WELKER SETS NFL RECORD WITH NINTH STRAIGHT GAME WITH 6 CATCHES TO BEGIN SEASON
On a 12-yard reception in the third quarter - his sixth catch of the day - Wes Welker became the first player in NFL history to have six or more receptions in each of the first nine games of a season. Welker topped the previous league record of eight games, achieved by Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith in 2001. Dating back to last season (and including the playoffs), Welker has had six or more receptions in 13 straight games. The NFL record for most consecutive games with six or more receptions is 16, achieved by Marvin Harrison of the Colts from 2002-03.
WELKER SETS SEASON HIGHS FOR RECEPTIONS, YARDS
Wes Welker ended the game with a season-high 10 receptions for a season-best 107 yards. The game was his first 100-yard receiving game of the season and was the fifth of in his career. Welker's four previous 100-yard games all came last season with the Patriots. His career high of 149 receiving yards came against Philadelphia on Nov. 25, 2007. The game was Welker's fourth career contest with 10 or more receptions. He turned the trick three times last year and had a career-high 13 catches, also against Philadelphia on Nov. 25, 2007. Welker's 10 receptions were the most for a Patriots player since he had 11 catches against the New York Giants in the 2007 regular-season finale on Dec. 29, 2007.
GREEN-ELLIS TOPS 100 RUSHING YARDS
Rookie running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis topped the 100-yard rushing mark, totaling 26 rushes for 105 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was his fourth of the season and his fourth in as many weeks. Since being signed to the Patriots active roster on Oct. 11, Green-Ellis has scored touchdowns in four of five games, becoming the first Patriots rookie to score touchdowns in as many as four of his first five career games since running back Robert Edwards scored in each of his first six career games in 1998. The Patriots' franchise record for consecutive games with a rushing touchdown is held by Curtis Martin, who scored a rushing touchdown in seven straight games in 1996. The 100-yard game was the first of Green-Ellis's five-game NFL career. Green-Ellis, who was originally signed by the Patriots in the offseason as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Mississippi, was signed to New England's active roster on Oct. 11.
PATRIOTS TIE MOST PLAYS IN A SINGLE DRIVE IN TEAM HISTORY
The Patriots tied the longest drive in team history (in terms of number of plays) when they embarked on a 19-play, 92-yard drive in the fourth quarter, chewing up 9:08 of clock time and protecting what was then a 13-3 lead. The drive ended in a 1-yard touchdown by BenJarvus Green-Ellis that made the score 20-3. The 19-play drive against Buffalo tied a 19-play drive against the New York Jets on Sept. 15, 2002 as the longest drive in team history in terms of number of plays.
FEATS, RECORDS AND MILESTONES
- The Patriots improved to 16-1 (.941) in games following a loss since the beginning of the 2003 season. Over the last five-and-a-half seasons (2003-08), the Patriots have only lost back-to-back games on one occasion (Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, 2006).
- The Patriots had a 100-yard rusher (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) and a 100-yard receiver (Wes Welker) in the same game for the first time since Oct. 7, 2007, when Sammy Morris (102 rushing yards) and Benjamin Watson (107 receiving yards) for New England against Cleveland.
- The Patriots' victory over the Bills was New England's 50th win at Gillette Stadium since the facility opened in 2002 (including playoffs). New England is now 50-10 (.833) all-time at Gillette Stadium, the best home record in the league since the facility opened in 2002.
- Today's game was the 156th straight home sellout for the Patriots, a streak that is now in its 15th year and includes every preseason, regular-season and playoff game since the 1994 regular-season opener, which was Robert Kraft's first regular-season game as Patriots owner.
PATRIOTS DEFEAT BILLS FOR 10th STRAIGHT TIME
The Patriots beat the Bills for the 10th consecutive time, extending a streak that dates back to 2003. The last time the Bills beat the Patriots was on Sept. 7, 2003. New England's 10 straight wins over the Bills ties the longest current winning streak by one NFL team over another (San Diego has beaten Oakland 10 straight times and Pittsburgh has defeated Cleveland 10 straight times). The 10 straight wins over Buffalo ties the second longest streak over an opponent (they also beat San Diego 10 straight times from 1973-2001). The Patriots franchise record for most wins over a single opponent is 11, achieved against the Bills from 1983-87.
CASSEL SCORES SECOND CAREER TOUCHDOWN
Matt Cassel gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead on a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to cap off a 7-play, 71-yard drive on the Patriots' first offensive possession of the game. The touchdown was the second of Cassel's career - he also scored on a 15-yard run against Washington on Oct. 28, 2007. Cassel's 15-yard scoring run last year was the longest touchdown run by a Patriots quarterback in at least the last 20 years, and his 13-yard touchdown run against Buffalo today ties a 13-yard touchdown by Drew Bledsoe on Oct. 15, 2000 as the second longest touchdown run by a Patriots signal caller in at least 20 years. Steve Grogan holds the Patriots record for longest touchdown run by a quarterback with a 41-yard touchdown run in 1976.
MOSS MOVES UP ALL-TIME LIST
Randy Moss moved up three spots on the NFL's all-time receptions list today, taking sole possession of 17th place in league history after entering the day in the 20th spot. Moss's third catch of the day, a 6-yard grab in the first quarter, was the 815th reception of his career and moved him past Henry Ellard (814) and Keyshawn Johnson (814) and into a tie with Shannon Sharpe (815) for 17th place all-time. His fourth catch of the day, a 9-yard catch in the second quarter, was the 816th of his career and moved him past Sharpe into sole possession of 17th place all-time. Moss ended the day with five receptions, bringing his career total to 817. Steve Largent ranks 16th in league history with 819 career receptions.
Ellis Hobbs intercepted a Trent Edwards pass in the first quarter and returned it four yards to the Bills' 34-yard line, setting up a 32-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski that gave the Patriots a 10-0 lead. The interception was Hobbs's second of the season and was the eighth of his regular-season career. Hobbs also has two career playoff interceptions, bringing his overall career total to 10. Hobbs's other interception this season came in the season opener against Kansas City and also led to a New England field goal.
Deltha O'Neal intercepted a Trent Edwards pass in the third quarter and returned it two yards to the Patriots' 41-yard line. The interception was O'Neal's third of the season, tying him with Brandon Meriweather for the team lead. The interception was the 34th of O'Neal's nine-year NFL career. He had 15 interceptions with Denver from 2000-03 and had 16 picks with Cincinnati from 2004-07. O'Neal was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on Sept. 1, 2008.
Richard Seymour sacked Trent Edwards for a six-yard loss on third down on Buffalo's first possession of the game, forcing a Bills punt on the next play. The sack was Seymour's fifth of the season (tying him with Adalius Thomas for the team lead) and raised his career sack total to 36.0, tying Garin Veris for 11th on the Patriots' all-time sacks list.
GOSTKOWSKI IMPROVES TO 21-FOR-23 ON THE SEASON
Stephen Gostkowski was 2-for-3 on field goals, hitting a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 10-0 lead and nailing a 29-yarder in the third quarter to give New England a 13-3 advantage. He also missed a 49-yard try in the second quarter. Following his 2-for-3 performance his accuracy rate was 91.3 percent this season (21-for-23). He has hit 28 of his last 30 field goals (93.3 percent) dating back to last season, and his career accuracy rate of 84.9 percent (62-for-73) is the best in Patriots history. Gostkowski, who was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October, entered this week's games leading the AFC in field goal percentage (95.0, minimum 12 attempts), field goals (19) and points (72).
- Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour combined to tackle Buffalo running back Marshawn Lynch for a 3-yard loss on third-and-goal from the Patriots' 4-yard line in the second quarter, forcing a Buffalo field goal on the next play.
- Ty Warren sacked Trent Edwards for a 6-yard sack in the fourth quarter, setting up a third-and-11 that the Bills did not convert. The sack was Warren's second of the season and raised his career total to 19.5 sacks.
- Wes Welker's 27-yard reception from Matt Cassel in the second quarter tied his longest catch of the season. Welker also had a 27-yard grab from Cassel against Denver on Oct. 20.
PUNT, PASS AND KICK WINNERS
The 2008 NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick New England Patriots team championships were held on the Gillette Stadium field this morning. At halftime, the eight first place team champions were honored and the participants exhibited their passing skills. Below is a list of the first place winners and their hometowns.
2008 PATRIOTS PUNT, PASS AND KICK WINNERS
8/9 year olds: Mikaya Bowerfind (Cumberland, R.I.) & Cooper Chiasson (Dixfield, Maine)
10/11 year olds: Katie Day (E. Kingston, N.H.) & Evan Delaney (Hadley, Mass.)
12/13 year olds: Elisa Formiglio (Bozrah, Conn.) & Michael Caswell (Falmouth, Maine)
14/15 year olds: Anna Grant (Stratham, N.H.) & Mason Powers (Kensington, Conn.)