Game notes: Brady, Gronk set records in 36-20 victory


Game notes: Brady, Gronk set records in 36-20 victory

Notes from the Patriots' 36-20 victory over the Saints on Thursday:

-- Tom Brady's three-touchdown/no-interception game was the 52nd time in his career he threw for three or more TDs with no picks, setting an NFL record, He had been tied with Peyton Manning at 51.


-- Brady joined Warren Moon as the only QBs age 40 or older in NFL history to pass for at least 400 yards and 3 TDs in a game.

-- All of Brady's TD passes came in the first quarter, the first time in his career he threw for three touchdowns in the opening quarter.

-- Brady threw for 447 yards, the third-highest single-game total of his career and his 10th 400-plus-passing-yard game. It was also his second career game with 300 yards passing in a first half.

-- Rob Gronkowski had 116 receving yards and moved into a second-place tie with Kellen Winslow for most 100-yard-receiving games by a tight end. Tony Gonzalez is first, with 31.

-- Gronkowski's 53-yard TD reception tied for the second-longest catch of his career -- his longest was a 76-yarder against the Giants -- and was his fourth career 50-or-plus-yard touchdown.


Patriots-Steelers inactives: Haden out for Pittsburgh


Patriots-Steelers inactives: Haden out for Pittsburgh

The Patriots have one of their top defenders back in action in Pittsburgh. 

Trey Flowers, who injured his ribs in Week 12 against the Dolphins, will be in uniform against the Steelers. The Patriots have been considerably thinned on the edge in recent weeks so having Flowers back -- both to rush the passer and set the edge against the run -- should be key for Bill Belichick's defense. 

Also in action for the Patriots are Stephon Gilmore (ankle), David Harris (ankle), Eric Lee (ankle), Matthew Slater (hamstring), LaAdrian Waddle (ankle) and Deatrich Wise (foot). All came into the game listed as questionable but will be available. 

There are few surprises on the Patriots inactive list as Chris Hogan's status was reported earlier in the day by ESPN. We broke down how things could look without Hogan could look like right here

On the Steelers' end of things, their defense will be forced to go another week without Joe Haden, who is still recovering from a broken leg suffered earlier this season. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin seemed optimistic earlier this week that Haden could return, but instead he'll rely on corners Artie Burns, Cam Sutton and Coty Sensabaugh on the outside. 

With both Haden and linebacker Ryan Shazier unavailable, the Steelers are without two of their best matchup players, meaning their desire to play more man-to-man defense -- a desire they professed all the way back in the spring -- may not be in the offing. 

Meanwhile, Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) will be in uniform, complicating the matchups for the Patriots secondary. Gilmore could spend time on Smith-Schuster or Martavis Bryant if he's not deployed on Antonio Brown. That would likely leave Eric Rowe -- whose size makes him a logical match for Smith-Schuster or Bryant -- on whoever's left.

The Patriots-Steelers inactive lists:

DL Alan Branch
OL Cole Croston
RB Mike Gillislee
DL Geneo Grissom
WR Chris Hogan
S Brandon King
LB Kyle Van Noy

QB Joshua Dobbs
DT Daniel McCullers
TE Vance McDonald
OT Matt Feiler
CB Joe Haden
\WR Justin Hunter
S J.J. Wilcox