The Patriots return to Foxborough this week for an early-Fall clash with the defending AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers. New England is coming off of a memorable victory against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, but will have no time to relish the win with the Chargers coming to town. The game will mark the Patriots' only Foxborough appearance in a six-week span, preceding the team's second two-game road trip before the Patriots enjoy their bye week on Oct. 23.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties and will be joined by analyst Phil Simms. Bonnie Bernstein will provide sideline reports throughout the game.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found in this press release. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 29th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 22nd season as a broadcast tandem.
The Patriots and Chargers will play for the 33rd time, as the old American Football League rivals renew a series that dates back to 1960, the inaugural season for each team. The clubs will meet for the first time since 2002, when the Patriots traveled to San Diego and saw their 12- game winning streak come to an end in a 21-14 loss to the Chargers. Prior to that game, the Patriots had defeated the Chargers 10 consecutive times dating back to 1970, the final season of the AFL. The last time the Chargers played in Foxborough was in a memorable game on Oct. 14, 2001. On that day, first-year starter Tom Brady led his first career fourth-quarter comeback, rallying the Patriots from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to claim a 29-26 overtime win. In addition to their regular-season encounters, the teams have met once in postseason play, with the Chargers claiming a 51-10 victory in the 1963 AFL Championship Game.
- Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimerplayed for the Patriots for two seasons from 1969-70. He appeared as a linebacker in 23 games with five starts over that span. Schottenheimer owns a 6-1 coaching record against his old team (1-0 with San Diego).
- Patriots tackle Matt Light and Patriots tackle Brandon Gorin protected Chargers quarterback Drew Brees while all three were at Purdue from 1998-2000.
- Patriots linebacker Monty Beisel and Chargers linebacker Ben Leber were part of the same linebacking corps at Kansas State from 1997-2000.
- Patriots wide receiver Tim Dwight and Chargers guard Mike Goff were four-year teammates with the Iowa Hawkeyes from 1994-97.
- Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie and wide receiver Tim Dwight played for San Diego for four seasons from 2001-04.
- Patriots guard Stephen Neal was born in San Diego and attended San Diego High School, where he was a five-sport athlete, lettering in football, wrestling, swimming, tennis and track & field.
- Chargers defensive end Jacques Cesaire is a native of Gardner, Mass. and attended Gardner High School before playing his college ball at Southern Connecticut State.
- Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper is a native of Wareham, Mass. and attended Wareham High School before playing his college ball at the University of Maine.
- Chargers center-guard Bob Hallen was with the Patriots during the 2004 preseason.
- Chargers special teams coach Steve Crosby was the special teams/tight ends coach for the Patriots in 1990. Crosby also served on Bill Belichick's coaching staff with the Cleveland Browns from 1991-94, coaching running backs (1991-93) and serving as the offensive coordinator (1994).
- Chargers asst. wide receivers coach Pete Carmichael, Jr. was born in Framingham, Mass. and attended Medway High School in Medway Mass. He was also a four-year letterman in baseball at Boston College, graduating in 1994.
- Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch set a career high with 13 receptions against San Diego on Sept. 29, 2002.
- Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel caught his first career touchdown pass against San Diego on Sept. 29, 2002. Vrabel has totaled five career touchdowns as a tight end.
Home Sweet Home
The Patriots enter this week's game sporting a 25-3 (.893) all-time record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games. New England has won 21 consecutive regular-season and postseason contests at home, with its last defeat coming in a 30-14 regular-season loss to the New York Jets on Dec. 22, 2002. Last season, the Patriots were undefeated at home for the second consecutive season, winning all eight regular-season games and one postseason game in Foxborough. The Patriots' home winning streak is the longest in the NFL.
The Patriots will wear their silver jerseys this week for the first and only time in the 2005 season. New England will don its silver duds for the fourth time since the alternate uniform made its debut in the 2003 season. Silver has served the Patriots well in the past, as New England has won all three previous games in which it has worn silver, including two shutouts. The jerseys made their debut on Nov. 16, 2003 in the Patriots' 12-0 victory over Dallas at Gillette Stadium. They returned the following month in New England's snowy 12-0 AFC East-clinching victory over Miami on Dec. 7, 2003. Last season, the jerseys made their one and only appearance in the Patriots' 35-28 victory over Cincinnati on Dec. 12, 2004 in Foxborough, a win that also clinched the AFC East crown.
Among the League Leaders
The number of receptions by Deion Branch through three games, tops among all AFC receivers. Branch's reception total is tied for fourth in the NFL.
The number of completions by Tom Brady through three games in 2005, leading the NFL. Donovan McNabb ranks second with 77 completions.
The number of passing yards for Brady through three games, ranking second in the NFL. McNabb leads all passers with 964 yards.
The number of passing first downs earned by Brady through three games, ranking third in the NFL. St. Louis' Marc Bulger and McNabb are tied for the lead with 45 first downs.
The number of rushing touchdowns by Corey Dillon through three games, ranking second in the AFC behind San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (6 touchdowns). Dillon's total is tied for third in the NFL with Chicago's Thomas Jones and Carolina's Stephen Davis, behind Tomlinson (6) and Seattle's Shawn Alexander (5).
The average number of yards per punt return for Tim Dwight (9- 99), ranking second in the AFC.
The ranking of the Patriots' pass offense among all AFC teams. New England has averaged 300.3 passing yards per game this season. The Patriots rank second in the NFL, trailing only the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tom Brady's ranking among AFC passers in yards (948), completions (78) and passing attempts (123).
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at quarterback.
Consecutive games in which Matt Light has started at left tackle.
Consecutive field goals made by Adam Vinatieri of 47 yards or fewer.
Consecutive games played in which Deion Branch has recorded at least one reception.
Consecutive victories when producing a positive turnover differential.
Consecutive victories at Gillette Stadium (21 games including playoffs).
Consecutive overtime wins (8 games including playoffs).
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games. NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.