100th WIN FOR BELICHICK
Tonight's 30-20 victory over the Raiders marked the 100th overall victory as a head coach for Bill Belichick. The Patriots head coach is now 90-71 in the regular season and 10-1 in the playoffs for an overall mark of 100-72 in his career. Belichick is 63-27 overall as head coach of the Patriots. Belichick joins eight other active coaches in the 100-win club (Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs, Bill Cowher, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Dick Vermeil and Dennis Green) and is the 33rd head coach in NFL history to record 100 overall wins. Belichick and Parcells are the only coaches to have earned their 100th career win with the Patriots. Parcells earned his 100th overall win in the Patriots' 1994 season finale.
With 306 passing yards tonight, Tom Brady notched the ninth 300-yard passing game of his regular-season career. He also has had two 300-yard games in the playoffs. The last time he threw for over 300 yards was at Kansas City on Nov. 22, 2004, when he notched 315 yards. Against the Raiders, Brady had a 105.8 passer rating, marking the 27th time he has achieved a rating of 100.0 or better in his regular-season and playoff career. The Patriots are now 27-0 in games when Brady posts a rating of 100.0 or better.
DOUBLE-DIP FOR DILLON
Corey Dillon ran for two touchdowns tonight, marking the 12th multiple rushing touchdown game of his career. Last season, Dillon ran into the end zone twice in three games, with his last two-touchdown performance coming on Dec. 5, 2004 at Cleveland. Dillon set a career high with 12 scoring runs in 2004 tying him for third on the Patriots single-season list.
Patriots punter Josh Miller dropped back-to-back punts inside the Raiders' 5-yard line in the third quarter. His first punt of the second half was a 48-yard bomb that bounced just in front of the goal line and spun back to the 4-yard line, where it was downed by Larry Izzo. Miller's next punt was a 49-yard boot that bounced around deep in Raiders territory and was downed by Randall Gay at the 4-yard line.
Vince Wilfork recorded the first interception of his career when he grabbed a Kerry Collins pass with 5:52 left in the third quarter. He became the first Patriots defensive lineman to intercept a pass since Dec. 8, 2002 against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium, when Richard Seymour intercepted Drew Bledsoe. Tonight's turnover gave New England possession of the ball at the Raiders' 20-yard line and set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Corey Dillon three plays later, giving the Patriots a solid 23-14 lead. Jarvis Green was a key part of creating the turnover, hitting Collins' arm as he was throwing the pass and causing the ball to flutter into the air, where Wilfork picked it off.
THIRD DOWN DOMINANCE
The Patriots defense held the Raiders offense to just four of 13 conversions on third down (31%). The last time New England limited an opposing team to 31 percent or less on third down was against the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 5, 2004. In that game, the Patriots defense held the Browns to five of 16 conversions on third down (31%).
The Patriots began their 46th season tonight and opened the season with a home game for the 27th time. The Patriots now hold an all-time record of 22-24 in season-opening games, but are 15-12 when opening the season at home. Since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, the team has opened the season at home on five previous occasions, compiling a 4-1 record in those games.
HOME SWEET HOME
Tonight's win over the Raiders was the Patriots' 21st consecutive home victory (including three playoff games). The Patriots sport a 25-3 (.893) all-time record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games. The last time New England lost at home was on Dec. 22, 2002, a 30-14 regular-season loss to the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. Tonight's game was the Patriots' 118th consecutive sellout, including all preseason, regular season and playoff games dating back to the 1994 regular season opener.
The Patriots' 2005 captains were on the field for the opening coin toss. The offensive captains are Tom Brady (fourth season as a captain) and Troy Brown (fourth season). The defensive captains are Rodney Harrison (third season), Richard Seymour (third season) and Mike Vrabel (first season). The special teams captain is Larry Izzo (fifth season).
THE DWIGHT STUFF ON PUNT RETURNS
Tim Dwight made a splash with his first punt return as a Patriot, gaining 27 yards on a first-quarter return. It was the longest punt return by a Patriot since the 2002 season, when Deion Branch rattled off a 40-yard return against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 27, 2002. In 2003, the longest punt return was a 23-yard scamper by Troy Brown (09/21/03 vs. N.Y. Jets). In 2004, the longest punt return was also a 23-yarder by Brown (12/26/04).
The Patriots wore a patch on their uniforms tonight commemorating their Super Bowl XXXIX victory. The Patriots will wear the patch only for tonight's game. New England wore a similar patch in last season's opening game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Benjamin Watson caught two passes for 55 yards on the Patriots' first drive, leading to a 26-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri. As a rookie last season, the former first-round draft choice played in one game, the season-opener against Indianapolis) and had two catches for 16 yards.
- Mike Vrabel dropped Kerry Collins for a 6-yard sack late in the third quarter. It was the Patriots' first sack of the season.
- Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green combined to stop Oakland running back Lamont Jordan in the backfield for a 4-yard loss in the second quarter.
- Monty Beisel and Jarvis Green combined to drop Oakland running back Zack Crockett for a 1-yard loss in the second quarter.
- Adam Vinatieri had an extra point blocked in the third quarter. It was the first point after miss for Vinatieri since Nov. 16, 2003, when he had a PAT blocked against Dallas.
The Patriots allowed the Raiders to score a touchdown on their opening drive, marking the first time in 37 games that New England had allowed an opening-drive touchdown. The streak included six playoff games and dated back to the 2003 season opener (at Buffalo, 09/07/03). In the 2004 regular season and playoffs (a total of 19 games), the Patriots allowed opponents only six points on their first offensive possession, a mark that led the NFL.
Deion Branch picked up right where he left off last year, catching the Patriots' first touchdown of the season on an 18-yard grab from Tom Brady in the first quarter. For Branch, the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP, it was his 10th career touchdown catch, and for Brady, the MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, it was his 98th career scoring pass.
Tim Dwight caught his first touchdown pass as a Patriot, scurrying around the edge to snare a 5-yard pass from Brady to give the Patriots a 17-14 lead in the second quarter. Last season with the San Diego Chargers, Dwight had just two receptions while playing in 12 games. Tonight's score was the 14th career touchdown grab for the eighth-year veteran.
The Raiders took a 14-10 lead in the second quarter on a 73-yard bomb from Kerry Collins to Randy Moss. It was the longest play from scrimmage the Patriots have allowed since Dec. 4, 2000, when Kansas City's Elvis Grbac connected with Derrick Alexander on an 81-yard touchdown pass at Foxboro Stadium.
PATRIOTS IN THE COMMUNITY
On Saturday, Sept. 10, nearly 70 children from the Challenger Sports Program will visit Gillette Stadium to hold flag football games in the Dana-Farber Field House. The Challenger Sports Program is designed to provide children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in youth sports. Children between the ages of six and 18 with learning and physical limitations will be attending as part of the NFL's Play Football Month.