The Patriots return home to Gillette Stadium to face the Tennessee Titans this week, beginning a stretch of three home games in four weeks. New England enters its October homestand with a 2-2 record and a share of second place in the AFC East, a half-game behind the 2-1 Miami Dolphins. The Patriots finished the opening month of the season with a .500 record despite a rash of injuries and a schedule that sent them on the road in three of the first four weeks of the season. This week against Tennessee, the Patriots hope to have a solid start to the season's second month.
The Patriots defense showed tremendous resiliency last week by allowing the Redskins just 21 total yards in the final 19:45 of the tight 20-17 loss, but it will have its hands full this week as it faces the NFL's top-ranked quarterback, Steve McNair. The Titans' signal caller leads the league with a 110.9 passer rating, but the Patriots defense has shown an ability to cool off hot offenses. Last week, despite missing four opening-day starters due to injury, New England held Washington quarterback Patrick Ramsey to his lowest passing output of the season and held Redskins wide receiver Laveranues Coles to just 62 yards, breaking his string of three straight 100-yard receiving games.
On offense, the Patriots will look to continue their momentum from last week, when Tom Brady threw for 289 yards, his biggest output in 11 games. The Patriots rushing attack chalked up more than 100 yards for the third time in four games last week, but will run into a Titans defense that ranks third in the NFL against the run (63.3 ypg).
Next week, the Patriots will continue their homestand at Gillette Stadium against the New York Giants (Oct. 12) before traveling to Miami (Oct. 19). New England returns home to close out the month with its third October home game on the 26th of the month against Cleveland.
This week's game will be televised by CBS. The game can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Gus Johnson will handle the play-by-play duties and Brent Jones will provide analysis. Following the game, the Fifth Quarter postgame show can be seen on WBZ-TV.
WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 27th season as the voice of the Patriots, and calls the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. In 2003, Santos and Cappelletti celebrate their 20th season as a broadcast tandem.
The Patriots have an all-time record of 60-41-1 (.593) against the teams that make up the AFC South. It is the only division in the NFL where the Patriots own a winning record against all of the teams they have played. New England owns winning marks against Tennessee (18-16-1), Indianapolis (39-24) and Jacksonville (3-1). The Patriots will meet the Houston Texans for the first time this season (11/23). In 2003, the Patriots will play each of the four AFC South teams, hosting Tennessee this week, then traveling to Houston (11/23) and Indianapolis (11/30) in back-to-back weeks in late November. New England closes out its slate against the south by hosting Jacksonville on Dec. 14.
The Patriots lost a tight game for the first time in a while last week when they dropped a nail-biter against the Redskins, 20-17. It was the first time the Patriots had lost a game decided by five points or less since Dec. 24, 2000, when they fell to the Miami Dolphins, 27-24. Since that time, the Patriots had won all eight of their games decided by five or less, including wins over Oakland (16-13) and St. Louis (20-17) in the 2001 postseason. The Patriots won three games by five points or less in each of the past two seasons. Six of the eight wins during the streak were decided in overtime. Even including last week's game, the Patriots are still 11-2 in their last 13 games decided by five points or less.
The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans will play for the 36th time this week, dating back to the days of the Boston Patriots and Houston Oilers of the American Football League. The Patriots have an overall lead in the all-time series, holding an 18-16-1 advantage. The teams played twice each year from 1960-1969 in the AFL, and have played 14 times since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. In those 14 post-merger games, the Patriots have an 8-6 record. Since the Titans have played in Tennessee, the Patriots have played them twice, taking a 27-16 win at Foxboro Stadium in 1998 and dropping a 24-7 decision in Tennessee last season on Monday Night Football. The Patriots have had significant recent success against the Titans in Foxborough, coming out on the winning end five of the last six times the Titans have traveled to New England. The teams have met once in the playoffs, with the Oilers spoiling the Patriots' first home playoff game in club history with a 31-14 win in 1978.
|PATRIOTS 18, HOUSTON/TENNESSEE 16 (1 tie)|
|1960||Houston 24, at NE 10||-14||BU Field|
|at Houston 37, NE 21||-16||Jeppesen Stadium|
|1961||at NE 31, Houston 31||tie||BU Field|
|at Houston 27, NE 15||-12||Jeppesen Stadium|
|1962||at NE 34, Houston 21||+13||BU Field|
|at Houston 21, NE 17||-4||Jeppesen Stadium|
|1963||at NE 45, Houston 3||+42||Fenway Park|
|NE 46, at Houston 28||+18||Jeppesen Stadium|
|1964||at NE 25, Houston 24||+1||Fenway Park|
|NE 34, at Houston 17||+17||Jeppesen Stadium|
|1965||at Houston 31, NE 10||-21||Rice Stadium|
|at NE 42, Houston 14||+28||Fenway Park|
|1966||at NE 27, Houston 21||+6||Fenway Park|
|NE 38, at Houston 14||+24||Rice Stadium|
|1967||at NE 18, Houston 7||+11||Fenway Park|
|at Houston 27, NE 6||-21||Rice Stadium|
|1968||Houston 16, at NE 0||-16||Fenway Park|
|at Houston 45, NE 17||-28||Houston Astrodome|
|1969||at NE 24, Houston 0||+24||B.C. Alumni Stadium|
|at Houston 27, NE 23||-4||Houston Astrodome|
|1971||at NE 28, Houston 20||+8||Schaefer Stadium|
|1973||NE 32, at Houston 0||+32||Houston Astrodome|
|1975||Houston 7, at NE 0||-7||Schaefer Stadium|
|1978||Houston 26, at NE 23||-3||Schaefer Stadium|
|Houston 31, at NE 14||-17||Schaefer Stadium|
|1980||at Houston 38, NE 34||-4||Houston Astrodome|
|1981||at NE 38, Houston 10||+28||Schaefer Stadium|
|1982||at NE 29, Houston 21||+8||Schaefer Stadium|
|1987||NE 21, at Houston 7||+14||Houston Astrodome|
|1988||at Houston 31, NE 6||-25||Houston Astrodome|
|1989||at NE 23, Houston 13||+10||Foxboro Stadium|
|1991||at NE 24, Houston 20||+4||Foxboro Stadium|
|1993||Houston 28, at NE 14||-14||Foxboro Stadium|
|1998||at NE 27, Tennessee 16||+11||Foxboro Stadium|
|2002||at Tennessee 24, NE 7||-17||The Coliseum|
|AFC Divisional Playoff|
|Overall Record in Series||18 wins, 16 losses, 1 tie|
|Total Points||Patriots 803, Titans/Oilers 727|
|Record in New England||13 wins, 6 losses, 1 tie|
|Record in Houston||5 wins, 9 losses|
|Record in Tennessee||0 wins, 1 loss|
|Longest win streak||4 games (Twice, last 12/18/65 – 11/05/67)|
|Longest losing streak||4 games (09/21/75 – 11/10/80)|
TALE OF THE TAPE
|2003 Regular Season||New England||Tennessee|
|Total Yards Gained||1,229||1,153|
|Total Offense (Rank)||307.3 (17)||288.3 (25)|
|Rush Offense||105.0 (15)||68.5 (29)|
|Pass Offense||202.3 (21)||219.8 (14)|
|Points Per Game||17.8||22.3|
|Total Yards Allowed||1,169||1,135|
|Total Defense||292.3 (8)||283.8 (5)|
|Rush Defense||97.0 (T-13)||63.3 (3)|
|Pass Defense||195.3 (12)||220.5 (18)|
|Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost||10/70||9/41|
THE LAST TIME
Tennessee 24, Patriots 7 – December 16, 2002
The Patriots fell to 8-6 with a tough loss to the Titans at The Coliseum in Nashville on Monday Night Football. Each team went into the game on a roll, with the Patriots having won five of their last six games and the Titans having taken seven of their last eight contests. But it was the Titans who kept their momentum going, winning the pivotal battle, qualifying for the playoffs, and proceeding to advance all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
Steve McNair paced the Titans with two touchdown runs in the second quarter to give Tennessee a 14-0 halftime lead. Eddie George helped the Titans control the clock, rushing 31 times for 101 yards, and safety Rich Coady returned an interception 24 yards for a third-quarter touchdown to put Tennessee in form command in the third quarter. For the Patriots, Tom Brady provided one of the evening's few bright spots, rushing for his first career touchdown on a 10-yard run up the middle in the third quarter.
The teams battled to a scoreless first quarter, as the Patriots forced a missed Tennessee field goal on the home team's first possession. The clubs were locked in a field position battle for the remainder of the first quarter, but the Titans broke onto the board first on McNair's first touchdown run of the night, an 11-yard scamper that put the Titans up 7-0. Two Titans possessions later, McNair struck again with a 1-yard touchdown run, giving Tennessee a 14-0 halftime advantage.
The Patriots got things going on the first possession of the second half, driving 69 yards on six plays to close the gap to 14-7 on Brady's touchdown run. But after forcing Tennessee to punt, Coady intercepted the ball on the Patriots' very next play and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 Tennessee lead. The Titans defense did not allow the Patriots to mount a successful comeback and held on for the 24-7 win.
-Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was born on April 16, 1952, in Nashville, Tenn.
-When he was Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns, Belichick hired Jim Schwartz in the scouting department. Currently, Schwartz is the Defensive Coordinator for the Tennessee Titans.
-Patriots outside linebackers coach Rob Ryan coached at Tennessee State for five years: running backs, 1989-91; linebackers, 1992; defensive line, 1993.
-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ran for his first career touchdown as he called his own number on an audible and got the Patriots on the scoreboard with a 10-yard quarterback sneak up the middle at Tennessee. (12/16/02)
-Patriots quarterback Rohan Davey completed his first professional pass, a three-yard strike to Daniel Graham, on the final play of the game against Tennessee. (12/16/02)
-Patriots running back Kevin Faulk was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 1999 NFL draft (46th overall). The pick was acquired in a trade with the Tennessee Titans in exchange for the Patriots second-round pick (52nd overall-John Thornton) and fourth-round pick (117th overall-Donald Mitchell).
-Patriots safety Aric Morris was originally drafted by the Tennessee in the 2000 NFL draft with their first of two fifth-round selections; in the three seasons he played with the Titans, Morris appeared in 47 games, earning 10 starts and recording 56 tackles (41 solos) and 1.5 sacks.
-Patriots defensive end Anthony Pleasant played his collegiate career at Tennessee State.
-While playing for the Buffalo Bills, Patriots running back Antowain Smith carried the load in the Wild Card contest against the Titans with 79 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, despite playing with a turf toe injury; In the game he picked up his first two touchdowns in postseason play on runs of four and one yards, becoming just the fourth Bill to score multiple touchdowns in a postseason game. (1/8/00)
-Titans head coach Jeff Fisher was on Chicago's injured reserve list in 1985 and was assisting Assistant Coach Buddy Ryan as an "unofficial" coach when the Bears beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XX.
-Titans wide receivers coach Steve Walters began his NFL coaching career with the Patriots in 1992, serving as defensive backs coach for three seasons. After coaching with the Patriots, Walters spent one season coaching at the University of Alabama and 11 seasons coaching for the New Orleans Saints, before returning for two seasons (1997-98) as a wide receivers coach for New England.
-Patriots tackle Tom Ashworth and tight end Daniel Graham were two years ahead of Titans running back Chris Brown at Colorado. Patriots tight end Christian Fauria and linebacker Ted Johnson also played at Colorado.
-Patriots safety Aric Morris played for four years at Michigan State with Titans defensive tackle Robaire Smith. Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason played for the Spartans three years ahead of the pair.
-Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel played one class behind Titans running back Eddie George at Ohio State. Titans' rookie safety Donnie Nickey also played his collegiate career at OSU.
-Titans tackle Brad Hopkins and running back Robert Holcombe were separated by five years at their alma mater, Illinois. Holcombe and Patriots rookie cornerback Eugene Wilson were also separated by five years at Illinois.
PATRIOTS – TITANS QUICK HITS
-The Patriots have defeated the Titans five out of the last six times they have met in Foxborough.
-Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher is 1-1 against the Patriots.
-Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick is 4-7 against the Titans/Oilers (4-6 as head coach of the Cleveland Browns).
-This week's game marks the first time the Tennessee franchise has played in New England under the nickname "Titans." For their last visit in 1998, they were known as the Tennessee Oilers.
-Troy Brown is the only current Patriot to play for New England against the Houston Oilers (10/17/93).
-The Titans are one of just three teams that Tom Brady has played against but has a losing record. The Patriots are 0-1 against Tennessee with Brady as the starter. Brady has records of .500 or above against 15 different teams. Besides Tennessee, Brady is also below .500 against Denver (0-2) and Green Bay (0-1).
-The Patriots and Titans/Oilers are two of the 10 old AFL franchises. The Patriots play six of the other nine original AFL teams this season.
THIS WEEK IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
The Patriots have a 14-11 record in Week Five since the NFL went to the 16-game schedule in 1978. Below are some memorable moments in Patriots history from the week of Sept. 29 – Oct. 5.
Sept. 30, 2001 — On the day that Bruce Armstrong was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, New England got its first win of the 2001 season, beating the previously-undefeated Indianapolis Colts, 44-13. Tom Brady got his first NFL start and led the Patriots to an impressive win at Foxboro Stadium that began an 11-3 run to finish the regular season en route to the team's Super Bowl XXXVI win.
Oct. 1, 2000 — Bill Belichick got his first win as head coach of the Patriots with an impressive 28-19 win in Denver, snapping a 32-year drought for New England in the Mile High City.
Oct. 3, 1999 — Terry Glenn set a Patriots record with 214 receiving yards (on 13 receptions) in a 19-7 win at Cleveland.
Oct. 2, 1977 — Raymond Clayborn returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in a 30-27 loss to the Jets at Shea Stadium.
Oct. 4, 1964 — Gino Cappelletti hit all six of his field goal tries in a 39-10 win at Denver, setting a Patriots record for field goals in a game.
BY THE NUMBERS
ODDS AND ENDS
The number of Patriots rookies who have intercepted a pass this season (Asante Samuel and Eugene Wilson).
The number of AFC rookies who have intercepted a pass this season (Asante Samuel and Eugene Wilson).
The number of consecutive weeks in which Tedy Bruschi has led the team or tied for the team lead in tackles.
The number of touchdown passes the Patriots have given up this season, tying them for second in the NFL in that category.
MOVING ON UP
The number of career receptions made by fullback Larry Centers.
Centers' rank on the NFL's all-time receptions list.
The number of receptions Centers needs to pass Irving Fryar (851) and move into sixth place on the NFL's all-time receptions list.
The number of running backs who have caught more passes in their career than Centers.
SEVEN YEARS AND COUNTING
The Patriots' record in preseason, regular-season and postseason games since 1996 (.594 win pct.).
The Patriots' regular-season record since 1996 (.560 win pct).
The Patriots' postseason record since 1996 (.667 win pct.).
The Patriots' preseason record since 1996 (.700 win pct).
NOT HALF BAD
The number of consecutive games the Patriots have won when leading at halftime.
The Patriots record in their last 18 games in which they have led at halftime.
The number of consecutive games the Patriots have won when leading after three quarters.
THE KRAFT ERA
The number of consecutive Patriots preseason, regular-season and postseason home games that have been sold out since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994.
The number of consecutive Patriots games that have been televised locally.
The Patriots record at home since 1994, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
The Patriots record at Gillette Stadium, including preseason and regular-season games (.769 winning percentage).
THIRD DOWN DOMINANCE
The combined success ratio of the Patriots' last three opponents (the Eagles, Jets and Redskins) on third down.
The number of times the Patriots have held their opponents under 30 percent on third downs this season.
The number of times the Patriots held their opponents under 30 percent on third downs all of last season.
The Patriots record in their last 10 games when holding their opponents under 30 percent on third downs.
Tom Brady's record as a starting quarterback in the NFL, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
Brady's winning percentage as a starter (including all games).
Brady's career postseason record.
Brady's career overtime record (including postseason).
The number of punt returns Troy Brown has made in his career.
The number of punt returns Troy Brown needs to become the Patriots all-time leader, passing Irving Fryar (206 returns).
The number of receptions Brown has made in his career.
The number of receptions Brown needs to move ahead of Ben Coates (490) into second place on the Patriots all-time reception list.
The number of receiving yards Brown has chalked up in his career.
The number of receiving yards Brown needs to pass Jim Colclough (5,001) and move into fourth place on the Patriots' all-time list.
The number of consecutive games, including the playoffs, that Troy Brown has appeared in which he has at least one reception.
The number of receptions Brown has made since the start of the 2000 season, the most productive three-plus seasons by a receiver in Patriots history.
The number of interceptions Ty Law (29 career INTs) needs to become just the second Patriot in franchise history to record 30 career interceptions.
The number of interceptions Law needs to move ahead of Raymond Clayborn (36) to claim the franchise record.
Adam Vinatieri's rank on the franchise's all-time field goals list, having kicked 192 successful field goals.
Kevin Faulk's rank on the franchise's all-time kickoff returners' list, with 144 returns for 3,309 yards and two touchdowns.