Notes: Pats win again for 'lubed up' home crowd


Notes: Pats win again for 'lubed up' home crowd

Below are a collection of notes from the Patriots-Chargers game, courtesy of the Patriots media relations staff.

The Patriots have now won 15 of their past 17 home openers, including a perfect 10-0 record at Gillette Stadium since its opening in 2002. The 10 consecutive wins by the Patriots in home openers is the longest streak in the NFL.

With their win over San Diego, the Patriots have now won 17 straight regular season home games dating back to a 47-7 win over Arizona on Dec. 21, 2008. The Patriots own an overall record of 61-12 (.836) at Gillette Stadium in regular season games. Since their state-of-the-art facility opened at the beginning of the 2002 season, the Patriots own the NFLs best record at home.

BRADY HAS 940 PASSING YARDS THROUGH TWO GAMESTom Brady threw for 423 yards on 31-of-40 passing (77.5 percent) with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Combined with his career-high and franchise-record 517 passing yards last week at Miami, Brady has totaled 940 yards in the last two games. Bradys aggregate total of 940 yards in a two-game span marks the highest two-game yardage total of his career, topping the 763 total yards he had in back-to-back games on Sept. 22, 2002 vs. Kansas City (410) and Sept. 29, 2002 at San Diego (353). Bradys 940 yards are a franchise record for a two-game span, besting Matt Cassels total of 815 passing yards from Nov. 13 and 23, 2008.

Last Monday in Miami, Brady threw for 517 yards, becoming one of 11 passers in NFL history to break the 500-yard mark. Today against San Diego, Brady became the first of those 11 500-yard passers to follow up his 500-yard performance by throwing for 400 or more yards. Before today, only Drew Brees (2006) had followed-up a 500-yard game with 300 or more passing yards.

Tom Brady (who finished todays game with 35,694 career passing yards) moved past Jim Kelly (35,467) into 17th place on the NFLs all-time passing list. Drew Brees ranks 16th on the NFLs all-time list with 35,955 career yards (including todays games).

With the win over San Diego, the Patriots have now won 10 straight regular season games dating back to Nov. 14, 2010. Bill Belichick has become the second coach in NFL history with three separate 10-game win streaks, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula who had four 10-game win streaks. Belichicks Patriots won 21 consecutive games from 2006-08 and 18 consecutive games from 2003-04. Shula led the Baltimore Colts to 11 straight wins in 1964 and posted two 10-game win streaks with the Miami Dolphins (16 from 1971-73; 10 in 1973; 16 in 1983-84).

Wes Welker extended his streak to 63 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots, tying TE Ben Coates for the franchise record. Welker has an overall streak of 80 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 67 games with the Patriots, including four postseason games. The last time that Welker did not catch a pass in a game was December 24, 2005 when he was with Miami.

This week marks the second straight week the Patriots have had three players with seven or more receptions. Today, Deion Branch (8), Wes Welker (7), and Aaron Hernandez (7) all eclipsed the 7-catch mark. Last week, Welker (8), Branch (7), and Hernandez (7) also accomplished the feat.Prior to last week, the last time New England had three players with seven or more catches in the same game was on Nov. 13, 2008, when Benjamin Watson (8), Wes Welker (7), and Jabar Gaffney (7) turned the trick.

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.

Garoppolo's mom keeps him apprised of trade rumors: 'She's all over that stuff'

Garoppolo's mom keeps him apprised of trade rumors: 'She's all over that stuff'

Jimmy Garoppolo can't help but hear trade rumors that involve his name. He heard all about them during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Now his mom's keeping him up to date. 

"My mom loves telling me the news updates," Garoppolo told ESPN's Adam Schefter, "so she’s all over that stuff, but it’s been working really well . . . 

"I’m telling you, she could be your assistant. She’s all over the place. Her and my dad on Twitter and stuff like that. I don’t even think they know how to tweet, but they always have something going on . . .

"They know what to hit me with and what to keep quiet. They know me so well that they know what I’d like to hear and what I don’t need to hear. There’s a couple slip-ups here and there, I’m not going to lie to you, but they’re just so excited about it. It’s an exciting time, and they’re loving it."

Garoppolo tried his best to deflect questions about his future as he prepared for Super Bowl LI, but he could only insulate himself so much from those conversations. After six quarters of well-played football, he's chummed the waters for quarterback-starved franchises. As the draft nears, offers are expected to hit the Gillette Stadium offices, and it will be up to Bill Belichick and his staff to determine whether they should part ways with Tom Brady's backup. 

Schefter asked Garoppolo about one team in particular that could be interested: the Chicago Bears. Their general manager Ryan Pace is an Eastern Illinois alum, like Garoppolo, and Garoppolo is a Chicago-area kid. 

"I get asked about [that possibility] all the time from my friends and family back in Chicago," Garoppolo said. "They’re good reporters, my family. But I keep telling them I really don’t know how it would feel until . . . if it was to happen, I wouldn’t know how I’d feel until it did, you know? So it’s kind of one of those things, it’s hard to say right now."

Garoppolo added: "For the most part I am just trying to stay level-headed, trying not to think about it, over think it too much because at the end of the day I am still under contract. It is not my decision if I get traded or if I don’t, so I am just trying to take it all in stride. At the end of the day, you just have to enjoy it. The NFL, it is a hard place to be, hard place to succeed and when you get an opportunity you have to go and take advantage of it."

The idea of getting an opportunity, though, is an enticing one. Before the 2016 season, Garoppolo was very open about how he looked forward to his opportunity to start with Brady suspended for the first four weeks of the season. And with Schefter, he acknowledged that there are times when it's hard not to be impatient when you're the guy behind the guy.

"There’s times," Garoppolo said. "Obviously the kickoff happens and you are ready to roll. The juices get flowing again. You get the adrenaline, the butterflies. It’s football, you have to love the atmosphere . . . 

"We all play the game. We all want to be out there on the field and get an opportunity to play. I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there is probably the best way to put it. We’re competitors at the end of the day. We want to be out there, I want to be out there competing and playing with my teammates.”