2014 New England Patriots season
|2014 New England Patriots season|
|Head coach||Bill Belichick|
|Home field||Gillette Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFC East|
Won Divisional Playoffs (Ravens) 35–31|
Won AFC Championship (Colts) 45–7
Won Super Bowl XLIX (Seahawks) 28–24
The Patriots finished 12–4 for the third straight year, winning their sixth straight AFC East title, as well as the top-overall seed and home field advantage for the AFC playoffs. With their seeding, New England was awarded a first-round bye in the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, the first such occurrence for any team since the league switched to a 12-team playoff format in 1990 (surpassing the 1992–95 Dallas Cowboys). They finished fourth in the NFL in scoring (468 points) and eighth in points allowed (313), and first in point differential (with an average margin of victory of 9.7 points).
The Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 35–31 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, advancing to their fourth straight AFC Championship game. There, they defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45–7 to advance to their 8th Super Bowl and 6th under Bill Belichick. On February 1, 2015, the Patriots played the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. After tying the game 14–14 at halftime and giving up a ten-point lead in the third quarter, the Patriots rallied in the final quarter of the game to secure a 28–24 lead. The win secured their fourth championship in franchise history.
- Notable Departures: Aqib Talib (to Denver Broncos), Brandon Spikes (to Buffalo Bills), Dane Fletcher (to Tampa Bay Buccaneers), LeGarrette Blount (returned the same year, to Pittsburgh Steelers) Logan Mankins (to Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Notable Re-signings: Michael Hoomanawanui, Julian Edelman, Danny Aiken
- Notable Arrivals: Darrelle Revis (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Brandon Browner (from Seattle Seahawks), Brandon LaFell (from Carolina Panthers), Patrick Chung (from Philadelphia Eagles)
|2014 New England Patriots draft|
|2||62||Jimmy Garoppolo||QB||Eastern Illinois|
|4||105||Bryan Stork||C||Florida St||Pick from JAX|
|6||179||Jon Halapio||OG||Florida||Pick from JAX|
|6||198||Zach Moore||DE||Concordia-St. Paul||Pick from PHI|
|6||206||Jemea Thomas||CB||Georgia Tech|
|Made roster Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during career|
- Draft trades
- The Patriots traded their third-round selection (No. 93 overall) to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for the Jaguars' fourth- and sixth-round selections (Nos. 105 and 179 overall).
- The Patriots traded their fifth-round selection (No. 169 overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the Eagles' sixth-round selection (No. 198 overall) and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga.
|2014 New England Patriots staff|
| Front office
| Defensive coaches
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|Week||Date||Opponent||Result||Record||Game site|| NFL.com|
|1||August 7||at Washington Redskins||L 6–23||0–1||FedEx Field||Recap|
|2||August 15||Philadelphia Eagles||W 42–35||1–1||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
|3||August 22||Carolina Panthers||W 30–7||2–1||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
|4||August 28||at New York Giants||L 13–16||2–2||MetLife Stadium||Recap|
|Week||Date||Opponent||Results||Game site||TV|| NFL.com|
|Final score||Team record|
|1||September 7||at Miami Dolphins||L 20–33||0–1||Sun Life Stadium||CBS||Recap|
|2||September 14||at Minnesota Vikings||W 30–7||1–1||TCF Bank Stadium||CBS||Recap|
|3||September 21||Oakland Raiders||W 16–9||2–1||Gillette Stadium||CBS||Recap|
|4||September 29||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 14–41||2–2||Arrowhead Stadium||ESPN||Recap|
|5||October 5||Cincinnati Bengals||W 43–17||3–2||Gillette Stadium||NBC||Recap|
|6||October 12||at Buffalo Bills||W 37–22||4–2||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Fox||Recap|
|7||October 16||New York Jets||W 27–25||5–2||Gillette Stadium||CBS||Recap|
|8||October 26||Chicago Bears||W 51–23||6–2||Gillette Stadium||Fox||Recap|
|9||November 2||Denver Broncos||W 43–21||7–2||Gillette Stadium||CBS||Recap|
|11||November 16||at Indianapolis Colts||W 42–20||8–2||Lucas Oil Stadium||NBC||Recap|
|12||November 23||Detroit Lions||W 34–9||9–2||Gillette Stadium||Fox||Recap|
|13||November 30||at Green Bay Packers||L 21–26||9–3||Lambeau Field||CBS||Recap|
|14||December 7||at San Diego Chargers||W 23–14||10–3||Qualcomm Stadium||NBC||Recap|
|15||December 14||Miami Dolphins||W 41–13||11–3||Gillette Stadium||CBS||Recap|
|16||December 21||at New York Jets||W 17–16||12–3||MetLife Stadium||CBS||Recap|
|17||December 28||Buffalo Bills||L 9–17||12–4||Gillette Stadium||CBS||Recap|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
|Playoff round||Date||Opponent||Result||Record||Game site|| NFL.com|
|Wild Card||First-round bye|
|Divisional||January 10, 2015||Baltimore Ravens (6)||W 35–31||1–0||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
|AFC Championship||January 18, 2015||Indianapolis Colts (4)||W 45–7||2–0||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
|Super Bowl XLIX||February 1, 2015||vs. Seattle Seahawks (N1)||W 28–24||3–0||University of Phoenix Stadium||Recap|
Week 1: at Miami Dolphins
The Patriots dominated the first half of the game, going into half time leading 20–10. However, the Dolphins' defense kept the Patriots scoreless during the entire second half, while a Miami offense led by newly acquired running back Knowshon Moreno scored 23 unanswered points.
The Patriots went three-and-out on their first possession of the game, and the Dolphins blocked the ensuing punt. Four plays later, Lamar Miller caught a 4-yard touchdown pass, giving the Dolphins the early lead. It was almost all Patriots for the remainder of the half. The Patriots marched 80 yards on their next drive, never facing a third-down, culminating with Shane Vereen taking it in from 2 yards out. Following a Dolphins fumble, Stephen Gostkowski gave the Patriots the lead with a 47-yard field goal. Later, Alfonzo Dennard intercepted a pass at the 6-yard line. The Patriots marched 94 yards with Tom Brady hitting Rob Gronkowski on a six-yard TD pass giving the Patriots a commanding 17–7 lead midway through the second quarter. On the Dolphins next drive their turnover woes continued as Miller lost a fumble. However, the Dolphins defense made a stand and with 1:59 to go in the half, a Caleb Sturgis field goal trimmed the lead to 7 points. However, the Patriots answered just seconds before halftime with Gostkowski increasing the lead back to 20–10 with a field goal.
The second half was a different story entirely. The Dolphins stormed to the Patriots 6-yard line before settling for a 24-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal to trim the lead back to 7 at 20–13. On the Patriots next drive, Brady was strip-sacked by Cameron Wake with Louis Delmas recovering for the Dolphins. Four plays later Tannehill hit Mike Wallace on a 14-yard touchdown pass to tie the game all of a sudden. Following a Patriots three-and-out Caleb Sturgis booted another field goal and the Dolphins regained the lead, 23–20. It only got worse for New England. After five consecutive combined punts, the Dolphins methodically marched 85 yards in 12 plays culminating in Moreno rushing for a 4-yard touchdown, giving the Dolphins a 30-20 with just 3:29 remaining in the 4th quarter. The drive took just over six minutes with the Dolphins converting three third downs. On the touchdown play, Moreno fumbled at the 1, but the ball was recovered by the Dolphins in the endzone. On their next drive the Patriots were forced to go for it on 4th-and-10 from their own 18, but Tom Brady was strip-sacked by Wake again and the Dolphins recovered, pretty much ending any hope of a Patriots comeback. With 2:44 remaining Sturgis booted another field goal, increasing the lead to 33–20. The Patriots reached Miami territory in the final seconds, but time ran out. Tom Brady was sacked four times, all in the second half, finishing the day completing only 29 passes of 56 attempts for 249 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions, but two lost fumbles which turned into 10 points. Ryan Tannehill went 18 of 32 for 178 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Moreno, who played mostly in the second half, ran for 134 yards and the Dolphins as a team rushed for 191 yards. The loss was the Patriots first to open a season since losing 31–0 to the Buffalo Bills in 2003.
Week 2: at Minnesota Vikings
After a disappointing loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots came back with a vengeance on defense and special teams. The Patriots intercepted Vikings QB Matt Cassel four times, and held the Vikings scoreless after their first possession. The Vikings scored on the opening drive, followed by the Patriots posting 30 unanswered. On the Vikings first possession, they quickly drove down the field and struck first on a Matt Asiata 25 yard touchdown reception, accounting for their only points of the afternoon. After a Patriots punt, safety Devin McCourty intercepted Matt Cassel, and returned it down to the 1 yard line. Two plays later, Stevan Ridley took it in to tie the game at 7 apiece. With less than a minute remaining in the first quarter, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 48-yard field goal, giving the Patriots a 10–7 lead.
Early in the second quarter, Matt Cassel threw his second interception, this one to Darrelle Revis. Four minutes later, Julian Edelman caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady. At the end of the half, Chandler Jones blocked Blair Walsh's field goal attempt and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown, and the Patriots led 24–7 at halftime.
Cassel threw two more interceptions in the 2nd half. Brady and the Patriots offense went silent in the second half, but Gostkowski booted two field goals and the Patriots won easily, by a score of 30–7. Tom Brady completed 14 of 21 passes for 149 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Stevan Ridley led the Patriots in rushing, carrying the ball 25 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Filling in for the suspended Adrian Peterson, Matt Asiata carried the ball 13 times for only 36 yards. Matt Cassel went 19 of 36 for 202 yards with 1 touchdown, but was intercepted 4 times by the Patriots fierce secondary.
Week 3: vs. Oakland Raiders
The Patriots came out with another lackluster offensive effort against the Raiders. However, both defenses had top-notch performances. Tight end Rob Gronkowski scored the only touchdown for either team on the day, and both offenses struggled on their opponent's side of the 50. The Raiders could only muster 3 field goals on the day, as rookie quarterback Derek Carr couldn't lead the Raiders into the end zone. After both teams punted on their opening drive, the Raiders struck first blood. The Raiders drove 50 yards in which every Carr completion went for at least 7 yards except for a critical screen pass that lost 6 yards and they ultimately settled for a Sebastian Janikowski field goal from 49 yards.
After both teams punted again, the Patriots wore down the Raiders on a 15 play, 84 yard drive where Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a 6-yard touchdown. On 3rd-and-2 at the Raiders 28, Tom Brady threw an incomplete pass which would've brought up fourth down, but current Patriot Tarrell Brown was flagged for a very critical pass interference, giving the Patriots a first down at the Raiders 14. The Raiders went three-and-out on their ensuing possession and the Patriots took advantage going 48 yards with Gostkowski nailing a 21-yard field goal. The Patriots punted on their first possession of the 3rd quarter. The Raiders followed that by driving to the Patriots- 19 and Janikowski drilling a 37-yard field goal. The Patriots punted again on their next drive and the Raiders responded with yet another field goal, this one from 47.
The Raiders had a 1st-and-10 at the Patriots 37, but a costly holding call on guard Donald Penn made it 1st-and-15. This was crucial because Derek Carr completed a 13-yard pass on 3rd-and-15, making it 4th and 2 instead of 1st-and-10 and the Raiders punted. The Patriots answered the Raiders field goal with one of their own as they constructed a 57-yard march and Gostkowski kicked another 20-yard field goal. After the Raiders went three-and-out, the Patriots marched 63 yards, taking 4:55 off the clock culminating with Gostkowski's 36 yarder, the sixth total field goal of the game.
Unfortunately, the Raiders offense continued to spiral downward as they went three-and-out again, but this time the Raiders defense forced the Patriots to a three-and-out, giving the Raiders one last chance to extend the game. On 3rd-and-7 at the Patriots 30-yard line, Carr threw an incomplete pass seemingly bringing up a do-or-die 4th down, but cornerback Logan Ryan was called for pass interference moving the ball to the Patriots 6-yard line and giving the Raiders the break they needed. On the very next play Darren McFadden scored from 6 yards away with 0:59 left. However, it was called back due to a holding foul on Raiders left guard Gabe Jackson. Two plays later, a tipped pass resulted in a Vince Wilfork interception, which sealed the win for the Patriots. Tom Brady was pressured relentlessly by the Oakland defensive line, but managed to complete 24 of 37 passes for 234 yards, with 1 touchdown and no interceptions.
The running game struggled, with Stevan Ridley leading the team with only 54 yards on 19 carries. Julian Edelman was the leading receiver for either team, with 10 catches for 84 yards. Rob Gronkowski continued to slowly work himself into the offense catching only 3 passes for 44 yards, but caught the Patriots' only touchdown. Derek Carr had a sub-par day, going 21 of 34 for only 174 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception. Both defenses were spectacular holding the opposing offense to under 300 yards of offense (Raiders-241, Patriots-297). The Raiders committed the only turnover. The Patriots won TOP by only two minutes and first downs 21-14.
With the win the Patriots advanced to 2-1.
Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs
In front of a crowd that set the new record for highest decibel level at an NFL Game, the Chiefs embarrassed the Patriots 41–14 on Monday Night Football. The Patriots suspect offensive line doomed them against Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and the Chiefs balanced offense shredded the Patriots' defense.
The Chiefs had a strong opening possession having the ball for over five minutes before punting. The Patriots went three-and-out. The Chiefs second possession was even stronger as they methodically marched 73 yards in 11 plays eating 5:58 and Jamaal Charles punched it in from 2 yards out.
The Patriots offense was stagnant almost all game. Though they reached the Chiefs 42-yard line, the Patriots punted. On the Chiefs' next possession, it took just three plays to go 86 yards and score. First, Knile Davis powered his way for a 48-yard carry. Next, Alex Smith hit star tight-end Travis Kelce on a short pass which Kelce took to the 5-yard line. Finally, Smith hit Charles for a five-yard touchdown pass from, extending the Kansas City lead to 14–0. Both offenses struggled for the rest of the quarter. However, the Chiefs managed one final drive before halftime. Instead of a long, time drainer, the Chiefs struck quickly, reaching the Patriots- 4, and Cairo Santos booted a 22-yard chip-shot field goal and the Chiefs led 17–0 at halftime. Both teams punted on their initial second-half possession, but on 2nd and 7 on the Patriots' next possession, Brady was stripped-sacked by Tamba Hali, who recovered the fumble. Two plays later Smith hit Charles for an 8-yard touchdown increasing Kansas City's lead to 24–0. On the Patriots' second play of their next drive, after a 5-yard run by Stevan Ridley, Brady badly overthrew Julian Edelman and was intercepted by Sean Smith who returned the ball 34 yards to the New England 13 yard line. The Patriots defense managed to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone, but Cairo Santos booted his second field goal, a 31 yarder, extending the lead to 27-0. The Patriots finally got on the board late in the third quarter. Shane Vereen ran for 9 yards on 1st-down, was stuffed for no-gain, then caught a 28-yard pass. On the very next play, Brady hit Brandon LaFell on a screen and he proceeeded to break through three defenders for a 44-yard touchdown.
Despite forcing a 3rd and 10 on the next Chiefs drive, the Patriots had no answer for the Chiefs screen game. Kansas City marched down the field 80 yards in 12 plays taking 6:34 off the clock to take a 34–7 lead on a two-yard touchdown catch by Travis Kelce, killing any hope of a Patriots comeback. On the ensuing Patriots drive, on 3rd-and-4 from their own 26, Husain Abdullah intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. Abdullah, a Muslim, prayed in the end zone afterward, and was fined. With the deficit an insurmountable 41–7, Brady was benched and rookie Jimmy Garoppolo stepped in. Garoppolo marched the Patriots down the field 81 yards and hit Rob Gronkowski who carried three Chiefs players into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown for the final of 41-14.
Jamaal Charles was the main weapon of the Chiefs' offense, running for 92 yards and a touchdown, and catching 3 passes for 16 yards and two more touchdown passes. Knile Davis ran the ball 16 times for 107 yards. Alex Smith was 20/26 for 236 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Brady completed 14 of 23 passes for a pedestrian 159 yards 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
The offensive line continued to struggle, as Brady was sacked 3 times and lost a fumble. Jimmy Garoppolo went 6 of 7 for 70 yards and touchdown to Rob Gronkowski. Brandon LaFell was the sole offensive star for the Patriots, catching 6 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs out-gained the Patriots 443-290. The Chiefs won the turnover battle 3-0, converting the three turnovers into 17 points. The Chiefs racked up 26 first downs compared to the Patriots 13. The Chiefs dominated time of possession 36:27-23:33. The 27 point margin of defeat represented the second largest loss for the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era (the Patriots' worst loss was a 31-point loss (31-0) to the Bills in Week 1 of the 2003 season).
With the loss, the Patriots' record dropped to 2–2. After the game, many analysts believed not only was the Patriots season over, but so was their 13-year dynasty. In his post-game press conference, when asked about evaluating the quarterback position, Bill Belichick scoffed. In his regular press conference the ensuing Wednesday, when asked about the loss (primarily by Albert Breer) he replied with his now famous line, "We're on to Cincinnati". That quote was what some Patriots pointed to as the turning point in the season. The Patriots would proceed to win ten of their final twelve regular season games, clinch the #1 seed, win the AFC Championship, and win the Super Bowl. Following their Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks, several Patriots players, including Brady himself, pointed to this game as the turning point in the Patriots season.
Week 5: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Following the loss to Kansas City and a wave of public criticism of the organization on national and local media (led by scathing analyses by Trent Dilfer and former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, including a disputed report before the game of a confrontation between Josh McDaniels and receiver Aaron Dobson), the Patriots returned home and crushed the 3–0 Bengals, the last remaining undefeated team on Sunday Night Football.
After a touch back on the opening kickoff the Patriots wasted no time as they stormed 80 yards in 10 plays with Stevan Ridley chalking up a 1-yard touchdown run. Ex-Patriot Brandon Tate returned the kickoff 31 yards to the Bengals 25. They managed to reach the Patriots 29, but a holding call made it 3rd-and-10 at the 34 and Mike Nugent missed a 52-yard field goal. Taking over at their own 42, the Patriots raced 58 yards on six plays, increasing the lead to 14-0 on a Brady 17-yard touchdown pass to Tim Wright. On the drive Brady hit Gronkowski for 27 yards, making him the 6th quarterback in NFL history to throw for 50,000 career passing yards. After both teams punted on their next two drives the Bengals finally got on board towards the end of the 2nd quarter, marching 57-yards in 10 plays aided by 25 yards in Patriots penalties and Mike Nugent drilled a 23-yard field goal. The Patriots responded by driving to the Cincinnati 30-yard line and Gostkowski kicked a 48-yard field goal, increasing the lead to 17-3. On the first play of Cincinnati's following drive Andy Dalton hit superstar receiver A.J. Green for a 19-yard gain, but Darrelle Revis forced him to fumble, Jamie Collins recovered, but fumbled himself, finally Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington recovered. The Patriots drove to the Bengals 1-yard line, but had to settle for a 19-yard Gostkowski field goal and a 20-3 at halftime lead. Both teams punted on their first possession of the second-half, but Patriots punter Ryan Allen shanked the his, giving the Bengals excellent field position at the Patriots 37-yard line. The Bengals wasted no time as Andy Dalton hit Mohamed Sanu for a 37-yard touchdown on the first play, trimming the score to 20-10. However, Brady and the Pats answered right back, advancing 86 yards, with Shane Vereen converting a huge 3rd-and-16 with a 19-yard run. A few plays later a Brady-to-Gronkowski touchdown connection increased the Patriots lead to 27-10. On the ensuing kickoff Brandon Tate returned the kick to the Bengals-11, but running back Brandon Bolden forced him to fumble and Kyle Arrington recovered his second fumble for a touchdown, making the score 34-10. Andy Dalton responded by driving the Bengals 82 yards and scoring on his 17-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green. That was it for the Bengals as it was all Patriots and Gostkowski in the fourth quarter as Gostkowski connected on field goals from: 23, 47, and 35 yards, respectively making the final score 43-17. Kyle Arrington continued to wreak havoc by forcing Dane Sanzenbacher to fumble with safety Duron Harmon recovering. Before the game, the Patriots paid tribute to Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, whose daughter is battling cancer, with a short film during a television timeout saluting his daughter while the Patriots cheerleaders donned Devon Still #75 jerseys; the gesture and donation by the Kraft family to the Cincinnati hospital at which she is being treated, brought a standing ovation and moved Still to tears. With the win, the Patriots advanced to 3-2, making many rethink the "death" of the Patriots. The Patriots out-gained the Bengals 505-320, running all over one of the top defenses. The Patriots forced the Bengals into three turnovers (all fumbles) while the Patriots didn't turn it over at all. The Patriots dominant time of possession by almost 18 minutes and first downs 30-17. Tom Brady went 23/35 for 285 yards and 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 203 rushing yards on 36 carries as the Patriots ran for 220 on the night.
Week 6: at Buffalo Bills
After the first three possessions of the game ended in punts the Patriots managed a long drive to the Bills 14-yard line. However, following a false start penalty on Danny Aiken, Gostkowski missed a 36-yard field goal. On the third play of the Bills resulting possession, though, Kyle Orton was intercepted by Jamie Collins at the Patriots 39-yard line. The Patriots marched 61 yards in just five plays to take the lead on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Tim Wright. After both teams punted, the Bills lugged 67 yards to tie the game 7-7 on a Kyle Orton touchdown pass to Robert Woods. Two Bills fumbles gave the Patriots wonderful field position, but both times the Bills held them to field goals and a 13-7 halftime lead. After receiving the opening kickoff of the second half Brady launched a bomb to Brian Tyms for a 43-yard touchdown, extending the New England lead to 20–7. The Bills struck right back with Fred Jackson closing the gap to 20–14 with a 1-yard touchdown run ending an 80-yard drive. The Patriots responded on their next possession with Gostkowski adding another field goal to increase the lead to 23–14. After a Bills punt the Patriots seemingly put the game away with Brady's 18 yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell. However, the Bills wouldn't go away. Kyle Orton calmly engineered an 80-yard drive that ended in his 8-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan. The key play of the drive was a 35-yard completion to Woods on 4th-and-2. Orton then threw a two-yard pass to Woods for a successful two-point conversion, keeping Buffalo alive at 30-22. However, with 2:49 remaining, Brady launched another bomb, this one to LaFell for a 56-yard game icing touchdown and the Patriots won 37–22. Brady completed 27 of 37 passes for 361 yards, with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Kyle Orton was equally impressive at 24 of 38 for 299 yards, with 2 TDs and 1 INT. Both teams struggled to run the football. Unfortunately, it was later learned the Patriots lost running back Stevan Ridley and linebacker Jerod Mayo to season ending injuries.
Week 7: vs. New York Jets
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
The Patriots' next opponent was the New York Jets, on Thursday Night Football. For the fourth straight home game the Patriots played the Jets in a contest where the final margin of victory was less than ten points, and third straight where the margin didn't exceed three points. Tom Brady made his 200th career regular season start and threw three touchdowns.
It took the Patriots only three plays to score on their first possession. Shane Vereen slipped through on a wheel route completely unnoticed by the Jets secondary and Brady hit him for a 49-yard touchdown, 1:29 into the game. The Jets then marched 76 yards in 12 plays draining 7:02 off the clock. On 1st-and-goal from the Patriots 9-yard line, Geno Smith hit Jeremy Kerley for a touchdown, however, offensive guard Oday Aboushi was flagged for holding and the touchdown was nullified. The Jets reached the Patriots 4-yard line, but by then it was 4th-down so they settled for a 22-yard field goal from Nick Folk. After a Patriots three-and-out the Jets chewed 4:22 off the clock and seemed primed for a touchdown, but another critical holding call put the Jets in a hole they couldn't dig out of and Nick Folk kicked a 47-yard field goal. The Patriots went three-and-out again. The Jets went on a drive like their previous two with the same result, a Nick Folk field goal, this one from 46 yards, giving the Jets their first lead at 9-7. However, the Patriots finally responded, racing 80 yards in 10 plays to take the lead on Shane Vereen's second TD reception this one for 3 yards. The Jets used a quicker attack on their next drive, but yielded The same results and Folk had to kick his fourth field goal of the half to bring the score to 14–12. A 32-yard pass interference penalty on allowed the Patriots to drive down the field and Gostowski widened the lead to 17–12 at halftime.
On the Jets first drive of the third quarter they continued their strategy from the beginning with an 11 play, 6:02 drive, but this time the Jets reached the end zone as Chris Ivory scored a touchdown from a yard out to cap off the 80-yard drive, and giving the Jets their second lead of the game, 19–17. Once again though, the Patriots quickly took the lead back as they drove 52 yards in 4:48 with Gostkowski banging in a 36-yard field goal and a 20–19 lead. The next five combined possessions ended in punts. After the Jets third punt, Tom Brady engineered a Brady-esque drive reaching the Jets 4, but a 6-yard false start penalty and a 10-yard offensive pass interference penalty on Brandon LaFell sent them back to the Jets 20. On 3rd and goal from the 20, Brady rolled out to the left and found Danny Amendola for a touchdown, extending the Patriots' lead to 27–19 on Amendola's only catch of the game. On New York's next drive, Jets quarterback Geno Smith engineered a 12-play, 86-yard drive, finding tight end Jeff Cumberland for a 10-yard TD pass to cut the Patriots' lead to two points with 2:31 remaining. However, the 2 point conversion failed and the score remained 27–25. Danny Amendola recovered the onside kick for the Patriots with 2:30 remaining in regulation. The Patriots failed to run out the clock, though, giving the Jets one last chance at an upset with 1:06 remaining. At their own 31, Geno Smith hit David Nelson for 11 yards to their own 42. Next, he hit Jeremy Kerley for 13 to the Patriots 45. Then Chris Ivory ran for five yards before heading out of bounds at the Patriots 40. After an incomplete pass, Nick Folk came out to attempt the game-winning 58-yard field with 5 seconds left. The kick was blocked by defensive lineman Chris Jones, who had been called for a personal foul on a missed field goal attempt against the Jets the previous season, which had cost the Patriots that game, and the Patriots escaped with their third win in a row. Brady was efficient completing 20 of 37 passes, for 261 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Geno Smith completed 20 of 34 passes for 226 yards, a touchdown, and 0 interceptions. The Jets ran for 218 yards on the night, led by Chris Ivory, who gained 107 yards on 21 carries. Chris Johnson added 61 yards on 13 carries. The Jets out-gained the Patriots 423-323 and absolutely controlled the clock winning T.O.P. 40:54-19:06. It was learned shortly after the game that stalwart defensive end Chandler Jones injured his hip and would miss seven games.
Week 8: vs. Chicago Bears
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
The Patriots came in to their week 8 matchup with the Bears looking to win their fourth straight game.
Following a punt by Chicago on the opening possession, the Patriots moved 55 yards in just 5 plays, scoring with Tom Brady connecting with Rob Gronkowski, the first of three touchdown receptions on the day for Gronkowski. After a Bears punt the Patriots took over 7 minutes off the clock in 17 plays, but could only settle for a Gostkowski field goal. The Bears fortunes didn't get any better as they punted and the Patriots struck back with a five-and-a-half minute drive culminating with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Wright. Chicago running back Matt Forte scored a touchdown to make it 17–7, but the Patriots took control of the game from there. In a 57-second span, the Patriots scored 3 touchdowns. After Brady threw touchdown passes to Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell, for 2 and 9 yards, respectively, the Patriots took a 31–7 lead. On the ensuing Chicago possession, quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked and stripped by rookie defensive end Zach Moore. Fellow defensive end Rob Ninkovich recovered the ball and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Patriots a 38–7 lead at halftime.
On the first drive of the 2nd half, Brady Rob Gronkowski on a 46-yard touchdown pass, the fifth of the day for Brady, and the third for Gronkowski. With less than a minute remaining in the 3rd quarter, Jay Cutler hit Martellus Bennett on a 20-yard touchdown pass(with a successful 2 pt. conversion). With the outcome of the game no longer in doubt after another field goal by Gostkowski with 9:59 to play, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took over for Tom Brady. The Bears would score again when Jay Culter hit Alshon Jeffery for a 10-yard touchdown pass(with another successful 2 point conversion). Gostowski added another field goal to end the scoring. The Patriots' 51 points were their largest single-game total of the season.
Week 9: vs. Denver Broncos
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
The first three combined possessions of the game ended in punts, Denver went three-and-out both times gaining a net two yards. Brandon Colquitt's second punt was bad which was fair caught by Danny Amendola at the Patriots 46-yard line. A 15-yard penalty on Denver gave the Patriots the ball at the Denver 39. Despite the great field position, the Patriots failed to get a first down and Gostkowski kicked a 49-yard field goal.
Denver took the ball and stormed 80 yards in just 9 plays. Peyton Manning passed for 67 yards on the drive. On 3rd-and-10 at the Patriots 13, Manning threw an incomplete pass, but Brandon Browner was called for pass interference, giving the Broncos the ball at the 1-yard line. Running back Ronnie Hillman punched it in from 1 yard out to give the Broncos a 7–3 lead. The Patriots managed to reach the Broncos 11, but Denver's improved defense held the Patriots to a 29-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. On the second play of Denver's ensuing drive, linebacker Rob Ninkovich intercepted a Peyton Manning pass. The great field position led to Tom Brady completing 3 passes on a 4 play, 34-yard drive, including the 5 yard TD pass to Julian Edelman.
Denver's ensuing possession went only five plays. On the punt, Colquitt fumbled the snap, but managed to get it away. Edelman fielded the ball on a bounce and returned the punt 84 yards for a touchdown, increasing the lead to 20-7. After a missed field goal by Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, the Broncos forced a punt and drove to the Patriots 34-yard line. On 4th down, instead of kicking a 51-yard field goal, the Broncos went for it on 4th-and-6, but Manning was sacked by Akeem Ayers. This enabled the Patriots to march 57 yards in 9 plays with Shane Vereen adding a 5-yard touchdown reception with 0:08 remaining in the half. Patriots outscored Denver 24–0 in the second quarter, and led 27–7 at the half.
On the first drive of the second half, Brady was intercepted at his own 46 by Bradley Roby. Manning drove the Broncos, hitting DeMaryius Thomas for 27 yards on 3rd-and-6, 57 yards and Bronco tight end Julius Thomas caught the 18-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 27–14, but it was the Patriots day. First, Gostkowski added another field goal after a 12-play, 53-yard drive, increasing the lead to 30-14. Manning was intercepted by Browner on the first play of the ensuing possession. Taking over at the 10-yard line, Brady hit LaFell on the first play for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Denver scored for the final time on their ensuing possession zooming 70 yards in a mere 4 plays scoring on Manning's 15-yard touchdown pass to running back Ronnie Hillman. The Patriots struck right back with Tom Brady driving the Patriots 80 yards, using 14 plays taking 6:53 off the clock before connecting with Rob Gronkowski for a 1-yard touchdown pass(with a missed two point conversion) for the last score of the game early in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady completed 33 of 53 passes for 333 yards, with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Rob Gronkowski had 9 catches for 105 yards and 1 TD, and Julian Edelman added 9 catches for 89 yards and a TD. Peyton Manning was 34 of 57 for 438 yards and 2 touchdowns, but added 2 interceptions. Both running games struggled, limited to 109 combined yards on the ground. With the win, the Patriots took the lead in the race for the AFC's #1 seed, which they would not relinquish, and made them the team to beat in the AFC. It was Tom Brady's eleventh win in sixteen career meetings against Manning and was the Patriots' largest margin of victory over Manning since 2001.
Week 11: at Indianapolis Colts
The Patriots faced the Colts in a primetime match up on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots defense forced the Colts to a quick three-and-out on the first drive of the game. Then the Patriots scored on their opening drive of the game as they stormed 89 yards using a balanced drive with Jonas Gray punching through for a 4-yard score. The Colts immediately responded with Andrew Luck bombing a 46-yard completion to T.Y. Hilton, but the Patriots only allowed two more yards and the Colts had to settle for an Adam Vinateri 31-yard field goal to bring the score to 7–3. On the ensuing drive, a 20-yard run by Gray took the Patriots to their own 49, however, safety Mike Adams intercepted the pass intended for Tyms at the Colts-6 for no gain. The Colts couldn't move the ball and punted, as did the Patriots. Following the Patriots punt, Andrew Luck was intercepted at the Patriots 22 by Devin McCourty who returned it ten yards to the Patriots 32. From there the Patriots marched 68 yards in 11 plays to score on Jonas Gray's 2-yard touchdown run, his second touchdown of the game, extending the lead to 14-3. After a Colts three-and-out, Tom Brady was intercepted again, and again by Mike Adams who returned it 10 yards to the Patriots 23-yard line. With the tremendous field position it took only three plays for Luck hit Hakeem Nicks with less than a minute remaining to trim the lead to 14-10. The Colts momentum was short lived. The Patriots received the second half kickoff and the Patriots restarted with an 80-yard touchdown drive as Brady and Wright hooked up for a 2-yard touchdown pass. The Colts driving 40 yards but, on 3rd-and-6 from the Patriots 40 Luck connected with Reggie Wayne, but Darrelle Revis tackled him 1 yard shy of the first down. Vinateri came on and was good from 53 yards to trim the score to 21–13. The Colts though, just couldn't stop the Patriots reignited attack. Brady passed for 56 yards on the responding drive before Gray ran it in from 2 yards out again to finish off a 10 play, 5 minute, 80-yard drive and the score went to 28–13. The Colts actually stymied Gray on the drive before the touchdown. The Colts stood tall, and Luck completed 5 passes on the next drive for 77 yards(the drive was 80 yards) and hit Anthony Castonzo for a 1-yard touchdown bringing the score to 28–20. However, the Patriots scored once more driving another 80 yards in 10 plays with a Jonas Gray 1-yard touchdown run increased the score 35-20. The Colts stuffed Gray for a two-yard loss on 3rd-and-2, but a 15-yard face mask penalty on Jerrell Freeman moved the ball from the Colts 29 to their 14 and Gray scored 4 plays later. A turnover on downs gave the Patriots fabulous field position at the Colts 32-yard line. After two three-yard runs by Gray, Tom Brady threw a 26-yard TD pass to Gronkowski widening the lead to 42-20 and clinching the Patriots' sixth straight win. The game also saw several skirmishes between Rob Gronkowski and Sergio Brown, with Gronkowski throwing Brown into an NBC camera after the play on Gray's 4th touchdown. Gronkowski referred to this incident as throwing Sergio Brown "out of the club" for yapping all game. Jonas Gray broke out as he ran all over the Colts defense for 201 yards on 35 carries and 4 touchdowns. Tom Brady's 257 passing yards helped give the Patriots 503 yards of offense. Tom Brady improved to 3-0 against Andrew Luck.
Week 12: vs. Detroit Lions
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Following a major road victory against the Colts, the Patriots returned home to face another tough team in the Detroit Lions. The Lions took the opening kick 50 yards with Matthew Stafford hitting Golden Tate for gains of 24 and 17 yards as the Lions stormed to the Patriots 34, but couldn't get another first down so the Lions settled for a Matt Prater 48-yard field goal. Prater would be the Lions' only scorer of the day. Both teams next two drives were three-and-out with total negative net yards. After the Lions second three-and-out the Patriots stormed 64 yards in 9 plays and Tom Brady hit Tim Wright on a 4-yard touchdown pass. The Lions replied on their very next possession, driving 78 to the Patriots 2-yard line, but they couldn't punch it in and Prater added another field goal this from 20 yards. It was all Patriots for the rest of the half. Danny Amendola returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the Detroit 22. A 16-yard pass to LaFell and a 3-yard encroachment penalty to Ndamukong Suh moved the ball to the 3-yard line, and on the very next play LeGarrette Blount added a 3-yard rushing touchdown in his return to the Patriots. The Lions moved the ball well on their next drive, but the Patriots forced them to punt from the New England 39. Taking over at their own 7, the Patriots methodically moved 93 yards in 13 plays with Brady hitting Tim Wright again on an 8-yard TD pass, increasing their lead to 21-6. The Patriots only faced two 3rd downs on the drive including their last play. The Lions drove to the Patriots 35, but Matt Prater missed the 53-yard field goal. Taking over at their own 43 the Patriots needed just three plays (two wiped out due to Patriots penalties) to reach the Lions 18 and Gostkowski closed out the half with a 35-yard field goal as they went into the locker room up 24–6 at halftime.
The Patriots took the opening kickoff of the half 70 yards to the Lions 10-yard line trying to bury Detroit, but on 1st down Tom Brady was intercepted by James Ihedigbo. Like almost every possession on the day, the Lions did nothing and punted after five plays. Gostkowski added another field goal, this one from 43 yards to close out a 50-yard drive, increasing the lead to 27–6. After both teams swapped three-and-outs the Lions advanced to the Patriots 31, but had to settle for a Matt Prater 49-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. After a Patriots three-and-out, the Lions reached the Patriots 25. On 4th-and-10 from the 25 Stafford scrambled for 9 yards, but slid short of the first down resulting in a turnover on downs. After another punt by the Patriots, Matthew Stafford was intercepted by safety-Logan Ryan, but an illegal block penalty moved them back to their own 34. This didn't effect as the Patriots though, and a 9-play, 66-yard drive set up a 1-yard TD run by LeGarrette Blount. The Patriots closed out the Lions 34-9 for their seventh straight win.
The Lions looked liked a team that was mentally unprepared and lackluster early on with their offense struggling to score in the red zone and made horrific mistakes. At the end of the game, controversy brewed when a defensive lineman slapped the head of Patriots long snapper Danny Aiken, who ended up missing the Chargers game with a concussion, in the head that led to a personal foul penalty and a first down. The Patriots promptly scored on the next play with a 3-yard LeGarrette Blount touchdown, which angered Lions center Dominic Raiola. Raiola later took out his frustration on Patriots defensive lineman Zach Moore by punching him in the back of the helmet. Tom Brady was 38 of 53 for 349 yards 2 TDs (both to Tim Wright) and 1 INTs. LeGarrette Blount added 78 yard on 12 carries and two TDs. Matthew Stafford was awful going only 18 of 46 for 264 yards 0 TDs and 1 INTs. Joique Bell added only 48 yards on 19 carries. Another reason the Lions couldn't get going, Darrelle Revis locked down vaunted receiver Calvin Johson holding him to just 4 catches for 58 yards and 0 TDs. With the win, the Patriots improved to 9–2, making it the 14th straight winning season for the Patriots.
Week 13: at Green Bay Packers
In a game that was hyped as a potential Super Bowl preview, the Packers edged out the Patriots in a game that lived up to its billing.
The Packers received the opening kickoff and drove down the field, but the Patriots red zone defense continued to stay hot and held them out of the end zone. Mason Crosby came on and booted a 32-yard field goal and the Packers led 3–0. The Patriots opening possession lasted just four plays before a punt. The Packers once more marched down the field using a 33 yard completion from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams, but once again the Patriots defense kept them out of the end zone and Mason Crosby kicked a 35-yard field goal increasing the Packers lead to 6–0. After a Patriots three-and-out, the Packers took over at their own 15. On 3rd-and-2 from their own 23 Rodgers connected with Adams down the sideline for a 45-yard gain to the Patriots 32. On the very next play with 0:08 seconds remaining in the quarter, Aaron Rodgers zipped a 32-yard touchdown pass to tight-end Richard Rodgers and the Packers led 13–0 at the end of the first quarter. After a pedestrian first quarter, the Patriots slowly crawled their way back into the game. On the first play of the second quarter, Tom Brady darted a pass to Gronkowski for a 29-yard gain into Packet territory. Three plays later Brandon Bolden ran in a 6-yard touchdown, trimming the deficit to 13-7. The Patriots almost had the Packers stopped on a 3rd-and-5 from their own 33-yard line, but no pass rush allowed Rodgers to loft a 33-yard completion to Randall Cobb as the Packers once again drove into the redzone, but Dont'a Hightower sacked Aaron Rodgers on third-and-goal and Mason Crosby kicked a field goal with just under six minutes remaining in the first half. Down 16-7, Tom Brady drove the Patriots back down the field again on 12-play drive and hit LaFell in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown pass, trimming the score to 16-14. Since they faced only two third-downs on the drive, the Patriots offense seemed to be back. However, 1:05 would prove to be too much time for Aaron Rodgers. After an incompletion to Adams, Rodgers threw a screen pass to James Starks who took it 28 yards to the Packers 47. An 8-yard completion to Jordy Nelson moved the ball to the Patriots 45. An incompletion to Nelson set up a second-and-10 and Rodgers hit Nelson on a very critical touchdown on a 45-yard catch-and-run with 00:14 remaining in the first half. Darrelle Revis was covering Nelson and that was only the 2nd touchdown Revis allowed all season. Jordy Nelson would have only one more catch all game. After the Patriots got the ball Brady took a knee and the score was 23-14 at halftime.
The third quarter was a stalemate, as both defenses began to take over. The Packers though had a chance to increase their lead early in the third quarter, but Mason Crosby's 40-yard field goal attempt was wide left. The Patriots took over with 2:21 remaining in the third and drove 75 yards with Brady throwing a laser to LaFell for a 15-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to pull the Patriots within two at 23–21. However, the Packers marched to the 10 yard line on a drive that took over five minutes. Adams dropped a sure touchdown, Mason Crosby kicked a 28 yard field goal, pushing the lead to 26-21. The Patriots got the ball with 8:41 remaining. From their own- 49, Brady converted a 4th-and-3 to Edelman and a 3rd-and-7 to Gronkowski from the Packers-43. Then, on 2nd and 9 from the Patriots 20, Brady dropped a pass into the arms of Rob Gronkowski who caught the ball momentarily for the go-ahead touchdown, but Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix punched it out before it could be ruled a catch. On the very next play Brady was sacked by defensive lineman Mike Daniels for a 9 yard loss. Instead of calling a timeout Bill Belichick sent Stephen Gostkowski on the field with the clock running to preserve their timeout. They kept their timeout, but Gostkowski missed the 47-yard field goal attempt. On the next drive Aaron Rodgers converted a 3rd and 4 with a 7-yard pass to Cobb which enabled the Packers to run out the clock and end the game.
Tom Brady was 22 of 35 for 245 yards 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Aaron Rodgers, continuing his home dominance, went 24 of 38 for 368 yards 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Another deciding factor, the Patriots couldn't generate any sort of running game against the Packers awful run defense. The Patriots almost couldn't put any pressure on Aaron Rodgers. At one point he had 14 seconds to throw a pass (which he completed for a first down to Davante Adams). The Patriots fell to 9–3 with the loss, snapping their 7-game winning streak. LeGarrette Blount had 58 yards on 10 carries. Meanwhile, Eddie Lacy had 98 yards on 21 carries. Davante Adams was the receiving star for the Packers with 6 catches for 121 yards. Rob Gronkowski was the receiving star for the Patriots with 7 catches for 98 yards.
Week 14: at San Diego Chargers
The Patriots' offense struggled for the duration of the game and had some self-inflicted mistakes that put the Chargers up early. After forcing the Chargers to punt, the Patriots marched 89 yards in an amazing 17 plays eating 7:56 off the clock, but the drive stalled at the 4-yard line and Gostkowski kicked a 22-yard field goal. After the early field goal the Chargers shut down the Patriots for nearly the entire half. Early in the 2nd quarter, Philip Rivers hit Malcolm Floyd for 15 yards to put the Chargers up 7–3. Later in the 2nd quarter, Brandon LaFell fumbled and Darrell Stuckey returned the fumble 53 yards for a touchdown and a 14–3 Chargers lead. The Patriots responded on the ensuing possession by driving to the Charges 4-yard line, but were forced to settle for a field goal. The Patriots then blocked a punt by Mike Scifres, injuring him, but scoring on a 14-yard touchdown reception by Gronkowski cutting the deficit to 14-13. After another Chargers punt, the Patriots reached the Chargers, but Brady was intercepted by Manti Te'o and the Chargers were able to hold their 14-13 halftime lead.
Defense dominated the third quarter, keeping the score 14-13. In the fourth quarter, Gostowski hit a 38-yard field goal, giving the Patriots their first lead since the first quarter. After forcing a Chargers punt, Brady hit Edelman on the first play of the drive for a 69-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made the score 23-14, basically sealing another Patriots win. This victory over the Chargers gave the Patriots their 10th win of the season, and their 12th consecutive 10 win season.
Week 15: vs. Miami Dolphins
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
On the opening drive of the game, the Dolphins marched all the way to the Patriots 23, setting up a 41-yard field goal attempt by Caleb Sturgis. But Jamie Collins blocked it and Kyle Arrington returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. After a Dolphins punt, the Pats drove to the Dolphins 38, but Brady was intercepted by at the Dolphins 34 by Jason Trusnik. The Dolphins drove to the Patriots 6, but had to kick a 24-yard field goal. After a Patriots punt, the Dolphins drove to their own 45, but Ryan Tannehill was intercepted by Duron Harmon at the Patriots 34 who returned the ball to the Dolphins 8 for 60 yards. Three plays later, Shane Vereen ran in a 3-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 14-3. The Dolphins immediately drove to the Patriots 35 and Sturgis kicked a 53-yard field goal. After a Patriots punt, Tannehill connected with Mike Wallace on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 0:05 left to trim the score to 14-13 on a play that was initially ruled a drop.
The Patriots would out score the Dolphins 27-0 in the second half. They took the opening kickoff of the second half and stormed 79 yards in just 8 plays, re-increasing their lead to 21-13 on LeGarrette Blount's 3-yard touchdown run. After a Dolphins punt, the Patriots reached the Dolphins 17 where Gostkowski drilled a 35-yard for goal. Tannehill was intercepted on the first play of the Dolphins next drive and the Patriots cashed it in for a touchdown on the first play with Brady throwing a 27-yard touchdown strike to Rob Gronkowski to widen the lead to 31-13.
After another Dolphins three-and-out, the Patriots took over at the Dolphins 47. First Jonas Gray ran for 6 yards to the Dolphins 41, followed by Brady hooking up with Gronkowski for 35 yards to the Patriots 6. Finally, Brady found Julian Edelman for the 6-yard touchdown pass, making the score 38-13. The final points came off of a 36-yard Gostkowski field goal to make the final 41-13. The Dolphins turned it over on downs on their last two drives.
The Patriots offensive line was immensely better than the opening day game against Miami as Brady wasn't sacked at all. Brady tossed 2 TDs to Edelman and Gronkowski while Vereen and Blount picked up rushing TDs. Gronkowski was their leading receiver with 96 yards and 1 touchdown on just 3 catches. Miami picked up 384 yards of offense, but mostly couldn't get out of their own way with two turnovers and some awful drops, including a dropped touchdown by Mike Wallace. With the blowout win, the Patriots improved to 11–3, and they clinched their 17th AFC East title in franchise history, 12th in the Brady–Belichick era, and 6th straight.
Week 16: at New York Jets
The Patriots offensive line was dominated by Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson early on. Tom Brady was in constant duress and was sacked four times in the first half and the Jets led 10–7 at the half. After each teams swapped field goals in the third quarter, the 4th quarter began with the Jets leading 13–10. Following a Geno Smith interception by Jamie Collins, the Patriots were able to take the lead with a Jonas Gray rushing TD. Tom Brady threw a seemingly costly interception late in the fourth but the defense held the Jets to a field goal and the Pats led 17–16. Late in the game, the Jets were driving down for a go-ahead field goal, but the kick was blocked by Vince Wilfork. On the next drive, the Patriots were able to run out the clock thanks to some critical 3rd down conversions by Danny Amendola and Brandon Bolden. With the win, the Patriots improved to 12–3, and they clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs after the Broncos' loss to the Bengals the following Monday night. This would wind up being Rex Ryan's last game against the Patriots as head coach of the New York Jets.
Week 17: vs. Buffalo Bills
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
With the AFC East division title and home field advantage wrapped up, the Patriots rested many players, including tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman in the final game of the regular season. Brady started the game for the first half and finished 8 of 16 for 80 yards. Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would finish the game 10 of 17 for 90 yards, as the Patriots would lose the game 17–9.
With the loss, the Patriots finished the regular season at 12–4, and is their first loss at home to the Bills since 2000, Brady's rookie season.
AFC Divisional Playoffs: vs. #6 Baltimore Ravens
The Patriots became the third team in NFL history to erase two 14 point deficits to win a game (the last to do it was the 2003 Chiefs) and the first to pull off the feat in a playoff game, rallying from down 14–0 and 28–14 to win 35–31. Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and ran in a fourth.
The Ravens drove down the field in less than 3 minutes on the game's opening possession to take a 7–0 lead, with Joe Flacco hitting rookie wide receiver Kamar Aiken on a 19-yard TD pass. After a Patriots three-and-out, Flacco drove the Ravens down the field once again, and capped the drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith, giving Baltimore a 14–0 lead. The Patriots countered on a drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Brady (in the process Brady tied Curtis Martin's club record for rushing touchdowns in the playoffs). Later in the second quarter, Brady and the Patriots tied the game at 14 with a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Danny Amendola.
But with just over a minute remaining in the first half, Brady was intercepted by Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith. With 21 seconds to go in the quarter, Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis was penalized for illegal contact on Steve Smith, which gave the Ravens a first down. With ten seconds remaining in the first half, Flacco hit tight end Owen Daniels for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 21–14 lead at halftime.
The Patriots received the ball to start the second half, but were forced to punt after a Brady pass intended for Gronkowski fell incomplete, with a controversial pass interference no-call on Ravens linebacker C. J. Mosley. The Ravens responded with a drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Ravens running back Justin Forsett, marking Flacco's fourth touchdown pass of the game and giving the Ravens the lead 28–14, their second 14-point lead of the game.
On the ensuing drive, Brady threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski to draw the Patriots within 7 points. On their next possession, Brady threw a lateral pass to Julian Edelman, who then proceeded to throw to a wide-open Danny Amendola for a 51-yard touchdown pass, in what was Edelman's first career passing touchdown.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Ravens drove inside the Patriots' 10-yard line. On third down, Owen Daniels dropped a pass in the end zone from Joe Flacco and the Ravens settled for a field goal. On the next drive, Brady led the Patriots down the field, with the drive culminating in a 23-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon LaFell with 5:21 to give the Patriots their first lead of the game. On the ensuing drive, the Ravens were able to move the ball to the Patriots' 37-yard line. On second and 5, with 1:47 to go, Flacco was intercepted in the end zone by safety Duron Harmon on a deep pass intended for Ravens receiver Torrey Smith.
After three Patriots kneel downs following the interception, the Ravens called their last timeout with 14 seconds to go, necessitating a Patriots punt. On the final play of the game Flacco's desperation heave was batted out of the end zone, and was batted down around the 5-yard line, sealing the Patriots' victory, and sending them to their fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game.
The game saw several skirmishes between Patriot and Raven players, and controversy ensued when Ravens coach John Harbaugh accused the Patriots of using a formation that made unclear which receivers were eligible or ineligible, causing confusion on the field. The Patriots used this formation to gain a total of over 40 yards on their game-winning drive. Brady dismissed Harbaugh's comments in his postgame press conference. The NFL confirmed that the substitutions and plays by the Patriots were legal. Similar formations were used by the Jaguars, the Lions, and the Bengals during the season.
AFC Championship: vs. #4 Indianapolis Colts
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
The Patriots clinched their 6th AFC title and Super Bowl appearance of the Brady-Belichick era in a dominating 45–7 victory over the rival Indianapolis Colts. Both teams went three-and-out on their first drives of the game. As the Patriots punted on their first drive, Colts return-man, Josh Cribbs muffed the kickoff reception as the ball bounced off his helmet and the Patriots recovered around the Colts 30. The Patriots then scored on running back LeGarrette Blount's 1–yard touchdown run. With 1:20 remaining in the first quarter, quarterback Tom Brady hit fullback James Develin for a 1-yard touchdown, giving the Pats the 14–0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Colts capitalized off of an interception in the second quarter as Brady forced a pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski that was picked off at the 1 yard line. The Colts only score of the game came on the ensuing drive, with running back Zurlon Tipton plunging one yard into the end zone late in the 2nd quarter to make the score 14–7. With 0:09 remaining, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski tacked on three points, giving the Patriots a 17–7 lead into halftime.
Though it was a fairly even ballgame after a half of play, the 2nd half was all Patriots. After receiving the kickoff, Brady hit left tackle Nate Solder, in as an eligible receiver for the play, for a 16-yard touchdown increasing their lead to 24–7. It was Solder's first career reception and touchdown. As the defense continued to shut down Colt quarterback Andrew Luck, Brady and the offense continued to roll. Brady hit Gronkowski, only his 2nd catch of the game, for a 5-yard touchdown to spread the lead to 31–7. The Colts next drive ended early as Darrelle Revis intercepted Luck, Revis' third career playoff interception. On the very next play, Blount took it 13 yards to the endzone for his 2nd touchdown of the night, cementing the fate of the game at 38–7.
In the 4th quarter, Luck threw his 2nd interception of the night, this one to linebacker Jamie Collins. With 10:05 remaining in the game, Blount took it in from 2 yards out, his 3rd score of the game and 7th against the Colts in two playoff game in two seasons, to close out the scoring at 45–7. Brady finished 23 of 35 for 226 yards 3 TDs and 1 interception. Blount was once again the star for the Pats against the Colts, carrying the ball 30 times, a Patriots postseason record, for 148 yard and 3 TDs. Continuing a trend of poor play versus the Patriots, Luck completed an abysmal 12 of 33 passes for 126 yards, no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. For his career, Luck fell to 0–4 against the Patriots, including two playoff losses. In those four games, the Patriots have outscored the Colts 189–73. Luck has thrown 9 career interceptions in three games played at Gillette Stadium.
Super Bowl XLIX: vs. Seattle Seahawks
- Date: February 1, 2015
- Game time: 6:30 p.m. EST/4:30 p.m. MST
- Game weather: 66 °F (19 °C), clear (retractable roof open)
- Game attendance: 70,288
- Referee: Bill Vinovich
- TV announcers (NBC): Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color commentator) and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter)
- Recap, Gamebook
The game would end up being a shoot-out that resulted in a 28–24 Patriots victory, the team's fourth Super Bowl championship. Both teams' first drives resulted in punts. However, toward the end of the first quarter the Patriots drove down the field, reaching the Seahawks 11 yard line. On third and goal facing a blitz, Tom Brady was intercepted by Jeremy Lane in the end zone, who returned it to the Seahawks 15. Lane suffered a broken wrist on the play and didn't return to the game.
Early in the 2nd quarter, the Patriots struck first blood as Tom Brady hit Brandon LaFell on an 11-yard touchdown pass. After trading punts, Seattle got their first points of the day, as Marshawn Lynch plunged in from 3 yards out to tie the game at 7. The Patriots scored retook the lead when Brady hit Rob Gronkowski on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds remaining in the half. The ensuing Seahawks possession began with a 19-yard Robert Turbin run. Following a 17-yard Russell Wilson scramble and a 23-yard Ricardo Lockette reception (with an additional 10 yards on a Kyle Arrington facemark penalty), Seattle had the ball at the Patriots' 11 yard line with 6 seconds remaining in the half. On the ensuing play, Wilson hit Chris Matthews for the touchdown, the first of the latter's career, tying the game at 14 going into halftime.
The Seahawks drove into the redzone on their opening drive of the second half, but the Patriots defense stiffened and held them to a field goal, giving the Seahawks their first lead at 17–14. On the Patriots first drive of the half, on 3rd and 9, Brady was intercepted by Bobby Wagner on a pass intended for Gronkowski. A few plays later, Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 3-yard TD pass, widening the Seahawks lead to 10. Baldwin was later fined for an obscene gesture after the play.
After a three and out, and facing their largest 4th quarter deficit in a Super Bow during the Brady-Belichick era, the Patriots looked finished, but a critical sack of Rob Ninkovich on third down forced the Seahawks to punt. Despite facing third-and-14 early on their drive, the Patriots were able to score when Brady hit Danny Amendola on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 7:55 remaining, trimming the deficit to 24–21. The Seahawks went three-and-out on their next drive, giving the Patriots the ball on their own 36 yard line with 6:52 remaining. Tom Brady completed all of his eight pass attempts on the drive, culminating in a 3-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 2:02 left to retake the lead, Brady's fourth touchdown pass of the evening.
However, Seattle had 2 minutes and a full complement of timeouts at their disposal. On the first play of the ensuing Seahawk possession, Russell Wilson hit Marshawn Lynch on a 31-yard catch-and-run into Patriots territory. Four plays later, on 1st down at the Patriots' 38 with 1:13 remaining, Jermaine Kearse caught a 33-yard pass that bounced off of his body multiple times, which has been compared to the David Tyree helmet catch (Which also came against the Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium). The Seahawks now had the ball at the Patriots' 5 yard line. Marshawn Lynch carried the ball to the 1 yard line on the next play, setting up 2nd and goal at the 1 yard line. On the next play, Russell Wilson's pass, intended for Ricardo Lockette, was intercepted by undrafted free-agent rookie Malcolm Bulter on the goal line with 20 seconds remaining. Pete Carroll's play call was heavily scrutinized following the loss. After taking over possession at their own 1 yard line, the Patriots induced an offsides penalty by Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett, allowing them to kneel the ball down and run out the clock.
On the kneeldown, brawl broke out between the two teams, resulting in the ejection of Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, and fines against Bennett, Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui. The Patriots took one more knee, killing the clock, winning their fourth Super Bowl Championship, and their first since Super Bowl XXXIX, ten years earlier.
Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP (his third, tying Joe Montana for most all time) after completing 37 of 50 passes for 328 yards, with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Brady was 13 of 15 for 124 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs and a 140.7 passer rating with a QBR of 97.0 in the 4th quarter. Brady tied Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Super Bowl victories by a quarterback, with four. Russell Wilson was 12 of 21 for 247 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT and added 39 yards on 3 carries. Julian Edelman had 9 catches for 109 yards and 1 touchdown. Rob Gronkowski had 6 catches for 68 yards and 1 touchdown. Shane Vereen led all players in receptions, with 11 catches for 64 yards, while Seattle counterpart Marshawn Lynch had 102 yards on 24 carries and 1 touchdown. Receiver Danny Amendola had 5 catches for 48 yards and 1 touchdown.
|(1) New England Patriots||12||4||0||.750||4–2||9–3||468||313||L1|
|New York Jets||4||12||0||.250||1–5||4–8||283||401||W1|
|1||New England Patriots||East||12||4||0||.750||4–2||9–3||468||313||155||L1|
|Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|8||Kansas City Chiefs||West||9||7||0||.563||3–3||7–5||353||281||72||W1|
|9||San Diego Chargers||West||9||7||0||.563||2–4||6–6||348||348||0||L1|
|13||New York Jets||East||4||12||0||.250||1–5||4–8||283||401||–118||W1|
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- Official website
- 2014 New England Patriots season at ESPN
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