Patriots-Bills pregame notes

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Patriots-Bills pregame notes

Some quick hits prior to the New England-Buffalo game:

PATRIOTS VS. BILLSPatriots lead series, 61-40-1

HOME (32-19)
-- At Boston University: 2-1
-- At Fenway Park: 3-3
-- At Boston College: 1-0
-- At Harvard Stadium: 0-1
At Foxboro:
-- As Schaefer Stadium: 4-7
-- As Sullivan Stadium: 7-1
-- As Foxboro Stadium: 6-6
-- At Gillette Stadium: 9-0

ROAD (29-21-1)
-- At War Memorial Stadium: 7-6-1
At Orchard Park:
-- As Rich Stadium: 12-12
-- As Bills Stadium: 0-1
-- As Ralph Wilson Stadium: 10-2

The Patriots' 15-game winning streak against Buffalo is the third-longest by one team against an opponent in NFL history.

The Patriots current streak of 10 straight games with 30 or more points is second in NFL history to the 14 straight games by the St. Louis Rams (1999-2000). Following Sundays 35-21 win, the Patriots are now 63-2 when scoring 30 or more points under Bill Belichick.

Tom Brady needs to throw at least one touchdown pass in each of the next two games to break his own team record of 19 straight games with at least one touchdown pass.

If Wes Welker catches a pass today, he will set the Patriots' franchise record of consecutive games with a pass reception. He and Ben Coates are currently tied at 15.

With the win over San Diego last Sunday, 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).

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

FOXBORO – Griff Whalen was at the epicenter of one of the stupidest, funniest, most “did that just happen?!” plays in NFL history.

So indescribable it never even really earned a name, it was the fourth-down gadget play the Colts tried to run against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in the first meeting between the teams after Indy ran to the principal’s office to start Deflategate. 

Whalen was the center on that play (I tried to call it “Fourth-and-Wrong” but it didn’t take) and the millisecond between him snapping the ball and the three players processing that the ball had indeed been snapped is perhaps my favorite moment of the past several seasons. 

Whalen is a Patriot now, brought in this week in the wake of Danny Amendola’s knee injury presumably to fill Amendola’s role as a punt returner and wideout. The Colts released him last January, the Dolphins picked him up and cut him at the end of training camp and the Chargers had him on their roster from mid-September until releasing him last month after eight games, two catches and 22 yards. He returned kickoffs for San Diego but no punts since 2015.

The primary area of need for the Patriots is on punt returns. Rookie Cyrus Jones’ transition to appearing comfortable remains glacially slow. It was Jones’ muff last week that brought on Amendola in relief. When Amendola hurt his ankle on a late-game return, the Patriots were forced to decide between Jones, wideout Julian Edelman (who doesn’t need extra work) and making a move.

Whalen is a move they made.

The slight and baby-faced Whalen indicated he had fielded some punts in practice, saying it went, “Fine.” Punt returns are something he’s done “since I was a kid.”

His first impression of the team was, "A lot of what I expected to see. A lot of detail. A lot of effort in practice. Good coaching all-around. I am excited to be here. I was excited to come into a good team that I’d gone against a few times. Hopefully come in and help out the team with whatever I can.”

I asked Whalen if he saw much of the commentary or creativity last year’s failed play spawned.

“I wasn’t paying too much attention,” he said. “When it’s during the season guys are pretty locked in on what they’re doing inside the building. But I heard more about it later on afterwards.”

Asked if he’d heard anything about the play since being here, Whalen replied, “I haven’t. Kinda was [expecting it].”

The Patriots will be hoping Whalen remains as productive for them on fourth down this year as he was in 2015.

 

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

CBS interviewed Patriots coach Bill Belichick and 1960 Heisman winner Joe Bellino from Navy as part of its Army-Navy Game coverage Saturday.

Belichick's father, Steve, was an assistant coach at Navy when Bellino played there, and little Bill, then 7, took it all in. So much so, that 57 years later, Belichick can still diagram the 27 F Trap play that his dad used to drew up in the 1959 season for Bellino.

More from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk here.