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GAME NOTES: Patriots Win 9th Straight Season Opener; Brady, Belichick Reach Milestones

The New England Patriots cruised to a 34-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans Sunday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The New England Patriots beat Tennessee Sunday for the team’s ninth straight season-opening victory.

The Patriots now join four other NFL teams with nine-plus opening days wins. Head coach Bill Belichick is now 12-6 all-time on opening day, including 10-3 as Patriots head coach. Tom Brady is 10-1 on opening day. 

MOST OPENING DAY WINS

  • Dallas 17 (1965-1981)
  • Miami 11 (1992-2002)
  • Portsmouth/Detroit 10 (1930-1939)
  • New England 9 (2004-present)
  • Chicago 9 (1984-1992)

BILL BELICHICK TIES CHUCK KNOC FOR 8th PLACE ALL-TIME

The victory over Tennessee was the 193rd of Bill Belichick’s career, moving him into an 8th place tie with Chuck Knox. He needs nine more victories to move past Dan Reeves (201) into seventh place all-time.

TOM BRADY BECOMES THE 14th PLAYER IN NFL HISTORY WITH 40,000 CAREER PASSING YARDS

Tom Brady (40,215 passing yards) entered the game needing 21 yards to become the 14th player in NFL history with 40,000 career passing yards and reached the feat on a 28-yard pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski in the first quarter. He finished the game with 236 yards passing and is in 14th place al-time with 40,215 career passing yards. He needs 25 passing yards to move past Johnny Unitas (40,239) into 13th place on the NFL’s all-time list. Joe Montana is 12th all-time with 40,551 passing yards.

BRADY MOVES INTO SOLE POSSESSION OF FIFTH PLACE FOR MOST CAREER WINS BY A STARTING QUATERBACK

Brady moved out of a tie with Fran Tarkenton and into sole possession of fifth place for most career wins by a starting quarterback with his 125th career win. Peyton Manning is in fourth place with 141 career wins (prior to Sunday’s game). Brady has won 125 of his 160 career starts, with his .781 winning percentage standing as the highest in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 100 wins.

NFL RECORD BOOK / MOST CAREER WINS AS A STARTING QUARTERBACK

(Regular season only)

   Rk   Name           W   L       T   Pct.

   1.   Brett Favre   186   112   0   .624

   2.   John Elway   148   82   1   .643

   3.   Dan Marino   147   93   0   .613

   4.   P. Manning   141   67   0   .678

   5.   Tom Brady   125   35   0   .781

   6.   Fran Tarkenton   124   109   6   .531

   7.   Johnny Unitas   119   64   4   .647

   8.   Joe Montana   117   47   0   .713

   9.   Terry Bradshaw 107   51   0   .677

   10.   Warren Moon   102   101   0   .510

   *Bold Indicates active players

BRADY REACHES 125 CAREER WINS IN THE FEWEST STARTS (160) AMONG QUARTERBACKS IN NFL HISTORY

Brady reached 125 wins in the fewest starts (160) among quarterbacks in NFL history.

Player                  Fewest Starts to 125 Wins

Tom Brady            160

Peyton Manning      184

Brett Favre            189

Dan Marino            199

John Elway             201

BRADY MOVES PAST JOHN ELWAY FOR CAREER TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Brady entered the 2012 season in a fifth place tie with John Elway for most career touchdowns passes with 300. He completed his 301st career touchdown on a 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez in the first quarter to move out of tie with John Elway for sole possession of fifth place on the NFL’s list for career touchdowns. He added his 302nd on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski in the second quarter. Fran Tarkenton is in fourth place with 342 career touchdown passes.

MOST TOUCHDOWNS CAREER

(regular season only) Bold Indicates active players

   Rank   Name    Touchdowns

   1.   Brett Favre         508

   2.   Dan Marino    420

   3.   Peyton Manning   399

   4.   Fran Tarkenton    342

   5.    Tom Brady    302

   6.   John Elway      300

   7.   Warren Moon    291

   8.   Johnny Unitas   290

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN PASS CONTINUES FOR BRADY

Brady has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 33 straight regular season games, extending his team mark with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez in the first quarter. Brady’s current streak started when he threw a touchdown pass in all 16 games in 2010 and 2011. The old team record was 19 games, also set by Brady. Brady’s 32 straight games is fourth all-time. The NFL record is 47 set by Johnny Unitas (1956-7), followed by Drew Brees with 43 (current and before today’s game) and Brett Favre with 36.

 

BRADY’S TWO-TOUCHDOWN ASSAULT

Brady threw two touchdowns against Tennessee and the Patriots are now 82-15 all-time when Brady throws for two or more touchdowns in a game. Brady had 14 games in 2011 with at least two touchdown passes, tying his franchise record for most games with two or more touchdowns in a season. Brady also had 14 such games in 2007. The NFL record for most games with two or more touchdown passes in a season is 15 by Dan Marino in 1984.

WES WELKER TIES TROY BROWN FOR ALL-TIME RECEPTION LEAD

Wes Welker entered the 2012 season with 554 receptions and needed four receptions to pass Troy Brown (557) and become the Patriots all-time reception leader. He had three receptions against Tennessee to reach 557 and tie Troy Brown for first on the Patriots all-time list.

WELKER CLOSE TO PASSING TROY BROWN TO MOVE INTO SECOND ON THE PATRIOTS ALL-TIME RECEIVING YARDS LIST

Welker (6,119) needs 247 receiving yards to move past Troy Brown (6,366) into second place on the New England all-time receiving yards list. Stanley Morgan is in first place with 10,352 yards.

GRONKOWSKI SCORES ON A 2-YARD TOUCHDOWN PASS IN THE SECOND QUARTER

Rob Gronkowski scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter. Gronkowski had an NFL-record 17 touchdown receptions in 2011. He had 10 touchdown in 2010 as a rookie. He can become the first tight end in NFL history with three straight 10-plus touchdown seasons. Gronkowski and Antonio Gates (13 in 2004 and 10 in 2005) are the only tight ends to have back-to- back 10-plus touchdown seasons. If Gronkowski has another 10-touchdown season in 2012, he will join Randy Moss (2007, 2008 and 2009) and Corey Dillon (2004, 2005, 2006) as the only Patriots with three straight 10-plus touchdown seasons and three 10-plus seasons overall.

GRONKOWSKI NOW TIED FOR SECOND ON PATRIOTS LIST FOR TOUCHDOWNS CATCHES BY A TIGHT END

Gronkowski 2-yard touchdown receptions was his 28th touchdown reception for his career, moving him into a tie for second with Russ Francis (28) for most touchdown receptions by a Patriots tight end. Ben Coates is first with 50 touchdown receptions.

GRONKOWSKI AND HERNANDEZ SCORE

Rob Gronkowski (17 in 2011 and 10 in 2011) and Aaron Hernandez (7 in 2011 and 6 in 2010) each scored a touchdown against Tennessee. Last season, they set an NFL mark by becoming the first tight end tandem to register five or more touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

WELKER IS STREAKING

Wes Welker extended his streak to 78 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots to extend his franchise record. Welker has an overall streak of 95 straight regular-season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins. Welker has caught at least one pass in each of his 85 games with the Patriots, including seven postseason games. The last time that Welker did not catch a pass in a game was December 24, 2005 when he was with Miami.

STEVAN RIDLEY SETS CAREER HIGHS IN RUSHING YARDS WITH FIRST 100-YARD DAY

Stevan Ridley had a career day, finishing with 125 yards on 21 carries for a 6.0-yard average. It is his first NFL 100-yard rushing day. His previous bests were 97 yards at Oakland (10/2/11) and 15 carries vs. Buffalo (1/1/12). He scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter for his second NFL touchdown. He scored his first NFL touchdown on a 33-yard run at Oakland (10/2/11). In 2011, the Patriots had just one player finish with 100 yards rushing when BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 136 yards vs. New York Jets on Oct. 9, 2011.

PATRIOTS TIED NFL RECORD FOR MOST 30-POINT GAMES IN A SINGLE SEASON IN 2011

The New England Patriots scored 34 points in the win against Tennessee. The Patriots scored 30 points 12 times in 2011 to tie the NFL record for most 30-point games in a single season. The 2007 Patriots and the 1999 St. Louis Rams also had 12 30 point games..The NFL record for most consecutive 30-point games in a single season is eight by the 2007 and 2010 Patriots and the 2000 St. Louis Rams.

PATRIOTS TWO FIRST ROUND PICKS IN THE STARTING LINEUP

Four of the seven Patriots 2012 draft picks made their NFL debuts, including two that were in the starting lineup. First round picks defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont’a Hightower both were in the starting lineup on defense. Other Patriots draft picks playing Sunday were second-round pick defensive back Tavon Wilson and sixth-round pick defensive back Nate Ebner. 

FIRST ROUND PICKS MAKE AN IMPACT

Chandler Jones forced a fumble on a 1-yard sack of Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker in the first quarter and Dont’a Hightower recovered the ball and ran 6-yards for a touchdown. It is the first fumble returned for a touchdown for the Patriots since Gary Guyton returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown at Chicago on Dec. 12, 2010. Vince Wilfork recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown last season at Washington on Dec. 11, 2011. It is the first defensive touchdown for the Patriots since Sterling Moore returned an interception 21 yards for a score vs. Buffalo on Jan. 1, 2012.

ROOKIE WILSON RECORDS FIRST CAREER INTERCEPTION

2012 second round pick defensive back Tavon Wilson recorded his first career interception in the second quarter when corner back Kyle Arrington tipped as pass that was intercepted by Wilson in the end zone.

NEW FACES

The Patriots had 23 players on the opening day roster that were not on the opening day 53-man roster in 2011. Of that group, 12 saw action in their first regular-season game as a member of the Patriots: running back Brandon Bolden, cornerback Marquice Cole, defensive back Nate Ebner, safety Steve Gregory, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back Lex Hilliard, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, defensive end Chandler Jones, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, linebacker Mike Rivera, defensive end Trevor Scott and defensive back Tavon Wilson. Wide receiver Greg Salas was active for the game but did not play.

BRANDON LLOYD FIRST RECEPTION WITH THE PATS IS A 27-YARDER

Newly acquired wide receiver Brandon Lloyd made his first reception as a member of the Patriots on a 27-yard reception on the sideline in the second quarter.

DEVIN MCCOURTY RECORDS HIS SECOND CAREER KICKOFF RETURN

Devin McCourty had his second career kickoff return in the first quarter with a 28-yard return. He had his first career return with a 24-yarder in the fourth quarter vs. the New York Giants on Nov. 6, 2011.

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