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Patriots vs. Lions: Game Notes

New England moves to 9-3 on the season with a comeback win over the Detroit Lions, 28-21.  The following are notes from the game.

Corey Dillon scored three rushing touchdowns today, tying the team's single-game record, last achieved by Antowain Smith (two rushing, one receiving) at Buffalo on Nov. 3, 2002. Dillon's three-touchdown game marks the 19th time a Patriots player has scored three touchdowns in a game. Dillon became the first New England player to rush for three touchdowns since Curtis Martin ran into the end zone three times against Miami at Foxboro Stadium on Nov. 3, 1996. Dillon has now scored three or more touchdowns four times in his career, with his last three-score performance coming for the Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit on Oct. 28, 2001 (two rushing, one receiving). He scored a career-high four touchdowns (all rushing) for the Bengals against Tennessee on Dec. 4, 1997. Dillon's three touchdowns today give him 86 career touchdowns (79 rushing, seven receiving). With the Patriots, he has now scored 36 touchdowns (34 rushing, two receiving) in 39 regular-season games. Dillon's 34 rushing touchdowns rank fourth on the Patriots' all-time list (one behind Steve Grogan's third-place total of 35) and with his three touchdowns today, he passed Tony Collins (32) and Curtis Martin (32) on the team's rushing touchdown list. His 36 total touchdowns tie him with Grogan for 11th on the team's overall touchdowns list and with his three scores today, he passed Troy Brown (33 total scores) to become the team's active touchdown leader. His 10 touchdowns this season lead the team.

With his 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, Corey Dillon became the 15th player in NFL history to exceed 11,000 career rushing yards. Following that run, Dillon had recorded exactly 11,000 career yards. He finished the game with 11,004 career yards on 2,560 career carries, good for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. He has also scored 79 career rushing touchdowns. Dillon's 11,004 career yards rank 15th on the NFL's all-time list. He needs 232 more yards to catch O.J. Simpson (11,236) for 14th place and needs 350 more yards to catch John Riggins (11,352) for 13th place.

Tom Brady threw for 305 yards today, completing 27-of-38 passes (71.1 percent). His yardage total marked his third 300-yard game of the season and the 18th 300-yard game of his regular-season and playoff career. His 71.1 percent completion rate marked the first game this season in which he has completed more than 70 percent of his passes. He last completed 70 percent or better at Buffalo on Dec. 11, 2005 (29-of-38, 76.3 percent).

Tom Brady improved his career regular-season and playoff records to...

  • 77-24 overall
  • 23-4 against NFC teams
  • 21-1 on artificial surfaces
  • 15-3 when throwing for 300 yards or more
  • 41-10 at home
  • 35-6 in games played on Thanksgiving or later

Tom Brady recorded his 23rd career game-winning performance to lead his team to a victory from a fourth-quarter deficit or tie in a regular-season or playoff game. Against the Lions, New England trailed 21-13 following a Jason Hanson field goal with 13:07 left in the game. Brady proceeded to direct two touchdown drives (which included one two-point conversion) in the game's final 13:07. Brady has now produced two comebacks this season and has achieved the feat in back-to-back weeks, having led New England to a 17-13 victory over Chicago last week after the game was tied at 10 with 14:46 left in the contest.

FIVE TAKEAWAYSThe Patriots forced five Detroit turnovers today, raising their season total to 27 takeaways. Last season, the Patriots totaled 18 takeaways. New England has now recorded a total of nine takeaways in the last two weeks, with today's five-turnover performance coming on the heels of a four-takeaway game against Chicago.

Mike Vrabel recorded a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions, marking his first career multiple-interception game. Vrabel's two picks give him a total of 10 career interceptions, including three thefts this season. Vrabel's three interceptions this season set a single-season career-best mark and rank second on the team to Asante Samuel's team-leading seven interceptions. Including a pair of forced fumbles, Vrabel now has five takeaways on the season.

Rosevelt Colvin came up with one of the biggest plays of the game when he strip-sacked Jon Kitna with six minutes left in the game and Mike Wright pounced on the loose ball to give the Patriots possession and kick-start the game-winning drive. The play came as Detroit had gained a first down three yards shy of midfield late in a 21-21 game. For Colvin, the forced fumble was his first of the season and the 11th of his eight-year career. For Wright, the fumble recovery was his second of the season and his second in three weeks, having also recovered a loose ball following Mike Vrabel's strip-sack of Aaron Rodgers at Green Bay on Nov. 19.

Reche Caldwell totaled 112 yards on eight receptions against the Lions, setting a new single-game career high for receiving yards. His previous career high was 110 yards, achieved with San Diego in a game against Tennessee on Oct. 3, 2004. Caldwell became the first Patriots player to exceed the 100-yard receiving mark this season and became the first Patriot to break the 100-yard barrier since David Givens totaled 137 yards against Tampa Bay on Dec. 17, 2005. The 100-yard game was the second of Caldwell's career, joining his 110-yard performance in 2004. Caldwell ranks second on the team with a career-high 46 receptions and a career-high 574 receiving yards this season.

Asante Samuel intercepted a Jon Kitna pass at the Patriots' 30-yard line with 47 seconds left in the first half. The interception was Samuel's fourth in his last two games and came on the heels of a three-interception performance against Chicago last Sunday. The interception was Samuel's seventh of the season, a mark that extends his career-high season total and serves as the highest single-season interception total by a Patriot since Ty Law recorded nine picks in 1998. Following today's interception, Samuel has now recorded 13 career interceptions, passing Tedy Bruschi (12) to become the Patriots' active interceptions leader. Samuel's 13 career picks tie him with Willie Clay for 20th on the Patriots' all-time list. Samuel entered the day tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions this season.

Rosevelt Colvin recorded two sacks of Jon Kitna today, recording his first two-sack game in a Patriots uniform and raising his season total to a team-leading 6.5 sacks. The last time Colvin had two sacks in a game was on Sept. 29, 2002, when he recorded two sacks for the Chicago Bears in a game at Buffalo. His two sacks against the Lions mark his sixth career game with two or more sacks. Colvin notched a career-high 2.5 sacks for the Bears on Oct. 7, 2001 in a game at Atlanta.

Stephen Gostkowski booted two first-half field goals today. The boots raised Gostkowski's current streak to 11 successful kicks in his last 12 chances - a string of recent success that began on Oct. 1 at Cincinnati. Following his first-half kicks, Gostkowski had converted 13-of-17 attempts on the season, good for a 76.5 percent success rate.

Ty Warren recorded two sacks, dropping Jon Kitna for a 3-yard sack in the first quarter and recording a 10-yard sack in the third quarter. The sacks raised Warren's season total to 5.5 sacks, a mark that represents a new career high. Warren's previous career best was 3.5 sacks, achieved in 2004. His two sacks against the Lions ties Warren's single-game career high total, also achieved on Nov. 22, 2004 at Kansas City. Warren entered today's game ranking second on the team with 74 tackles this season and led the team in tackles three times in the season's first 11 games.

The Patriots converted a fourth-and-one at the Lions' 13-yard line in the first quarter on a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Tom Brady. The conversion was New England's 14th fourth-down conversion of the season and raised their fourth-down conversion percentage to 82.4 percent (14-for-17) on the season. New England entered today's game leading the NFL in fourth-down conversions (13) and fourth-down conversion percentage (81.3).

The Patriots did not allow Detroit to score in the first quarter today, marking New England's fourth straight game with a first-quarter shutout. The Patriots have kept their opponents off the board in eight of 12 first quarters this season and have allowed just 26 first-quarter points all year - the fewest of any quarter. The Patriots defense has allowed just one first-quarter touchdown this season - to Indianapolis on Nov. 5. New England as a team has allowed a total of two first quarter touchdowns in 2006, with the other coming on a fumble return by the Buffalo Bills in the season opener.

Artrell Hawkins forced Detroit's Kevin Jones to fumble at the Patriots' 2-yard line in the second quarter as Detroit was driving with a 7-3 lead. Asante Samuel tipped the loose ball to Mike Vrabel, who pounced on the football to give the Patriots possession and thwart Detroit's scoring bid. The forced fumble was Hawkins' second of the season, with his other coming on a kickoff return against Indianapolis on Nov. 5. He has now recorded 13 forced fumbles in his 9-year NFL career. For Vrabel, the fumble recovery was his first of the season and the sixth of his career.


  • Daniel Graham served as an offensive captain for today's game, marking his first career game as a captain.
  • Asante Samuel batted a pass out of Roy Williams' hands in the front corner of the end zone on third down in the second quarter. The play helped to hold Detroit to a field goal after taking possession at the Patriots' 14-yard line following a fumble recovery.

The Patriots held the finals of their Punt, Pass and Kick competition prior to today's game. Below is a listing of the winners in each age division. The top 4-5 winners in each division nationally will advance to the national finals, which will be held at an NFC playoff game later this season.

8/9 Girls - Caroline Gillis (Billerica, MA)
8/9 Boys - Kaleb Faloon (Dover Foxcraft, ME)
10/11 Girls - Elisa Formiglio (Bozrah, CT)
10/11 Boys - Tyler Bailey (Cheshire, CT)
12/13 Girls - Anna Grant (Stratham, NH)
12/13 Boys - Chris Tamasi (Canton, MA)
14/15 Girls - Justine King (Ware, MA)
14/15 Boys - Michael Millen (Narragansett, RI)

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