Final game notes, courtesy of the Patriots' media relations department:
PATRIOTS SET NFL RECORD FOR MOST TOUCHDOWNS IN A SEASON
With Jabar Gaffney’s 48-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter - the Patriots’ 71st touchdown of the year - New England set a new NFL record for most touchdowns in a season. The Patriots passed the previous record of 70 touchdowns, achieved by the 1984 Miami Dolphins. Following today’s game, the Patriots have scored 71 touchdowns - 48 passing, 15 rushing and eight via returns. The 1984 Dolphins scored 70 touchdowns - 49 passing, 18 rushing and three via returns.
PATRIOTS HAVE HIGHEST SINGLE-SEASON POINT DIFFERENTIAL IN NFL HISTORY
Following their 28-7 win over Miami, the Patriots have outscored their opponents by a net total of 312 points this season (551 points scored, 239 points allowed). The point differential of +312 stands as the highest single-season total in NFL history, topping the +292 recorded by the 1942 Chicago Bears (376 points scored, 84 points allowed in an 11-game season). New England’s 551 points scored are the second highest total in NFL history, trailing only the NFL-record 556 points scored by the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. The Patriots have scored an average of 36.7 points per game, a mark that ranks second in NFL history to the 1950 Los Angeles Rams, who averaged 38.8 points per game (466 points in 12 games).
PATRIOTS FINISH UNDEFEATED IN DIVISION FOR FIRST TIME IN TEAM HISTORY
The Patriots have won all six of their games against AFC East division teams this season, marking the first time in team history that the Patriots have swept their division. The previous franchise-low of one divisional loss was achieved on five occasions: 1986, 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
PATRIOTS SET FRANCHISE RECORD FOR TOTAL NET YARDS IN A SEASON
The Patriots have set a new franchise record for total net yards in a single season, topping the previous mark of 5,965 total net yards, set in 1978. The Patriots broke the franchise record on a 59-yard touchdown run by Laurence Maroney in the second quarter, after which the team had totaled 6,015 total net yards this season. New England finished the game with 6,190 total net yards this season.
PATRIOTS SET FRANCHISE RECORD FOR MOST FIRST DOWNS IN A SEASON
On a 16-yard pass from Tom Brady to Donte Stallworth in the first quarter, the Patriots gained their second first down of the game and their 349th first down of the season, setting a new franchise record for most first downs in a season. New England has topped its old team mark of 348 first downs, set in 1994. The Patriots finished the game with 366 first downs on the year.
PATRIOTS ARE FIRST TEAM TO START A SEASON WITH 15 STRAIGHT WINS
With their victory today, the Patriots have become the first team in NFL history to begin a regular season with 15 consecutive victories. The NFL expanded its regular season from 14 games to 16 games in 1978. New England topped the previous mark of 14 wins, achieved by the 1972 Miami Dolphins (who played in a 14-game season). Six teams have begun a season with 13 straight wins.
PATRIOTS TIE NFL RECORD WITH 18th CONSECUTIVE REGULAR-SEASON WIN
The Patriots have won their 18th straight regular-season game, tying the NFL record also achieved by the 2003-04 Patriots. New England has not lost a regular-season game since Dec. 10, 2006, when they fell 21-0 to the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots won their final three regular-season games in 2006 and have won 15 consecutive games to begin the 2007 season. The 1933-34 Chicago Bears hold the next longest winning streak, at 17 games.
PATRIOTS TIE NFL RECORD FOR MOST REGULAR-SEASON WINS
With 15 victories this season, the Patriots have tied the NFL record for most regular-season victories, joining the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers, the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. The NFL expanded its regular season from 14 games to 16 games in 1978. New England’s 15 regular-season wins have set a new franchise record, topping the team’s 14 wins in 2003 and 2004.
PATRIOTS ARE TIED FOR FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED IN NFL
The Patriots have allowed just 239 points this season, tying them with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the fewest points allowed in the NFL. New England has allowed an average of 15.9 points per game this season, just one season after setting a franchise record in allowing 14.8 points per game in 2006. The Patriots’ current mark of 15.9 points allowed per game ranks fourth in the franchise’s 48-year history.
BRADY-TO-MOSS FOR NFL-RECORD 20th AND 21st TIME
Tom Brady and Randy Moss hooked up for two touchdowns in the first half, marking the 20th and 21st time that the pair has combined for a score this season. The touchdowns extending their NFL record for the most touchdown passes between any passer and receiver in a single season. The previous NFL record for most touchdown connections between a passer and receiver was 18, achieved by Miami’s Dan Marino and Mark Clayton in 1984 and by Green Bay’s Brett Favre and Sterling Sharpe in 1994. When Jerry Rice caught his NFL-record 22 touchdown receptions in 1987, he caught 13 touchdowns from quarterback Joe Montana, eight touchdowns from quarterback Steve Young and one touchdown from running back Harry Sydney.
BRADY THROWS 46th, 47th AND 48th TOUCHDOWN PASSES OF SEASON
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes against Miami - two to Randy Moss and one to Jabar Gaffney. The touchdown passes raised was Brady’s total to 48 this season, a mark that is tied for second on the NFL’s all-time list with Dan Marino (48 scoring passes in 1984). Brady trails only Peyton Manning’s NFL-record total of 49 touchdown passes in 2004. Today’s game is Brady’s 12th game of the season with three or more touchdown passes, extending his NFL record for most games with three or more scoring tosses in a season. Miami’s Dan Marino ranks second with 10 in 1984.
MOSS CATCHES 20th AND 21st TOUCHDOWN PASSES OF SEASON
Randy Moss caught two touchdown passes against Miami, grabbing an 11-yard score in the first quarter and a 1-yard score in the second quarter. The touchdown receptions were Moss’s 20th and 21st of the season. Moss’s 21 touchdown receptions rank second in NFL history, trailing only Jerry Rice’s 22 touchdown catches in 1987. With his first-quarter scoring grab, Moss joined Rice as the only players in NFL history to record 20 or more touchdown receptions in a single season.
VRABEL’S 11.5 SACKS ARE MOST FOR A PATRIOT IN A SEASON IN THE LAST 20 YEARS
Mike Vrabel sacked Miami’s Cleo Lemon twice - for a 5-yard loss in the second quarter and for a 4-yard sack in the third quarter - raising his season total to 11.5 sacks. Vrabel’s 11.5 sacks mark the highest total by a Patriots player since 1987, when Andre Tippett totaled 12.5 sacks. Vrabel is the first Patriot to exceed 10.0 sacks in a dozen seasons, dating back to 1995 when Willie McGinest totaled 11.0 sacks.
WELKER TIES FRANCHISE’S SINGLE-SEASON RECEPTIONS RECORD
With five receptions tonight, Wes Welker has totaled 101 receptions on the season, tying Troy Brown’s 2001 total for the Patriots franchise record. Welker recorded his 101st catch on a 20-yard reception in the third quarter. Welker recorded his 100th catch of the season on a 5-yard reception in the third quarter, joining Troy Brown as the only Patriots to achieve the 100-catch mark in a season.
MARONEY RECORDS PATRIOTS’ HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME YARDS-PER-CARRY SINCE 1974
Laurence Maroney averaged 11.1 yards per carry, rushing 14 times for 156 yards. Maroney’s 11.1 yards per carry is the highest by a Patriots player who has run the ball at least 10 times since Sam Cunningham averaged 11.4 yards per carry (125 yards on 11 rushes) at Buffalo on Oct. 20, 1974. Maroney’s 11.1 yards per carry are the third highest figure in franchise history, trailing Cunningham’s total and the franchise record of 11.6 yards per carry, achieved by Larry Garron against Buffalo on Oct. 22, 1961 (116 yards on 10 carries).
MARONEY SETS CAREER HIGH FOR RUSHING YARDS, TOPS CENTURY MARK AGAIN, RECORDS HIGHEST PATRIOTS RUSHING TOTAL SINCE 2004
Laurence Maroney set a career high with 156 yards on 14 carries, surpassing his previous career high of 125 yards (10/1/06) on his 13-yard rush in the fourth quarter. Maroney’s 156 rushing yards are the most by a Patriots player since Corey Dillon had 158 rushing yards (on 32 carries) at Arizona on Sept. 19, 2004. Maroney recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing game, his third 100-yard game of the season and the fourth 100-yard rushing game of his career. The 100-yard game was the fifth by a Patriots player this season, a number that nearly doubles their combined total from 2005-06 (3). Maroney also topped the century mark last week against the New York Jets (104 yards on 26 carries), against Buffalo on Sept. 23, 2007 (103 yards on 19 carries) and also at Cincinnati on Oct. 1, 2006 (a career-high 125 yards on 15 carries).
MARONEY RECORDS LONGEST RUSH BY A PATRIOT SINCE 1998
Laurence Maroney tore off a 59-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 21-0 lead. The touchdown was the longest run by a Patriots player since 1998. The last time a Patriot ran for 59 yards or more was on Dec. 27, 1998, when Sedrick Shaw scampered 71 yards in the regular-season finale at the New York Jets. Earlier in the game, Maroney had a 51-yard run as the key play in a five-play, 66-yard scoring drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Randy Moss and a 14-0 Patriots lead. Prior to today, Maroney’s previous career-long run was 41 yards, achieved at Cincinnati on Oct. 1, 2006.
MARONEY BECOMES 19th PLAYER IN TEAM HISTORY TO TOTAL 10 RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS
With his 59-yard touchdown run in the second quarter - his fourth rushing touchdown of the season and the 10th rushing touchdown of his career - Laurence Maroney became the 19th player in Patriots history to rush for at least 10 touchdowns in a Patriots uniform.
TROY BROWN MAKES 2007 DEBUT
Wide receiver Troy Brown made his 2007 debut in today’s game when he returned a Miami punt following the Dolphins’ opening possession of the game. Today’s game is Brown’s 192nd game in a Patriots uniform, moving him past Raymond Clayborn and into third place on the franchise’s all-time games played list. Tackle Bruce Armstrong is the franchise’s all-time games played leader with 212 games from 1987-2000. Defensive end Julius Adams ranks second (206) and running back Mosi Tatupu ranks third (194). Brown has played in 192 games during his 15-year tenure with the Patriots from 1993-2007. Brown’s 15 seasons with the Patriots tie Julius Adams for the second longest tenure with the team, trailing only Steve Grogan’s 16 seasons with the franchise from 1975-90. Brown’s 15 seasons with the Patriots are tied for the second longest tenure of any NFL player with his current team, trailing only quarterback Brett Favre (16 seasons with Green Bay) and kicker Jason Hanson (16 seasons with Detroit).
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