The 2019 Patriots season seemed a bit different almost from the start. There was a swirl of controversy surrounding the team throughout, and ultimately the promise of a tremendous beginning to the season ended in disappointment over the final two-plus months.
Here's a look back at everything that was memorable about 2019 through our annual Lighthouse Awards.
Gilmore's ability to lock down the opponent's top receiver each week was a big part of the defense's success. No one did it better for the Patriots in 2019.
Offensive Player of the Year
In the NFL's 100th season it was fitting that Edelman caught an even 100 passes. The fact that he did so while spending most of the season trying to recover from painful shoulder and knee injuries make his efforts even more noteworthy.
Defensive Player of the Year
Gilmore tied for the league lead with six interceptions and he returned two of those for touchdowns. All while taking part of the opponent's offense away each week.
Special Teams Player of the Year
The captain enjoyed one of the best seasons of his stellar career. Whether he was downing punts near the goal line, blocking kicks or scoring touchdowns, Slater was outstanding.
Rookie of the Year
In order for Slater to down those punts someone had to consistently give him a chance to make plays. The rookie Bailey did so often, finishing with 36 punts downed inside the opponent's 20, which is a new franchise record.
Shelton had a disappointing first season in New England, one that saw him sitting as a healthy scratch down the stretch. It was a different story this year as he ably manned a defensive tackle spot and finished third on the team with 62 tackles.
Best Play of the Year
Slater's TD in Buffalo
For 12 years Slater performed his job as well as any Patriot but until Week 4 he had never scored a touchdown. J.C. Jackson's blocked punt allowed the captain to find the end zone for the first time.
Worst Play of the Year
Tom Brady's pick-6 to Eric Rowe against Miami
All the Patriots needed to do was beat Miami at home to earn a bye. Brady's second quarter interception to Rowe gave the Dolphins life, and suddenly New England was playing during wild card weekend.
Shaq Mason cut block on Miami screen
That Miami game wasn't all bad as it featured one of the best plays of the year. The Patriots took a short-lived lead when Mason destroyed Dolphins safety Walt Aikens to clear the way for James White's 23-yard touchdown on a late screen pass.
Block Party Award
Slater's touchdown wasn't the only big play turned in by Joe Judge's special teams. The group blocked four punts on the season, almost matching the total for the rest of the league combined (6).
Ja'Whaun Bentley in Washington
In an otherwise uneventful game, Bentley delivered quite a shot on Redskins running back Chris Thompson. Thompson caught a short pass in the third quarter and was immediately drilled by Bentley, forcing the Redskins to punt.
Cal Ripken Award
In four years with the Patriots, Thuney has barely missed a play let alone a game. The old-school, throwback guard enjoyed his finest season in 2019 and will be a hot commodity on the free agent market in the spring.
Harry Potter Award
Phillip Dorsett against Pittsburgh
In the past it was Chris Hogan who occasionally went uncovered while appearing to wear the Cloak of Invisibility. This year it was Dorsett in the opener against Pittsburgh when he caught four passes for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns when the Steelers seemed to lose track of him.
Crash Gordon Award
Josh Gordon TD against Pittsburgh
While it was a disappointing season for Gordon, it got off to a strong start when he trucked Pittsburgh's Joe Haden en route to the end zone for a second half touchdown.
Roller Coaster Award
The controversial wideout spent 11 days as a Patriot, catching four passes and a touchdown in Miami in Week 2 before being released less than a week later. The highs and lows of that week alone would be hard to top.
Beat the Heat Award
The Patriots have trouble in Miami annually, especially in the September heat. No such problems existed this season as Gilmore and Jamie Collins turned in pick-6s in a 43-0 blowout win.
Home Away From Home Award
Joint practices in Detroit/Tennessee
The Patriots spent the first two weeks of the preseason on the road working with old friends Matt Patricia in Detroit and Mike Vrabel in Tennessee. Those joint practices featured plenty of familiar faces.
Year 2 Jump Award
The second-year corner stepped up into a more prominent role in 2019 and generally performed well. He finished with five interceptions while starting the last six games in place of Jason McCourty.
Mr. Consistency Award
There's a reason McCourty has been a captain since his second year in the league. His leadership and consistency were once again on display throughout the season as he spearheaded the secondary from his safety spot.
Best Return Award
Whether it was filling in at running back, blocking punts or serving as the kickoff returner, Bolden's second-stint in Foxborough was a successful one.
Week 7 win at NYJ
Halloween came early for the Jets and Sam Darnold as the young quarterback was spooked into throwing four interceptions while "seeing ghosts" during a 33-0 Monday night Patriots win at the Meadowlands.
Perfect Game Award
Bill Belichick 300th
Belichick picked up the 300th victory of his illustrious career during a 27-13 win over Cleveland in Week 8, becoming just the third coach in league history to hit that mark.
Blame it on the Rain Award
Cleveland, Dallas wins
We thought about naming this the Rihanna Award -- so fans could stand under her Umbrella -- get it? Anyway, the fans in Foxborough were forced to battle the elements often in 2019 as a few games featured heavy rains throughout. Their faith was rewarded each time as the Patriots topped the Browns and Cowboys despite the weather.
Best Ben Watson Impersonation
Jonathan Jones against Cleveland
Cleveland's Nick Chubb broke free early in the game and raced 44 yards en route to an apparent touchdown. But Jonathan Jones never quit on the play and not only caught Chubb but chopped the ball out of the running back's arm, allowing Devin McCourty to recover to stop the threat.
Tom Brady Impersonator Award
Edelman's TD pass to Dorsett
Brady wasn't the only Patriot to throw a touchdown pass in 2019 as Edelman also turned the trick. He took a backward pass from Brady and fired a bullet to Dorsett for a 15-yard touchdown in the Week 11 win over Philly.
When Harry Met Tommy Award
N'Keal Harry TD against Dallas
The rookie Harry sat out the first half of the season dealing with a lingering hamstring issue but in Week 12 he was a big part of the Patriots win. He caught an impressive back shoulder throw from Brady in the end zone for the only touchdown of the game during a 13-9 win over Dallas.
Pliable and Reliable Award
No one had ever started all 16 games at quarterback at the age of 42 until TB12 turned the trick this year. Brady says he wants to play until he's 45 at least, and at this point there's no reason to doubt him.
Déjà Vu Award (Almost)
Week 13 at Houston
The Patriots appeared dead in the fourth quarter in Houston, trailing the Texans 28-9. But as was the case the last time the team was in Houston during the Super Bowl, Brady led a furious comeback with a pair of touchdowns. Unfortunately the onside kick attempt barely eluded Bolden and New England couldn't quite pull off another miracle.
Are You Reffing Kidding Award
Jerome Boger against KC
Usually crying about the officiating is a loser's lament but Boger's performance in this one deserved the ire. Not once but twice Boger and his crew robbed the Patriots out of potential touchdowns, and ultimately they dropped a disappointing 23-16 decision to the Chiefs.
Road Warriors Award
Patriots Nation on the road
Miami, Washington, Cincinnati all had a distinct Gillette Stadium feel when the Patriots traveled to face the Dolphins, Redskins and Bengals. New England always travels well, but those three venues were overtaken by Patriots Nation.
King of the Jungle Award
Rex Burkhead in Cincy
Burkhead spent the first four years of his career in Cincinnati so it had to be satisfying for him to return to the jungle and close out the scoring with a scintillating 33-yard touchdown run against the Bengals.
Solid Operation Award
The kicking game wasn't a strength for the Patriots after Stephen Gostkowski was lost for the season with a hip injury. But veteran Nick Folk stabilized things after returning from an appendectomy and was one of the few offensive bright spots down the stretch.
Quote of the Year
Following an emotional win over Buffalo late in the season, Roberts discussed his new-found prowess as a blocker at fullback when he uttered these memorable words: "I'll run through a [expletive deleted]'s face.'
Elton John Award
Bills win in Week 16
Saturday nights might be all right for fighting but the Patriots made sure they won their battles, improving to 8-0 all-time under Belichick during the regular season with a spirited win over the Bills in Week 16.
East Mode Award
The Patriots extended their record by capturing the AFC East division title for the 11th straight season. If we excluded 2008 when Brady was injured, the streak would be at 16.
Rub the Buddha Award
The Patriots haven't always been known for their signature celebrations over the years but Collins' penchant for rubbing his belly after big plays always drew smiles all around.
Center of Attention Award
David Andrews missing the season was difficult to overcome but it could have been worse had Karras not stepped in and filled the void admirably throughout the season.