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November 26, 2007
FOXBORO – Asante Samuel got things off to a rousing start for the Patriots last night, intercepting the Eagles’ A.J. Feeley on the third play of the game and returning the pick 40 yards for a touchdown.
The interception was the 21st of Samuel’s five-year career, tying him for 10th in New England history with Don Webb. Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn are tied for the franchise lead with 36 each.
Samuel now has six interception returns for touchdowns in his career, including an NFL record-tying three in the postseason. His three regular-season return TDs are third-best in team annals.
Tom Brady’s season-long streak of games with three or more touchdown passes came to an end last night, as he threw just one against the Eagles, but the quarterback still found a way to get into the record books this week.
By throwing for 380 yards, Brady passed 25,000 yards for his career, making him just the third quarterback in Patriots’ history to do so, after Drew Bledsoe (29,657) and Steve Grogan (26,886).
With 39 touchdowns this season, Brady is still on pace to throw 57 for the season.
- Led New England to a fourth-quarter comeback win for the 26th time in his career;
- Upped his record to 28-5 in games where the margin of victory is seven points or less and 19-4 when the margin is four points or less;
- Is 21-3 when throwing for more than 300 yards;
- Is 33-2 on artificial turf;
- And is 41-8 on Thanksgiving or later
By scoring 31 points last night, New England now has 442 points for the season, setting a new single-season franchise record.
The previous team record of 441 points was established in the 1980 season, when the Pats went 10-6.
Randy Moss’ 11-yard reception in the second quarter was the 744th catch of his 10-year career, putting him 25th all time in NFL history.
Moss passed Andre Rison (743 receptions) to move into the top 25. Jerry Rice had a record 1,549 catches in his 20 year career.
Wes Welker’s 13 receptions tie the franchise record for catches in a non-overtime game. Both Deion Branch (at San Diego, Sept. 29, 2002) and Terry Glenn (at Cleveland, Oct. 3, 1999) had 13-catch games with New England.
The single-game team record is Troy Brown’s 16 receptions on Sept. 22, 2002 in an overtime win against Kansas City.
Patriots’ receiver Jabar Gaffney and Eagles’ cornerback Lito Sheppard are cousins, and spent most of their early football years as teammates.
Gaffney and Sheppard both attended Raines High School in Jacksonville, Fla., winning a state title in their first season together, and both played at the University of Florida.
Gaffney’s father, Derrick, also attended Florida, and played in the NFL with the Jets.
With a touchdown on its first possession of the game, New England has scored points on its opening drive in 10 of 11 games this season.
It was only against the Colts that the Patriots did not score on their first possession.
New England boasts the best home record in the NFL since 2002 (the year Gillette Stadium opened) as well as the best home defense in the league.
The Patriots are 41-9 at Gillette, just ahead of the 40-10 mark Indianapolis has at the RCA Dome over the last five-plus seasons.
They also allow just 15.64 points per game to the opposition over those 50 games, ahead of the 16.26 points Baltimore gives up to visitors to M&T Bank Stadium.
First-time visitors to the Stadium are 4-23, with New England winning 19 of the last 20.
The Patriots are now 26-4 against NFC teams since 2001, a run that includes their three Super Bowl wins.
It also includes a current streak of 10 straight which began on Oct. 9, 2005 against Atlanta. New England’s last loss to an NFC team was in the second game of the 2005 season, 27-17 in Carolina.
Last night was the first time New England has hosted Philadelphia in a regular-season game at Gillette Stadium, and the first time the Eagles have traveled to Foxboro since Nov. 29, 1987, a 34-31 overtime win for Philly.
The teams’ last three regular-season meetings were in the City of Brotherly Love, in the 1990, 1999 and 2003 seasons.
With the Eagles’ near 20-year streak without a Foxboro visit now ended, the Carolina Panthers now have the longest period of not playing in New England, at 12 years. The Panthers will visit Gillette in 2009.
Carolina, Arizona, Atlanta and St. Louis are the four remaining teams who have not visited Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002.
The inactive players for the Patriots were: Matt Gutierrez (third quarterback), receiver Chad Jackson, safeties Mel Mitchell and Eugene Wilson, guards Wesley Britt and Billy Yates, and defensive linemen Le Kevin Smith and Kareem Brown.
For the Eagles: quarterback Donovan McNabb, safety Quintin Mikell, running back Tony Hunt, guards Max Jean-Gilles and Scott Young, and defensive linemen Kimo von Oelhoffen, Victor Abiamiri and Montae Reagor.
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