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Patriots vs. Bills: Game Notes

TEAM DEFENSE
The New England defense held the Bills to just 14 rushing yards on 12 carries (1.2 avg), allowing the second fewest rushing yards in team history. The only time that the Patriots held an opponent to fewer yards on the ground was on Dec. 17, 1961, when the Boston Patriots held the San Diego Chargers to just two rushing yards in a 41-0 road win to close out the second season in franchise history. Combined with a 41-yard effort against the New York Jets on Dec. 4, the Patriots have allowed just 55 total rushing yards in their last two games.

FIRST DOWN RECORDThe Patriots offense gained a total of 32 first downs against the Bills, setting a team record for most first downs in a game. New England eclipsed the previous record of 31 first downs, a number that was achieved three times - Oct. 11, 1998 against Kansas City, Nov. 29, 1987 against Philadelphia and 39 years ago to the day, Dec. 11, 1966 against the Houston Oilers. New England's team-record 32 first downs came via passes (20), rushing (11) and penalty (1).

TWO-GAME POINT TOTALThe Patriots have allowed just 10 points in their last two games, recording a 35-7 win over Buffalo to follow their 16-3 win over the New York Jets on Dec. 4. That two-game opponent point total is the fewest for the Patriots in 19 years, dating back to when New England allowed a total of three points in back-to-back games on Oct. 19 and Oct. 26, 1986. That period of defensive dominance saw the Patriots follow a 34-0 shutout at Pittsburgh (New England's last road shutout) with a 23-3 win at Buffalo the following week.

TOTAL NET YARDSThe Patriots recorded 494 total net yards against the Bills, recording the second-highest yardage output in franchise history for a road game. The performance trails only a road-record 498 total net yards - also at Buffalo - on Nov. 23, 1975. The 494 total net yards was New England's highest overall net yardage total since recording 496 total net yards against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 22, 2002. A season-high 159 total rushing yards - the most since totaling 174 in the 2004 regular-season finale - contributed to the high overall yardage total. New England also totaled 335 net passing yards, the most since gaining 342 net passing yards at Atlanta on Oct. 9. Although they fell just short of the 500-yard milestone against the Bills, the Patriots have achieved that feat five times in team history, all in home games, and most recently on Sept. 21, 1986, when they recorded 506 yards against the Seattle Seahawks at Sullivan Stadium.

300-YARD GAME FOR BRADYTom Brady threw for 329 yards today, marking his fourth 300-yard game of the season and the 12th time he has reached the milestone in his regular-season career. Brady has recorded an 11-1 record in his 12 career 300-yard games. Brady has also achieved the milestone twice in the playoffs.

BRADY'S PASSING YARDAGEThrough 13 games this season, Tom Brady has thrown for 3,630 yards. With three games to play, he is just 134 yards shy of his career high (3,764 yards in 2002). Brady is on pace to throw for 4,468 yards this season, a mark that would rank second in Patriots history and trail only Drew Bledsoe's team-record 4,555 yards in 1994.

100-YARD GAME FOR DILLONCorey Dillon recorded his second 100-yard game of the season, rushing 22 times for 102 yards today. Dillon reached the milestone for the 38th time in his 9-year career. He also achieved the feat on Oct. 9 at Atlanta. Dillon has now run for a triple-digit yardage total in 11 regular season games since joining the Patriots in 2004. Last season, Dillon set a career high and tied the Patriots franchise record by running for 100 or more yards in nine regular-season games.

CAREER HIGH FOR BRANCHDeion Branch has set a new career high for receiving yards, eclipsing his previous best of 803 yards on a 22-yard reception in the first quarter. Branch ended the day with 883 yards on the year. He is on pace to total 1,086 receiving yards this season. The last Patriots receiver to break the 1,000-yard mark was Troy Brown, who totaled 1,199 yards in 2001.

BRUSCHI CREATES TOUCHDOWNSTedy Bruschi tipped a ball into the air in the fourth quarter that was intercepted by James Sanders and returned for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 35-0 lead. Bruschi's nose for the ball has now created seven defensive touchdowns since the 2002 season. He scored four touchdowns himself on interception returns (two each in 2002 and 2003), and forced two fumbles that were picked up and returned for scores (10/03/04 at Buffalo and 11/28/04 vs. Baltimore). Bruschi has had a part in defensive touchdowns in each of the Patriots' last two trips to Ralph Wilson Stadium. Last season, he sacked Drew Bledsoe and forced a fumble that was picked up by Richard Seymour and returned for a touchdown in a 31-17 victory on Oct. 3, 2004.

SANDERS SCORESJames Sanders returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown, recording his first career touchdown and his first career interception. Sanders, a fourth-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, was in the backfield on a blitz and grabbed a ball that Tedy Bruschi had deflected into the air and raced to the end zone untouched. The pick return for a touchdown was the second such play for the Patriots this season. Mike Vrabel also returned an interception for a score at Carolina on Sept. 18.

INTERCEPTION FOR SAMUELAsante Samuel recorded his second interception of the season when he picked off J.P. Losman in the end zone to thwart a potential Buffalo scoring drive in the first quarter and start a drive that ended in Tom Brady's 3-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 Patriots lead. Both of Samuel's interceptions have come against Buffalo - he also picked off a Kelly Holcomb pass in the third quarter of New England's 21-16 victory over the Bills on Oct. 30 in Foxborough. The former 2003 fourth-round draft choice now has five career interceptions.

HOBBS' PICKRookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs recorded his team-leading third interception of the season when he picked off J.P. Losman on a long ball along the sideline in the third quarter. The pick started a drive that ended in Troy Brown's 5-yard touchdown reception and a 21-0 Patriots lead. Hobbs, who is making his fifth career start, has made three interceptions since taking over as a starting cornerback at Miami on Nov. 13. Hobbs has recorded an interception in two consecutive games, having picked off Brooks Bollinger last week in the Patriots' 16-3 win over the Jets.

CHRISTIAN SCORIAChristian Fauria grabbed his second touchdown reception of the season on a 2-yard catch from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter to make the score 28-0. Fauria has scored twice on five receptions in 2005. The 11th-year veteran has caught 20 career touchdown passes since entering the NFL with Seattle in 1995, and has grabbed 13 scoring passes since joining the Patriots as a free agent prior to the 2002 season.

TOUCHDOWN TROYTroy Brown grabbed a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the third quarter to make the score 21-0. The touchdown catch was Brown's second of the season and the 27th of his career. Brown has also returned three punts for touchdowns, giving him a grand total of 30 touchdowns in a Patriots uniform. Brown is the 12th Patriot in franchise history to record at least 30 career touchdowns.

COREY SCORESCorey Dillon scored his team-leading ninth touchdown of the season on a 12-yard run in the second quarter that gave the Patriots a 14-0 lead. The touchdown gives Dillon 66 career rushing touchdowns and 21 rushing scores since joining the Patriots prior to the 2004 season. Including one receiving touchdown last season, Dillon has now scored 22 touchdowns in 25 regular-season games with the Patriots. Dillon has scored 134 points as a Patriot, and his latest touchdown moved him ahead of Terry Glenn and Andy Johnson for 22nd place on the Patriots' all-time leading scorers list. Dillon's 21 rushing touchdowns as a Patriot ties him with Antowain Smith for seventh in franchise history. Dillon's 66 career rushing touchdowns ranks seventh among active players and 27th on the NFL's all-time list.

HOT WHEN IT'S COLDThe temperature at kickoff today was 30 degrees, and New England improved to 14-0 since 1993 when the temperature is 30 degrees or less. The Patriots have won 15 consecutive games when the temperature has been 35 or less and are 24-2 (.923) since 1993 when the kickoff temperature is 35 degrees or colder. The last time the Patriots lost a game in temperatures of 35 degrees or below was on Dec. 24, 2000, when they dropped a 27-24 decision to Miami on a 31-degree day at Foxboro Stadium. Additionally, Tom Brady entered today's game with a 19-0 record as a starter (including playoffs) when the game-time temperature is less than 40 degrees.

TOUCHDOWN FOR TOMTom Brady scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on a 3-yard plunge in the first quarter that gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead. The rushing score was Brady's first of the season and the third of his regular-season career. Brady has also recorded two rushing scores in the playoffs.

THE GREATEST SHOW IN SNOWThe Patriots improved to 8-0 in games where snow has fallen since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. The record includes three playoff games. Light snow fell during the first half of today's game and began to accumulate on the field during the second half. Today's game was the first road game where snow has fallen since Dec. 17, 2000, when New England claimed a 13-10 win at Buffalo in the midst of a driving storm.

QUICK HITS* The Patriots did not allow the Bills to score in the first quarter today, marking their fourth first-quarter shutout in four divisional games this season.

  • The Patriots' 35 points against the Bills were the most for New England in almost exactly a year. The Patriots also scored 35 points against Cincinnati on Dec. 12, 2004.
  • Tom Brady improved his career record to 29-4 (.879 winning percentage) as a starter in games played after Thanksgiving.
  • The Patriots now own 51 wins over the Bills in the all-time series, New England's highest win total over any opponent (Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts, 43).
  • The Patriots have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Bills.
  • Tom Brady's 40-yard completion to David Givens in the third quarter was his ninth completion of 40 yards or longer this season.
  • Brady moved ahead of teammate Doug Flutie into 47th place on the Patriots' all-time rushing list. Brady finished the game with 318 rushing yards, surpassing Flutie's total of 311 rushing yards (309 of which came during his first stint in New England from 1987-89, and two of which came in this week's game against Buffalo).
  • Richard Seymour raced in unblocked and sacked J.P. Losman for a seven-yard loss in the third quarter. The sack gave Seymour 3.0 sacks on the season.
  • Richard Seymour dropped Willis McGahee for no gain on the Bills' first offensive play of the game.
  • Seymour and Michael Stone teamed up to stop McGahee for a 2-yard loss in the first quarter.
  • Ty Warren stopped McGahee for a 1-yard loss in the third quarter.
  • Warren teamed with Stone to drop McGahee for another 1-yard loss later in the third quarter.
  • Corey Dillon's 21-yard run in the first quarter was his second longest run of the season, trailing only a 29-yard gain against San Diego on Oct. 2.

SOLID DEFENSE
The Patriots defense shut out the Bills in the first half today, marking their second consecutive half in which they did not allow a point. New England held the New York Jets scoreless in the second half of last week's game. Beginning with the fourth quarter of the game at Kansas City on Nov. 27, the Patriots allowed just three points in an eight-quarter span before allowing a Buffalo touchdown in the fourth quarter today.

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