FRANCHISE RECORD REACHES .500Following tonight's victory, the Patriots franchise's all-time record stands at 354-354-9 (including playoffs), reaching the .500 mark for the first time since 1969. Prior to tonight, the last time the Patriots' overall record was at .500 was entering a game on Sept. 21, 1969 against Kansas City, when the franchise's overall mark was 60-60-9. During Robert Kraft's first season of ownership in 1994, the Patriots' overall record bottomed out at 54 games below .500 (228-282-9). The low point was reached on Nov. 6, 1994 following a 13-6 loss to Cleveland (to a Browns team coached by Bill Belichick), which dropped the Patriots to 3-6 in the 1994 season. Kraft has since transformed that team into a model NFL franchise that has won more Super Bowls (3), conference titles (4) and playoff games (12) than any other NFL team since 1994. The Patriots are now 51 games above .500 in the Kraft era, compiling a 129-78-0 record.
TEN VICTORIESWith tonight's victory, the Patriots' 2005 record stands at 10-5, marking the seventh double-digit victory total in the 12 seasons that Robert Kraft has owned the team. The Patriots franchise has recorded 13 double-digit victory seasons in its 46-year history. New England has now recorded 10 or more victories in a franchise-record three straight seasons, and has achieved the feat four times in the last five years.
TWO TOUCHDOWNS FOR VRABELLinebacker Mike Vrabel caught two touchdown passes in the first half, giving him four touchdowns this season - three on offense and one via an interception return. In His four total touchdowns tie him with Deion Branch for second on the team as of halftime (Corey Dillon, 11). His three receiving touchdowns are also tied for second on the team with Benjamin Watson and Daniel Graham (Branch, 4). Vrabel, who also scored on a 1-yard grab against New Orleans on Nov. 20, now has eight career receptions - all for touchdowns. His career receiving exploits include six regular-season touchdown receptions and two scoring catches in the playoffs (one each in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX). Vrabel's three touchdown catches this season sets a career high, besting his two scoring grabs last season. Vrabel also added a 10-yard sack tonight from his normal position of inside linebacker.
BRADY REACHES 4,000 YARDSWith his 22-yard completion to Deion Branch in the third quarter, Tom Brady became the second player in Patriots history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season. That completion gave him 4,004 yards on the year. Brady has produced the second 4,000-yard season in franchise history, joining Drew Bledsoe's franchise-record 4,555 yards in 1994. Brady entered this week's NFL action leading the league with 3,888 yards, a single-season career high total.
AUTOMATIC ADAMAdam Vinatieri kicked a 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, marking his 25th consecutive successful fourth-quarter field goal. The last time he missed in the fourth quarter was on Dec. 8, 2002, when he misfired on a 43-yarder against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. Vinatieri has also hit 31 of his last 32 second-half field goals, dating back to the 2003 regular-season finale.
QUICK HITS* The Patriots did not allow the Jets to gain a first down in the first half, as New York gained only 28 total net yards (21 rushing, 7 passing). New York's initial first down of the game came via penalty with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
* Ty Law's interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter was just the second touchdown the Patriots have allowed in the month of December. The other touchdown was a 51-yard reception by Buffalo's Josh Reed on Dec. 11.
* The Patriots allowed just 12 total yards in the first quarter - nine rushing and three receiving.
* New England held a 21-7 halftime lead tonight and is now 49-2 since 2001 when leading at the half (including a 7-0 playoff mark).
* The Patriots have won 15 of their last 16 divisional games.
* New England has won six straight games against the Jets and eight of its last nine contests against New York.
GIVENS CAREER HIGHWith his nine-yard reception in the second quarter, David Givens set a new single-season career high for receptions. That catch was his 57th grab of the year and eclipsed his previous career high total of 56 grabs set in 2004. Givens becomes the second Patriots wide receiver to set a career high receptions total. Deion Branch finished the game with 76 receptions, the highest total for a Patriot since Troy Brown grabbed 97 passes in 2002.
ASANTE SAMUELAsante Samuel recorded his third interception of the season when he grabbed a Brooks Bollinger pass in the first quarter. Samuel's three interceptions tie him with Ellis Hobbs for the team lead. His three picks sets a new career high for Samuel, whose previous career best was two interceptions as a rookie in 2003.
Corey Dillon scored two touchdowns for the second consecutive week, reaching the end zone on 1-yard runs in the second and third quarters. Dillon leads the team with 13 touchdowns (12 rushing, 1 receiving). He has tied his career high (2004) for total touchdowns (13) and rushing touchdowns (12). His 13 total touchdowns are tied for third place on the Patriots' all-time single-season list, and his 12 rushing touchdowns are also tied for third on the all-time list. Tonight's touchdowns give Dillon 69 career rushing touchdowns. Dillon has 24 rushing scores and two receiving scores since joining the Patriots prior to the 2004 season. Dillon has scored 26 touchdowns in 27 regular-season games with the Patriots. Dillon's 24 rushing touchdowns as a Patriot rank sixth in franchise history.