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Pre-Game Report

DATE:
November 11, 2001

SITE:
Foxboro Stadium (60,292) - Grass

TIME:
1:00 p.m. EST

TELEVISON:
This week's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Gus Johnson will provide the play-by-play detail and will be joined by broadcast partner Brent Jones.

RADIO:
WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, now in his 25th season as voice of the Patriots, will call the action along with former Patriots Wide Receiver/Kicker Gino Cappelletti.

The New England Patriots improved to 4-4 after winning two of three on the road. This week, they return home to host the Buffalo Bills (1-6). It will be the Patriots first of three consecutive games at Foxboro Stadium.

After an 0-2 start, the Patriots have rebounded to win four of their last six games, including two straight at Foxboro Stadium. A victory this week would give the Patriots their first three-game, single-season home win streak since 1998 and would push their record over .500 for the first time in two years. With a 4-4 record, the Patriots remain in fourth place in the division, but trail the division-leading Dolphins by just 1.5 games.

If history is any indicator, fans can anticipate a low-scoring, close game against the Bills. While the Patriots have played in just one game that was decided by three points or less this season (a 29-26 overtime victory over San Diego), each of the last three contests in the series between the Patriots and Bills has been decided by a field goal in overtime. Two of those three games were played at Foxboro Stadium. Five of the last six games in the series have been decided by no more than four points.

Last week, the Patriots defense stormed Atlanta, as eight different defenders collected a total of nine sacks. It was the second most in franchise history and within one of the team record of 10 (set in 1963). It was just the fifth time the team has been credited with nine sacks in one game and the first since 1999 (vs. the Dolphins 10/17/99). Willie McGinest led the charge with two sacks in his second consecutive game for the first time of his career. Offensively, Antowain Smith became the first Patriots running back to rush for over 100 yards since Terry Allen rushed for 126 yards vs. Buffalo (12/26/99).

The Patriots overcame a -1 turnover ratio (two give-aways, one take-away) to win the game for the first time since they defeated the Dallas Cowboys (12/5/99) despite a -2 turnover ratio. Since then, the Patriots had lost nine consecutive games in which they had a negative turnover ratio.

Midway through the 2001 season, multiple Patriots find themselves among the league leaders. Troy Brown is having a career-year and has the potential to break the Patriots all-time single-season reception record. He currently ranks second in the NFL in receptions (53) and third in yards receiving (678). At his current pace, Brown will finish the season with 106 receptions, 10 more than Ben Coates' team record of 96 in 1994. Tom Brady, 4-2 as a starter, is among the league leaders in multiple passing categories. His 90.0 passer rating currently ranks third in the AFC and only Rich Gannon (9:1) and Donovan McNabb (3:1) have a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Brady's (2.5:1). Adam Vinatieri's 59 points this season ranks fourth in the NFL.

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