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Game notes

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff December 14, 2008 09:47 PM

A collection of postgame notes following New England's 49-26 triumph over the Oakland Raiders, courtesy of the Patriots' media relations staff:

WELKER CATCHES 100th PASS OF THE SEASON, BECOMES 8TH PLAYER IN NFL HISTORY WITH BACK-TO-BACK 100-CATCH SEASONS

Wes Welker caught his 100th pass of the season, a 13-yard touchdown reception from Matt Cassel in the second quarter. Welker, who had a franchise-record 112 catches in 2007, became the first player to have back-to-back 100-catch seasons with the Patriots and became the eighth player in NFL history to achieve the feat. Welker joins Marvin Harrison (1999-2002), Jerry Rice (1994-96), Herman Moore (1995-97), Sterling Sharpe (1992-93), Cris Carter (1994-95), Rod Smith (2000-01) and Randy Moss (2002-03) as the only players in league history to achieve the feat. Welker’s 100-catch performance is the third in Patriots history, joining his franchise-record 112 catches last season and Troy Brown’s total of 101 catches in 2001.

MOSS’S 10 TD CATCHES TIED FOR 3RD IN PATRIOTS SINGLE-SEASON HISTORY

Randy Moss scored two touchdowns against Oakland, giving the Patriots a 14-0 lead with a 20-yard touchdown reception from Matt Cassel in the first quarter and scored on a 9-yard catch in the third quarter, extending New England’s lead to 42-14. The touchdowns raised Moss’s 2008 total to 10 touchdown receptions and brought his career total to 134 touchdown catches. Moss’s 10 touchdown catches tie the third-highest single-season total in Patriots history, trailing only his NFL-record 23 scoring catches last season and Stanley Morgan’s 12 touchdown catches in 1979. Besides Moss, two other Patriots have totaled 10 touchdown catches in a season - Morgan in 1986 and Jim Colclough in 1962. Moss’s 134 career touchdown catches rank third in NFL history behind Jerry Rice (197) and Terrell Owens (138). Since joining the Patriots prior to the 2007 season, Moss has now caught a league-high 33 touchdown passes. Moss entered today’s game as the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions per touchdown, averaging a touchdown catch for every 6.33 receptions. Entering today’s action, Moss’s eight touchdown receptions this season were tied for the AFC lead.

MOSS RECORDS 32nd CAREER GAME WITH TWO OR MORE TOUCHDOWN CATCHES

Randy Moss had two touchdown receptions against Oakland today, recording his 32nd career game with two or more touchdown catches. Moss’s total number of games with two or more touchdown catches ranks second in NFL history to Jerry Rice’s all-time record of 43 games with at least two touchdown receptions. Moss has had three games with two or more scoring grabs this season and has achieved the feat 11 times in 30 games with New England since joining the Patriots prior to the 2007 season.

MOSS MOVES INTO TOP 10 ON NFL’S ALL-TIME RECEIVING YARDAGE LIST

On a 14-yard reception from Matt Cassel in the third quarter, Randy Moss moved into the top 10 on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list. Moss passed Steve Largent’s total of 13,089 career receiving yards to claim 10th place on the league’s all-time list. Following his 14-yard catch in the third quarter, Moss had a total of 13,092 career receiving yards.

BELICHICK WINS 100th REGULAR-SEASON GAME AS PATRIOTS HEAD COACH

The Patriots’ victory over Oakland was Bill Belichick’s 100th regular-season victory as Patriots head coach. Following the game, his regular-season mark with New England was 100-41 (.709). Belichick’s 100 regular-season wins are the most in Patriots history. Mike Holovak ranks second in franchise annals with 52 regular-season wins from 1961-68. Including playoffs, Belichick’s record with the Patriots now stands at 114-45 (.765).

QUICK HITS

  • The Patriots improved to 22-2 in the month of December since 2003. New England has won 10 straight December games.

  • The Patriots defeated the Raiders in Oakland for the first time since Sept. 24, 1978.
  • The Patriots won their 12th straight game when having a 100-yard rusher.
  • The Patriots improved to 9-5 on the season and have won at least nine games for the eighth straight season. New England has won at least nine contests in each season since 2001 and is the only team to achieve that feat. Indianapolis ranks second over that span with seven seasons of nine or more wins since 2001.
  • The Patriots won their 40th straight game in which they led at halftime and their 39th straight game when leading after three quarters. Both marks are post-merger NFL records (1970-present).

PATRIOTS RUSHING TOTAL IS MOST IN A SINGLE GAME SINCE 1985

As a team, the Patriots ran for 277 yards on 39 carries, recording the team’s highest single-game rushing total since Dec. 22, 1985, when the Patriots posted 281 yards on 46 carries (6.1 avg.) against the Cincinnati Bengals. New England’s rushing total against Oakland was the eighth-highest single-game total in franchise history. The Patriots team record for rushing yards in a game is 332, achieved on Nov. 28, 1976 against Denver. In the Patriots’ win over Oakland, Sammy Morris led the way with 14 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown, LaMont Jordan had 12 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, Kevin Faulk had six rushes for 45 yards, and Matt Cassel added seven rushes for 18 yards, including three game-ending kneeldowns.

MORRIS BREAKS 100-YARD MARK

Sammy Morris ran for 117 yards on 14 carries, recording his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. The 100-yard game was his fourth in 16 games since joining the Patriots prior to the 2007 season, and was his fifth career 100-yard rushing game. Morris’s other 100-yard game this season came on Oct. 20 against Denver, when he totaled a career-high 138 rushing yards. The 100-yard rushing game was the third by a Patriots player this season, with Morris’s two 100-yard performances joining a 105-yard day by BenJarvus Green-Ellis on Nov. 9 against Buffalo.

CASSEL BREAKS 300-COMPLETION MARK FOR THE SEASON

Matt Cassel’s 16-yard completion to Sam Aiken on the final play of the third quarter brought his season total to 300 completions. Cassel’s 300-completion performance is the 12th in Patriots history. Cassel joins Drew Bledsoe (6 times) and Tom Brady (5 times) as the only players in Patriots history to break the 300-completion mark in a season.

CASSEL THROWS CAREER-HIGH FOUR TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Matt Cassel threw four touchdown passes, setting a new single-game career high and tying the sixth-best single-game touchdown performance in team history. Cassel has thrown for three scores on three occasions this season - against Denver on Oct. 20, against the New York Jets on Nov. 13 and at Miami on Nov. 23. Patriots passers have thrown for five touchdowns on four occasions and Tom Brady set a team record with six touchdown tosses on Oct. 21, 2007. Including his four touchdown passes against Oakland, Cassel has totaled 18 touchdown throws this season.

JORDAN HAS 97 RUSHING YARDS AND A TOUCHDOWN

LaMont Jordan had 97 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, recording his highest rushing output of the season and his highest total since recording 121 rushing yards on 29 carries on Sept. 23, 2007 while playing for the Oakland Raiders against Cleveland. Jordan’s rushing performance included a 49-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that was his longest rush since Oct. 1, 2006, when he had a 59-yard scoring run for the Raiders in a game against Cleveland. Jordan’s 49-yard touchdown run was the longest rush by a Patriots player this season and the longest by a New England player since Dec. 23, 2007, when Laurence Maroney ran for a 59-yard touchdown in the second quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins.

SAMMY MORRIS SETS CAREER HIGH WITH SEVENTH TOUCHDOWN OF 2008

Sammy Morris gave the Patriots a 21-0 first-quarter lead on a 29-yard touchdown run. The touchdown was Morris’s team-high seventh rushing score of the season. His seven overall touchdowns are a career high, topping his six touchdowns as a rookie with Buffalo in 2000 (five rushing, one receiving) and his six scores (all rushing) with Miami in 2004. Morris’s seven overall touchdowns this season rank second on the team to Randy Moss, and his seven rushing touchdowns are the most by a Patriot since Corey Dillon had 13 rushing touchdowns in 2006.

HOBBS RECORDS THIRD CAREER KICKOFF RETURN FOR TOUCHDOWN; TYING PATRIOTS FRANCHISE RECORD

Ellis Hobbs returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 35-14 lead with 12:46 left in the first half. The kickoff return for a touchdown was the third of Hobbs’s career, tying Raymond Clayborn for the most in team history. Clayborn returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in his Patriots career with all three returns coming in his rookie season of 1977. Hobbs has also returned kickoffs for touchdowns on Dec. 17, 2006 against Houston (93 yards) and on Sept. 9, 2007 against the New York Jets (an NFL-record 108 yards). entering today’s game, Hobbs’s career average of 27.4 yards per kickoff return was the best in Patriots history and his 1,140 kickoff return yards this season (entering today’s action) was the highest single-season total in team history.

FAULK SCORES FIFTH TOUCHDOWN OF THE SEASON

Kevin Faulk scored a touchdown on a 7-yard reception from Matt Cassel in the first quarter to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead. The touchdown was Faulk’s fifth of the season (three rushing, two receiving). Faulk’s five touchdowns this season tie the second highest total of his career, joining his 2000 total (four rushing, one receiving). Faulk’s five touchdowns are his highest single-season total since 2002, when he had a career-high seven touchdowns (two rushing, three receiving, two via kickoff returns).

PATRIOTS TIE TEAM RECORD FOR MOST POINTS IN FIRST QUARTER

The Patriots scored 21 points in the first quarter today, tying the team record for most points in the second quarter. New England also scored 21 points in the first quarter on Oct. 29, 1978 against the New York Jets (a 55-21 win) and also scored 21 points in the first quarter on Dec. 15, 1974 at Miami (a 34-27 loss). New England had 35 points at halftime, falling a touchdown short of the team-record 42 first-half points scored on Oct. 21, 2007 at Miami.

WILHITE RECORDS FIRST CAREER INTERCEPTION

Rookie cornerback Jonathan Wilhite recorded his first career interception when he picked off a JaMarcus Russell pass inside the Patriots’ 5-yard line in the second quarter. Wilhite, who was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, is making his second career start today. His first career start was last week at Seattle.

VRABEL STRIP-SACK

Mike Vrabel strip-sacked JaMarcus Russell in the first quarter, forcing him to fumble on third down on the Raiders’ second possession of the game. Vrabel’s sack was his fourth of the season, and his forced fumble was his second of the year. Vrabel now has a total of 48 sacks since joining the Patriots in 2001, a total that ranks seventh in team history. Following Vrabel’s sack today, the Raiders recovered the ball at their own 9-yard line and the Patriots took possession at Oakland’s 35-yard line following a Raiders punt, setting up a three-play, 35-yard touchdown drive that ended in a 20-yard touchdown reception by Randy Moss and a 14-0 Patriots lead.

WASHINGTON TACKLE SETS THE TONE

On the game’s opening kickoff, Kelley Washington tackled Oakland punt returner Justin Miller at the Raiders’ 7-yard line, starting the Raiders’ first possession deep in their own territory. After a three-and-out by the Patriots defense, Kevin Faulk returned an Oakland punt to the Oakland 40-yard line, allowing the Patriots’ offense to begin their first possession in Raiders territory and set up a 9-play, 40-yard drive that ended in a 7-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel to Kevin Faulk and a 7-0 Patriots lead.

WILFORK BLOCKS EXTRA POINT

Vince Wilfork blocked an Oakland extra point in the third quarter. The blocked extra point was the first by the Patriots since Oct. 6, 2002, when Tebucky Jones blocked an Olindo Mare extra point in the Patriots’ 26-13 loss at Miami.

PATRIOTS TURN IN EIGHTH-BEST POINT OUTPUT IN TEAM HISTORY

The Patriots scored 49 points against the Raiders today, tying the eighth-best single-game point output in team history. New England’s 49 points tie their total from Oct. 21, 2007 at Miami as the eighth-highest point total in the team’s 49-season history. The single-game team record is 56 points, achieved on two occasions - at Buffalo on Nov. Nov. 18, 2007 (56-10) and against the New York Jets on Sept. 9, 1979 (56-3). New England’s 49 points against the Raiders tie the fourth-highest road output in team annals.

3 comments so far...
  1. I am not a big fan of Josh McDaniels, in fact, I think he is vastly over rated, but kudos to him today for a good game plan and fairly decent play calling. Of course, it WAS the Raiders they were playing. Sorry, had to get that last comment in, couldn't resist. But, Josh did a pretty good job today.

    Posted by Mike Allen December 14, 08 11:59 PM
  1. OK semantics but they beat the Raiders in the 1986 playoffs out there, but that game was played in LA.

    Posted by PJ December 15, 08 12:40 AM
  1. That's some pretty good company Welker's keeping with back to back 100 catch seasons. I love the way he plays the game.

    Posted by Jim L. December 15, 08 03:50 PM
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