booted five kickoffs out of the end zone for touchbacks.
Sammy Morris gave the Patriots a 13-3 third-quarter lead with a 1-yard touchdown rush, diving into the end zone. The touchdown run was Morris's second in as many weeks. He also scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the Patriots' season-opening win over Kansas City on Sept. 7. The touchdown was Morris's 19th career rushing touchdown and his 20th career overall touchdown (one receiving).
FAULK MOVING UP PATRIOTS RECEPTIONS LISTKevin Faulk recorded four receptions, finishing the game with 327 career receptions. Faulk is the Patriots' all-time leader in receptions by a running back. Faulk needs two more receptions to tie Terry Glenn (329 receptions) for fifth place on the Patriots' all-time receiving list. Faulk, selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft, is the Patriots' longest-tenured offensive player and is second only to Tedy Bruschi (1996) among the longest-tenured Patriots.
RED ZONE STOPThe Patriots held the Jets to a field goal after New York had gained a first-and-goal from the Patriots' 3-yard line in the second quarter. On first down, Tedy Bruschi and James Sanders stuffed Thomas Jones for a 1-yard gain. On second down, Rodney Harrison snared Jones for just a 1-yard advance. And on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Richard Seymour stuffed Jones in the backfield for a 2-yard loss to force a New York field goal and keep the Patriots ahead, 6-3.
- With today's win over the Jets, the Patriots took the lead in the all-time series against New York, 49-48-1 (including a 2-0 playoff record). The last time the Patriots were above .500 in their all-time series with New York was in entering the 1967 season, when they led 7-6-1.
- The Patriots defeated the Jets for the eighth consecutive time on the road. The streak dates back to a 17-16 win at Giants Stadium on Dec. 2, 2001.
- The Patriots have now held the Jets to 17 points or fewer in 10 of their last 11 meetings.
- Matt Cassel completed his first four passes of the day for 61 yards. His longest and final completion in the string was a 26-yard completion to Wes Welker that drove the Patriots to the Jets' 5-yard line, setting up a 21-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a 3-0 Patriots lead.
- Matt Cassel found Kevin Faulk for a 22-yard gain on third-and-10 to extend a Patriots touchdown drive in the third quarter.
- Kevin Faulk made a heads-up play in the second quarter when he snared a deflected Matt Cassel pass for a 9-yard gain on third-and-four to extend a Patriots field goal drive.
- Richard Seymour sacked Brett Favre for a loss of nine yards in the second quarter.
- Adalius Thomas sacked Brett Favre for a loss of 20 yards in the fourth quarter, dragging Favre down at the Jets' own seven yard line.
- Jerod Mayo buried Thomas Jones in the backfield for a 3-yard loss on second down in the second quarter, forcing New York into a third-and-18 that it did not convert.
- Deltha O'Neal started for the Patriots at left cornerback, recording his first start in a New England uniform. O'Neal was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Sept. 1.
- Stephen Gostkowski booted five kickoffs out of the end zone for touchbacks.
- Ellis Hobbs batted away a Brett Favre pass intended for Jerricho Cotchery at midfield in the first quarter to thwart what would have been a 30-yard gain.
- Hobbs broke up a Favre pass intended for Lavaranues Coles on third down in the fourth quarter with the Jets backed up on their own 7-yard line, forcing a New York punt on the next play.
- Tedy Bruschi dove in to bat away a Brett Favre pass intended for Thomas Jones on the Jets' opening drive to put the Jets in a third-down situation.