January 30, 2008
He is quite possibly the quietest member of the Patriots' defense in the locker room, but James Sanders has announced himself to NFL opponents.
The third-year safety out of Fresno State started 15 games this season, first in place of Rodney Harrison, who was suspended for the first four games of the year, and then for Eugene Wilson, who was first hurt and then surpassed by Sanders.
A hard worker who had responsibility thrust on him at a young age when he helped his mother care for his five brothers and sisters, Sanders had a career-high 73 tackles during the regular season along with two interceptions, five passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
He has learned at the knee of Harrison, one of the hardest hitters and most versatile safeties of his era.
"Each and every year, I come in and I work extremely hard. I learn from Rodney. I try to come in each year like I'm a rookie," Sanders said. "I constantly learn, ask questions, and always try to get better and more consistent on the field."
Bill Belichick lauded Sanders' work ethic recently, and clearly his friend and former assistant Pat Hill, the coach at Fresno State, was right when he undoubtedly recommended Sanders to Belichick before the 2005 draft.
He was thrust into a starting role last year, when Harrison suffered different injuries in the latter half of the season. He recorded 17 tackles in three postseason games, including a key third-down sack against San Diego in the divisional round.
But Sanders said he really felt comfortable midway through this season.
"In the Indianapolis game, I went out there and was just playing my game off emotion and playing physical. The coaches had my back; they didn't tell me too much, just let me play the game," he said. "I didn't have to look over my shoulder and worry about doing something wrong. I went out there and played my game. I think that might have been the game when I turned the corner."
It was the result of more than two years of hard work: "I kept grinding and I kept working hard. I just knew when that opportunity presented itself, I would be ready," he said.
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 7:20 PM | Permalink
December 16, 2007
For the Patriots:
QB Matt Gutierrez (3QB)
WR Chad Jackson
S Rashad Baker
S James Sanders
G Stephen Neal
G Billy Yates
WR Troy Brown
TE Benjamin Watson
For the Jets:
QB Marques Tuiasosopo (3QB)
WR Chris Davis
OL Jacob Bender
T Adrian Jones
TE Jason Pociask
LB Marques Murrell
DL Kareem Brown
DE Eric Hicks
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 12:04 PM | Permalink
December 13, 2007
For the Patriots:
Did Not Participate
G Billy Yates - foot
G Stephen Neal - shoulder
S James Sanders - knee
LB Mike Vrabel - thigh
TE Benjamin Watson - ankle
QB Tom Brady - right shoulder
*This is Sanders' first appearance on the report this season; Neal did not play last week against Pittsburgh, and Yates is one of the players (with Russ Hochstein) responsible for filling in for him.
For the Jets:
TE Chris Baker - back
WR Laveranues Coles - ankle
WR Jerricho Cotchery - finger
TE James Dearth - foot
WR Justin McCareins - thigh
DL Dewayne Robertson - knee
QB Kellen Clemens - thigh
TE Joe Kowalewski - shoulder
WR Brad Smith - back
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 4:10 PM | Permalink
December 9, 2007
PATRIOTS CLINCH FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF BYE
By virtue of their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers today, the Patriots have clinched a first-round playoff bye for the fifth time since the current NFL playoff format was implemented in 1990. New England has earned first-round byes in 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2007. If the Indianapolis Colts lose to Baltimore tonight, the Patriots would also clinch the top seed in the AFC and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. If the Colts defeat Baltimore, the Patriots can clinch homefield advantage with a victory over the New York Jets next week.
500 POINTS FOR THE SEASON
With Tom Brady's 2-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker in the third quarter, the Patriots' season point total stood at exactly 500 points scored, marking the first time an NFL team has broken the 500-point mark since the 2004 Indianapolis Colts scored 522 points. New England finished the game with 503 total points this season. The 2007 Patriots are the 11th team in the 88-year history of the NFL to break the 500-point mark. The 1998 Minnesota Vikings hold the NFL record with 556 points scored.
PATRIOTS RAISE SEASON TD TOTAL TO 65
Following four touchdowns today, the Patriots have scored 65 touchdowns this season, a total that ranks seventh in NFL history. The 1984 Miami Dolphins hold the all-time record with 70 touchdowns, following by the 2000 St. Louis Rams (67). Four teams have scored 66 touchdowns in a season, most recently the 2004 Indianapolis Colts.
BRADY'S 45 TOUCHDOWN PASSES ARE THIRD HIGHEST NFL SINGLE-SEASON TOTAL
Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes to raise his season total to 45 touchdown passes. Brady's 45 touchdown passes are the third-highest single-season total in NFL history, trailing only Peyton Manning's NFL-record 49 touchdown passes in 2004 and Marino's 48 scoring throws in 1984 Brady's 45 touchdown passes have eclipsed the Patriots' old single-season mark of 31, set by Vito "Babe" Parilli in 1964. Brady has thrown 45 touchdowns and just five interceptions so far in 2007.
NFL SINGLE-SEASON TOUCHDOWN PASS LEADERS
Player Team Year TD
Peyton Manning IND 2004 49
Dan Marino MIA 1984 48
Tom Brady NE 2007 45
Dan Marino MIA 1986 44
Kurt Warner STL 1999 41
BELICHICK RECORDS 100th VICTORY AS PATRIOTS HEAD COACH
Bill Belichick recorded his 100th overall victory as Patriots head coach today. Since being hired by the Patriots prior to the 2000 season, Belichick has now recorded 88 regular-season victories and 12 playoff wins for a total of 100 victories. He is one of four current NFL head coaches to win 100 or more overall games with their current team, joining Washington's Joe Gibbs (168 wins), Denver's Mike Shanahan (130) and Tennessee's Jeff Fisher (117). Belichick has an overall coaching record of 137-84 (.620), including a 124-81 regular-season mark and a 13-3 playoff record.
MOSS'S 19 TOUCHDOWN CATCHES ARE SECOND HIGHEST NFL SINGLE-SEASON TOTAL
With two touchdown receptions in the first half, Randy Moss caught his 18th and 19th touchdown passes of the season, recording the second highest single-season receiving touchdown total in NFL history. Moss's 19 touchdown catches this season trail only Jerry Rice's NFL record total of 22 in 1987. The 19 touchdown receptions set a new career high for Moss, topping his 17 scoring catches in 1998 and 2003 while with the Minnesota Vikings.
NFL SINGLE-SEASON RECEIVING TD LEADERS
Player Team Year TD
Jerry Rice SF 1987 22
Randy Moss NE 2007 19
Sterling Sharpe GB 1994 18
Mark Clayton MIA 1984 18
Randy Moss MIN 2003 17
Randy Moss MIN 1998 17*
(Six others tied with 17 touchdown receptions)
*-NFL Rookie Record
BRADY RECORDS FIFTH GAME WITH FOUR OR MORE TOUCHDOWN PASSES IN 2007
Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, marking his fifth game of the season with four or more scoring throws. Brady's five games with four or more touchdowns tie the third highest total in NFL history, trailing only the six games with four or more touchdown passes by Peyton Manning in 2004 and by Dan Marino in 1984. Brady's five games with four or more scoring passes tie Donovan McNabb's 2004 total, Marino's 1986 total and Brett Favre's 1996 total.
MOSS SETS TEAM RECORD FOR MOST OVERALL TOUCHDOWNS IN A SEASON
With his first touchdown catch of the day, a 4-yard reception from Tom Brady, Randy Moss set a new Patriots record with his 18th overall touchdown of the season, topping Curtis Martin's previous record of 17 touchdowns in 1996. Moss added a 63-yard scoring grab in the second quarter to raise his season total to 19 touchdowns. All 18 of Moss's touchdowns have come via receptions. In 1996, Martin had 14 touchdowns via rushes and three via receptions.
PATRIOTS SINGLE-SEASON OVERALL TD LEADERS
Player Year TDs Rush Rec. Ret.
Randy Moss 2007 19 0 19 0
Curtis Martin 1996 17 14 3 0
Curtis Martin 1995 15 14 1 0
Corey Dillon 2006 13 13 0 0
(Five others tied with 13 overall touchdowns)
GAFFNEY HAS CAREER HIGH YARDAGE
Jabar Gaffney set a career high with 122 receiving yards on seven catches, including a 56-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Gaffney's previous career high was 109 receiving yards, achieved while playing for the Houston Texans against Chicago on Dec. 19, 2004. The 100-yard receiving game was the second of Gaffney's regular-season career. He also has two 100-yard games in three career playoff contests, all with the Patriots in 2006.
BRADY HAS SECOND HIGHEST YARDAGE TOTAL OF CAREER
Tom Brady totaled 399 passing yards against Pittsburgh, completing 32-of-46 passes (69.6 percent) with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 125.2 passer rating. The 399 passing yards are the second highest of Brady's career, trailing only his 410 passing yards in a 41-38 overtime win over Kansas City on Sept. 22, 2002. Brady's 399 yards are his highest career total in a non-overtime game. Including today's yardage total, four of Brady's top five career single-game yardage totals have come this season. Against Pittsburgh, Brady recorded his sixth 300-yard passing game of the season and the 21st 300-yard game of his career.
BRADY PASSES 4,000-YARD MARK
With a 4-yard completion to Wes Welker in the third quarter, Tom Brady exceeded 4,000 passing yards for the season, marking the fourth 4,000-yard passing season in Patriots history. Following that completion, Brady had 4,001 yards on the season. He finished the game with 4,095 passing yards, a total that ranks third in team history. Brady has accomplished the feat for the second time in his career, having also exceeded the milestone in 2005 (4,110 yards). Drew Bledsoe also exceeded 4,000 passing yards two times in a Patriots uniform (4,555 yards in 1994 and 4,086 yards in 1996).
TWO COMPLETIONS OF 50 YARDS OR LONGER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2001
The Patriots completed two touchdown passes of longer than 50 yards, marking the first time since 2001 that the Patriots have had two completions of 50 yards or more in the same game. Against Pittsburgh, Tom Brady hit Randy Moss for a 63-yard touchdown in the second quarter and later completed a 56-yard touchdown toss to Jabar Gaffney in the third quarter. The last time New England completed two passes of 50 yards or longer in the same game was on Oct. 21, 2001 at Indianapolis, when Brady threw a 91-yard touchdown pass to David Patten and Patten threw a 60-yard scoring pas to Troy Brown.
WELKER BREAKS 90-CATCH MARK
With an 11-yard reception in the fourth quarter - his 90th catch of the season - Wes Welker recorded the fifth 90-reception season in Patriots history. He joins Troy Brown (101 receptions in 2001 and 97 receptions in 2002), Ben Coates (96 catches in 1994) and Terry Glenn (90 receptions in 1996) as the only players in Patriots history to achieve the feat. Welker finished the game with 93 receptions this season, a total that ranks fourth in team history.
MOSS PASSES 1,200-YARD MARK
On his 63-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Randy Moss passed the 1,200-yard receiving mark for the season, becoming the second player in Patriots history to achieve the 1,200-yard receiving plateau. Following that catch, Moss had 1,212 yards on 78 catches in 2007. Moss joins Stanley Morgan (1,491 yards in 1986) as the only players in franchise history to achieve the feat. Moss has exceeded the 1,200-yard receiving mark for the seventh time in his 10 NFL seasons and has achieved the milestone for the first time since gaining a career-high 1,632 receiving yards in 2003 with Minnesota.
MOSS RECORDS 54th CAREER 100-YARD RECEIVING GAME
With 135 yards on seven catches, Randy Moss has recorded his eighth 100-yard receiving game of the season and the 54th 100-yard receiving game of his career. Moss's 54 career 100-yard receiving games rank third all-time, trailing only Jerry Rice (76) and Marvin Harrison (59). Stanley Morgan holds the Patriots single-season record with nine 100-yard receiving games in 1986. Moss's 135 receiving yards are his third highest total of the season, trailing only his 183 yards against the New York Jets on Sept. 9 and his 145 yards against Indianapolis on Nov. 4.
MOSS CATCHES 63-YARD TOUCHDOWN PASS
Randy Moss hauled in a 63-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 14-3 lead. The reception was Moss's longest of the season, topping a 55-yard grab at Indianapolis on Nov. 4. It was also Moss's fourth catch of 50 yards or longer this season and was the 33rd reception of 50 yards or longer in his career. The 63-yard touchdown was Moss's 11th touchdown catch of 60 yards or longer in his career. It was the second longest reception of the season for the Patriots, trailing only a 69-yard scoring pass from Brady to Donte Stallworth at Dallas on Oct. 14.
PATRIOTS HELD ON OPENING POSSESSION
New England did not score on its opening possession for just the second time in 13 games this season. The only other game this season in which the Patriots did not put points on the board on its first offensive possession of the game was at Indianapolis on Nov. 4. On their 13 game-opening possessions this season, the Patriots have scored eight touchdowns, three field goals and have punted twice.
STEELERS BECOME FIRST PATRIOTS OPPONENT TO SCORE ON OPENING POSSESSION
The Patriots allowed the Steelers to convert a 23-yard field goal on Pittsburgh's first offensive possession of the game. The points were the first of the season that New England has allowed on an opponents' opening possession of the game. Entering this week's game, the Patriots were the only NFL team not to allow an opponent score on their opening possession. Jacksonville entered the week ranked second by allowing nine points on opponents first drives.
-Vince Wilfork stuffed Willie Parker in the backfield for a 2-yard loss in the first quarter.
-Chad Jackson returned a kickoff 39 yards in the first quarter, marking the fifth kickoff return of 35 yards or more by the Patriots this season.
-Jarvis Green sacked Ben Roethlisberger for a 9-yard sack in the first quarter. The sack was Green's fifth of the season, a total that ranks second on the team.
-Vince Wilfork sacked Roethlisberger for an 8-yard sack in the third quarter. The sack was Wilfork's first of the season.
-Adalius Thomas sacked Ben Roethlisberger for a 2-yard loss in the fourth quarter. The sack was Thomas's fourth of the season.
-James Sanders recovered a Steelers fumble on a punt in the second quarter. Sanders pounced on the ball after it his Pittsburgh's William Gay, giving the Patriots possession at the Steelers' 34-yard line.
-Rodney Harrison batted away a pass intended for Santonio Holmes in the end zone on third down in the fourth quarter. On the next play, Harrison combined with Richard Seymour to stuff Hines Ward for no gain and keep the Steelers out of the end zone.
HOT WHEN IT'S COLDThe Patriots have enjoyed tremendous recent success in cold weather and are 21-3 since 1993 when the kickoff temperature is 34 degrees or less. Today's kickoff temperature was 34 degrees. New England has won 16 of its last 18 games when the kickoff temperature has been 34 degrees or colder. Tom Brady is 23-2 as a starter when the temperature is less than 40 degrees.
PATRIOTS GAMES 34 DEGREES OR COLDER SINCE 1993 (21-3)
Sorted by Temperature
Date Opp. Temp Notes W/L Score
01/10/04 TEN* 4 Wind Chill -10 W 17-14
01/23/05 at PIT* 11 Wind Chill -1 W 41-27
12/26/93 IND 19 Wind Chill -1 W 38-0
01/07/06 JAX* 24 Clear and Calm W 28-3
12/21/96 at NYG 24 Wind Chill 17 W 23-22
01/01/06 MIA 25 Wind Chill 20 L 26-28
01/16/05 IND* 25 Snow W 20-3
12/14/03 JAX 25 Wind Chill 16 W 27-13
01/19/02 OAK* 25 Snow W 16-13 ot
12/05/05 NYJ 26 Light Snow W 16-3
12/10/95 NYJ 26 Wind Chill 12 W 31-28
01/12/97 JAX* 27 Wind Chill 11 W 20-6
12/07/03 MIA 28 Wind Chill 17 W 12-0
12/11/05 at BUF 30 Light Snow W 35-7
12/26/04 at NYJ 30 Wind Chill 21 W 23-7
12/20/03 at NYJ 30 Wind Chill 20 W 21-16
11/05/06 IND 31 Clear and Calm L 20-27
12/24/00 MIA 31 Wind Chill 22 L 24-27
01/02/05 SF 32 Wind Chill 27 W 21-7
01/18/04 IND* 32 Light Snow W 24-14
11/16/03 DAL 33 Cloudy and Calm W 12-0
11/26/95 at BUF 33 Flurries W 35-25
12/09/07 PIT 34 Cloudy and Cold W 34-13
12/16/01 at BUF 34 Wind Chill 25 W 12-9 ot
12/12/93 CIN 34 Wind Chill 23 W 7-2
Posted by Mike McDermott at 9:53 PM | Permalink
FOXBORO -- Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski's miss (wide right) from 48 yards midway through the second quarter left the second-year specialist 1-for-3 this season from 40 yards and beyond. He also has a miss in the 30-to-39 range, where he's 5-for-6. Overall this season, he's 14-of-17.
His miss meant the Pats failed to capitalize on a fortuitous turnover, having gained possession at the Steelers' 34 when Chris Hanson short punt bounced off a Pittsburgh blocker and the ball was recovered by New England's James Sanders.
Posted by Jim Donaldson at 5:15 PM | Permalink
October 7, 2007
Though Rodney Harrison is in uniform and will likely see a bunch of snaps in today's game, he is not starting.
Third-year man James Sanders is starting alongside Eugene Wilson.
It's not much of a surprise, given that Harrison has been away for four weeks. Asante Samuel was held out of the starting lineup for the first two weeks of the season, though he saw extensive playing time in those games before starting opposite Ellis Hobbs for game three against Buffalo.
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 12:59 PM | Permalink
September 21, 2007
Hey all --
The atmosphere at Gillette today is fairly relaxed, as New England puts its finishing touches on its preparations for Buffalo.
Bill Belichick was asked for his reaction to the NFL deciding to take no further action against the Patriots after the team handed over videos and notes on opposing teams dating back to 2000; the league destroyed the items.
Not surprisingly, Belichick said his only reaction had to do with how his team was doing to get ready for Buffalo.
But the coach did give some praise to Bills' rookie linebacker Paul Posluszny, Patriots safety James Sanders and backup defensive lineman Santonio Thomas, who is seeing his first game action as a professional after spending most of the last two years on the practice squad.
"Like Vince (Wilfork) and Kareem (Brown), all the defensive linemen from Miami, its a different system than what we do here," Belichick said. "(But) he never stops working and trying to get better."
Belichick was at his best when he was asked about the fullback position, and how it has changed over the years in the NFL. He said that the I-formation is really the reason that the fullback has become a blocker, whereas years ago, Jim Brown was listed as a fullback.
In the locker room, Wilfork's old Miami jersey was hanging in Ty Warren's locker, as Wilfork's Hurricanes upset Warren's Texas A&M Aggies last night. There was also more tape-basketball, with Wes Welker draining at least five in a row at one point, and Laurence Maroney howling when he noticed that the trash can "hoop" had been pushed back a few feet.
We'll post the injury/participation report as soon as we can, and then unless there's breaking news, we'll be back on Sunday morning.
Posted by Shalise Manza Young at 12:46 PM | Permalink