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Game Notes: Patriots Clinch Playoff Bye With 34-20 Win Over Bills

Credit: New England Patriots
Credit: New England Patriots

The Patriots will head back to the playoffs but not without some rest before their first game. With a 34-20 win over the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots will host the highest seed out of the wild card round on Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m.

With passing conditions unfavorable for quarterback Tom Brady (14-24, 122 yards), LeGarrette Blount led the offense with 187 yards and two touchdowns on 24 rushes. Blount's rushing performance was the fifth-best in team history and the most for a Patriot since 1998.

Both touchdowns went for at least 35 yards with a 36-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 35-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. The scores mark Blount's second and third touchdown runs of 30 or more yards in 2013. 

Blount also set a new Patriots single-game record with 334 all-purpose yards, gaining 189 yards from scrimmage and adding 145 return yards. Blount’s performance topped the 51-year-old team record set by Larry Garron on November 3, 1962, when Garron had 273 all-purpose yards at Buffalo. Blount’s 334 all-purpose yards ranks 11th in NFL history and is the highest total net yardage total by an NFL player in a game since Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson had 361 all-purpose yards on Oct. 14, 2007.

"He carried the team on his back most of the day. He had [334] yards, I don’t know how much more we had besides that. But I’d say he did the bulk of it, no question. He had some help, but he did a great job; tremendous," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said.

He was also the go to returner on the kickoff, taking one kick 83 yards from the end zone late in the third quarter and 62 yards with 10:02 left in the fourth quarter. Both kicks led to field goals from Stephen Gostkowski.

Gostkowski came up big for the Patriots with four field goals during the game. The scores gave him 157 points for the season, beating Gino Cappelletti’s record of 155 set during the 1964 season. The Patriots kicker finishes the 2013 regular season with a franchise best 38 field goals. He originally set the franchise record with 36 field goals in 2008.

During the start of the fourth quarter, Shane Vereen caught a five-yard pass for a touchdown to make it a two-possession game. A two-point conversion by Edelman extended the lead to 14. 

Despite wet conditions and a slippery ball, Julian Edelman became only the third Patriot to make 100 catches during the season. He joins Troy Brown and Wes Welker after a nine-catch, 65-yard day which also put him over 1,000-yard receiving for the first time in his career.

Below are game notes from Patriots Media Relations: 

PATRIOTS SET NFL MARK FOR MOST FIRST ROUND BYES; BECOME FIRST AFC TEAM TO EARN FOUR STRAIGHT BYES

The Patriots earned a first-round bye in the 2013 NFL playoffs and lead the NFL with nine first-round byes since the current NFL playoff format was instituted in 1990.  The Patriots have earned a first-round bye for the fourth consecutive season, becoming the third NFL team to record four straight byes and the first AFC team to do so, joining Dallas and San Francisco, who did so from 1992 through 1995.


PATRIOTS ARE PERFECT AT HOME

The Patriots finished with a perfect 8-0 regular-season record at Gillette Stadium for the sixth time in team history (2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2013). Cincinnati and New Orleans were the only other teams in 2013 to finish undefeated at home.


TOM BRADY GUIDES THE PATRIOTS TO EIGHTH 12-WIN SEASON IN 2013

Tom Brady guided the Patriots to their 12th win in 2013. Since entering the NFL in 2000, Brady’s teams have reached 12 regular-season wins in eight different seasons, second all-time, behind Peyton Manning.


BRADY TIES JOHN ELWAY FOR THIRD PLACE WITH 148 CAREER WINS

Tom Brady led the Patriots to his 148th career regular season win to move into a tie with Hall of Famer John Elway for third on the all-time win list among starting quarterbacks.


GOSTKOWSKI IS ONE OF JUST FIVE PLAYERS TO LEAD LEAGUE IN SCORING FOR AT LEAST THREE SEASONS

Stephen Gostkowski led the NFL with 158 points in 2013, topping Denver’s Matt Prater’s total of 150. Gostkowski also led the NFL in scoring in 2008 with 148 points, and in 2012 with 153 points and is one of five players to lead the NFL in scoring for at least three seasons.


PATRIOTS ARE GOOD IN DECEMBER

Since 2008, the Patriots are 23-3 and have won 19 of their last 21 December games. Bill Belichick is 51-9 (.850) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games). George Seifert is second (27-6, .818). Tom Brady is 4-1 in the month of December in 2013 for a 45-7 career December record and has the best winning percentage at 86.5 in December for any quarterback since the 1970 NFL merger.


PATRIOTS ARE REALLY GOOD AT HOME IN DECEMBER

The Patriots are now 24-2 at home in December since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002.


BRADY HAS THE BEST RECORD IN THE FINAL FOUR GAMES OF THE REGULAR SEASON SINCE THE 1970 MERGER

Tom Brady is now 43-9 in the final four games of the regular season, the best among any starting quarterback in the final four games since the 1970 merger.

BRADY FINISHES WITH 4,343 PASSING YARDS

Tom Brady finished the 2013 season with 4,343 passing yards, marking his third straight 4,000-yard season and his sixth 4,000-yard season of his career.  Brady owns six of the eight 4,000-yard passing seasons in Patriots history.

LOGAN RYAN TIES FOR AFC LEAD IN INTERCEPTIONS WITH FIVE

Rookie CB Logan Ryan finished the 2013 season with five interceptions, tying Cleveland’s Tashaun Gipson and Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner for the AFC lead.

 

LEGARRETTE BLOUNT HAS EIGHTH NFL 100-YARD GAME AND FIRST AS A PATRIOT

LeGarrette Blount scored on a 36-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to pit him over 100 yards for the day. It is his eighth career 100-yard game and his first as a member of the Patriots. It is the third 100-yard rushing performance in 2013. Shane Vereen had 101 yards rushing in the season-opener at Buffalo on Sept. 8 and RB Stevan Ridley had 115 yards vs. Pittsburgh on Nov. 3.  Blount finished the game with a career-high 189 rushing yards.

 

BLOUNT SETS NEW SINGLE-SEASON CAREER HIGH WITH SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS

LeGarrette Blount had a pair of touchdown runs today, bringing his season total to 7 touchdowns.  Blount’s seven touchdowns were a new career high and tied Stevan Ridley’s seven scores for the team lead.  Blount finished the season with 772 rushing yards, a yard shy of Ridley’s team-high 773 rushing yards.

 

BLOUNT HAS A PAIR OF 30-PLUS YARD TOUCHDOWN RUNS

LeGarrette Blount had a 36-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 35-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, marking his second and third touchdown runs of 30 or more yards in 2013. He had a 47-yard touchdown run at Atlanta on Sept. 29.

 

BLOUNT HAD A CAREER-LONG 83-YARD KICKOFF RETURN IN THE THIRD QUARTER; SECOND LONGEST NON TOUCHDOWN KICKOFF RETURN IN TEAM HISTORY

Blount had a career-long 83-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. It is the second longest non touchdown kickoff return in team history. Kevin Faulk had a 95-yard return vs. the New York jets on Nov. 15, 1999. Blount’s previous best was a 30-yarder vs. Miami on Oct. 27. It is the longest kickoff return by the Patriots in 2013. Rookie WR Josh Boyce had a 41-yard kickoff return at Houston on Dec. 1.

 

BLOUNT IS FIRST PATRIOTS PLAYER SINCE 2008 WITH TWO KICK RETURNS OF 50 YARDS OR MORE IN THE SAME GAME

Blount had an 83-yard kickoff return in the third quarter and a 62-yard return in the fourth quart6er. He is the first Patriots player to have two 50-yard kickoff returns in the same game since Ellis Hobbs had an 81-yard return and a 50-yard return vs. Miami on Sept. 21, 2008.

 

THE PATRIOTS 173 RUSHING YARDS ARE SECOND MOST EVER IN A HALF

The Patriots had 173 yards rushing in the first half, the second most ever in a half. The most by the Patriots in a half was 174 in the second half on Oct. 1, 2006 at Cincinnati.

 

BLOUNT STARTS WITH A STRONG RUSH

LeGarrette Blount’s 118 rushing yards in the first half were the most first-half rushing yards by a Patriots running back since Sammy Morris had 138 first-half rushing yards on October 20, 2008, against Denver at Gillette Stadium.


PATRIOTS REMAIN PEFECT AGAINST BUFFALO AT GILLETTE

The Patriots have won their last 13 home games against Buffalo, including a perfect 12-0 record against the Bills at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady is 22-2 all-time against Buffalo.

 

PATRIOTS POSTSEASON STREAK OF FIVE STRAIGHT IS LONGEST IN NFL

With Baltimore losing today and being eliminated from the postseason, the Patriots streak of five straight postseason berths is the longest active streak in the NFL.

 

PATRIOTS EXTEND STREAK TO 15 STRAIGHT WINS OVER AFC EAST FOES AT HOME

The Patriots won their 15th straight game at home against AFC East opposition. The last time the Patriots lost a home game against an AFC East opponent was on Nov. 13, 2008, when the New York Jets left Gillette Stadium with a 34-31 overtime win. The Patriots are now 31-5 against the AFC East at Gillette Stadium.


GOSTKOWSKI HAS 24 STRAIGHT FOURTH QUARTER FIELD GOALS

Stephen Gostkowski has made 24 consecutive fourth-quarter field goals, including a 35-yarder in the fourth quarter today against Buffalo.

 

PATRIOTS REGISTER MOST SACKS IN A SEASON SINCE 1985

The Patriots finished the 2013 season with 49 sacks, recording the team’s highest single-season sack total since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000, and the most for a Patriots team since registering 51 sacks in 1985.  Prior to this season, the most sacks the Patriots had with Belichick as head coach was 46 in 2007.

 

BRADY IMPROVES ON HOME RECORD AS STARTER

Tom Brady improved to 49-3 as a starter at Gillette Stadium since the playing surface was changed to an artificial surface ahead of the Patriots’ game against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 26, 2006.  Brady has now won 18 consecutive home starts against AFC East opponents, dating back to a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets on November 12, 2006.

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