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Patriots vs. Broncos: Game Notes

CAREER HIGH FOR WATSONTight End Benjamin Watson set a career high with six receptions and tied his regular-season career high with 66 receiving yards. Watson also had 66 receiving yards against New Orleans on Nov. 20, 2005. His previous career high for receptions also came in the New Orleans game, when he caught four passes.

BRADY TIES CAREER HIGH
Tom Brady tied a career high with 55 pass attempts tonight. He also attempted 55 passes in a 33-30 victory at Chicago on Nov. 10, 2002. Tonight Brady completed 31 of his 55 throws, his highest completion total since also connecting on 31 passes at Pittsburgh on Sept. 25, 2005. Brady has now completed 30 or more passes seven times in his career and New England is now 5-2 in those games. Brady threw for 320 yards tonight, marking the 13th time in his career he has exceeded the 300-yard mark. New England is now 11-2 in Brady's 300-yard games, with the only other loss besides tonight coming on Sept. 29, 2002 at San Diego (a 21-14 loss)

DOUG GABRIEL
Wide receiver Doug Gabriel hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter. The scoring grab was Gabriel's first as a Patriot and his sixth career touchdown catch. Last season with the Oakland Raiders, Gabriel caught three touchdown passes (out of 37 receptions). Gabriel also hauled in two touchdowns in 2004 for the Raiders. For Brady, the touchdown was his fourth scoring pass of the season and the 127th of his career

NBC/SUNDAY NIGHT NOTESTonight marked the first time the Patriots appeared on NBC since Jan. 3, 1998 - a 7-6 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 1997 divisional playoff game. Following tonight's game, New England has an all-time record of 13-12 in Sunday Night Football games, with tonight's loss breaking a streak of four straight wins on Sunday nights. Tonight's game was the second time the Patriots and Broncos have met on Sunday Night Football. The teams also met on Oct. 8, 1995, and Denver claimed a 37-3 victory at Foxboro Stadium in a game televised by TNT.

LONG HALF TIME
Prior to tonight, the Patriots had scored in 27 consecutive halves of football. Before being shut out by the Broncos in the first half of tonight's game, the last time New England did not score in a half was on Oct. 30, 2005, when they trailed the Buffalo Bills 3-0 at halftime in a game that the Patriots eventually won 21-16. Interestingly, that game also marked the last time the Patriots played on Sunday night.

ROOKIE RECEPTIONS
Rookie running back Laurence Maroney caught the first passes of his career tonight, including a 31-yard catch-and-run play from Tom Brady. In his three seasons at the University of Minnesota, Maroney caught a total of 21 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown. His longest collegiate catch went for 37 yards in 2005.

QUICK HITS

  • Wide receiver Doug Gabriel made his first reception in a Patriots uniform on a 10-yard catch in the fourth quarter.
  • Chad Scott made a key third-down play in the third quarter, putting a big hit on Rod Smith and forcing an incomplete pass on third-and-seven, forcing a Denver punt on the next play.
  • Tedy Bruschi tipped a Jake Plummer pass intended for Brandon Marshall into the air on third-and-three in the first quarter, nearly intercepting the ball and forcing a Denver punt on the next play.
  • Ellis Hobbs delivered a big hit on Denver's Javon Walker on third-and-six in the first quarter, forcing an incomplete pass and a Denver punt on the next play.

SCORELESS THROUGH THREE QUARTERS
The Patriots did not score through three quarters, marking the first time New England had not scored through three quarters of a game since September 7, 2003. In that game, the Patriots ended up being shut out 31-0 by the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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