September 30, 2001
Foxboro Stadium (62,292) - Grass
1:00 p.m. EDT
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.
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 center Peter Brock.
The New England Patriots (0-2) will host the undefeated Indianapolis Colts (2-0) this Sunday, their second of three consecutive divisional games. The Colts have taken an early lead in the division with both victories coming against division foes, the New York Jets (45-24) and the Buffalo Bills (42-26).
Second-year quarterback Tom Brady will make his NFL starting debut this week, replacing Drew Bledsoe, who sustained an injury late in the fourth quarter vs. the New York Jets (9/23/01). The Michigan product made his last start in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2000. He completed 34 of 46 attempts for 369 yards and touchdowns of 27, 57, 20 and 25 yards. The 25-yard touchdown toss proved to be the game-winning touchdown in a 35-34 overtime victory over Alabama.
Bledsoe has started 124 of 130 possible regular season games since joining the Patriots in 1993, including each of the last 34 consecutive games. The last time an injury sidelined Bledsoe was in 1998 after suffering a fractured right index finger. He started three games after sustaining the injury, but was sidelined for the last two games of the regular season after the Patriots clinched a playoff berth. Scott Zolak replaced Bledsoe on Dec. 20, 1998 and led the Patriots to a 24-21 victory over the 49ers.
Since 1993, only three different quarterbacks have started for the Patriots. Bledsoe has started 124 games, while Zolak and Scott Secules started three apiece. In 1992, the year before the Patriots drafted Bledsoe, the team introduced four different starting quarterbacks in one season.
This year marks the fourth 0-2 start by the Patriots in the last seven years. In two of the last three seasons that the team started 0-2, they rebounded to claim a playoff berth. In 1994, the team rebounded from 0-2 to win 10 of their last 14 games to earn a wild-card berth. It was their first playoff berth in eight years. In 1996, the team recovered from an 0-2 start to win 11 of their final 14 games to clinch the AFC East division title en route to their second conference title in franchise history.
Next week, the Patriots face their third consecutive division rival when they travel to Miami to play the Dolphins.