Patriots

Game notes: Record and near-records from Pats' 21-13 victory

Game notes: Record and near-records from Pats' 21-13 victory

FOXBORO -- Postgame notes from the Patriots' 21-13 victory over the Chargers, courtesy of the New England P.R. department:

NOT HALF BAD
The Patriots are now 6-2 this season, the 16th time in franchise history they've started a season with a record of 6-2 or better. It's also the fifth year in a row they've done so. The seasons with a 6-2 or better start: 1974, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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RARITY
When the Patriots recorded a safety by tackling Travis Benjamin in the end zone, it was the first time in an NFL game since 2003 that a safety was recorded during a punt return. In addition, Patriots special teams had not recorded a safety since Dec. 9, 1979, when the Jets fumbled a snap on a punt out of the end zone.

LAST-MINUTE EFFICIENCY
The Patriots scored in the final minute of the first half for the fifth straight game, and for the sixth time in eight games this season. Three of the scores have been touchdowns and three have been field goals, including today's (36-yard kick by Steven Gostkowski with 24 seconds left).

A WINNING STRATEGY
Tom Brady threw for 333 yards, his fifth 300-yard game of 2017 and the 81st of his career. The Pats are 67-14 when Brady throws for 300 or more yards.

HISTORIC PACE I
Brady has 2,541 yards passing through the first eight games and is on pace to finish with 5,082 yards. Brady owns one of the nine 5,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history and can join Drew Brees (5) as the only player with more than one 5,000-yard season. 

HISTORIC PACE II
James White had five receptions for 85 yards and now has 43 receptions for the year. He's on pace to finish the season with 86 receptions, which would break the franchise record for pass receptions by a running back in a single season (77, by Tony Collins in 1986).

HISTORIC PACE III
Rob Gronkowski now has 509 receiving yards and is on pace to finish the year with 1,018 yards. It would be his fourth 1,000-yard season and he would join Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten as the only NFL tight ends with four 1,000-yard seasons. 

MOVING UP THE LIST I
Brady and Gronkowski have now connected for 72 touchdown passes, tying them with Drew Brees/Marques Colston for fifth place on the all-time NFL list of quarterback/receiver touchdowns. Dan Marino and Mark Clayton are in fourth, with 79. The record is 112, by Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.

MOVING UP THE LIST II
Gronkowski now has 444 career points, enabling him to pass Tony Franklin (442) and move into fifth place on the Patriots' all-time scoring list. John Smith is next, with 692. The all-time is Gostkowski, with 1,537.

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Report: Bortles receives 3 year, $54m contract extension

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Report: Bortles receives 3 year, $54m contract extension

The Jaguars had plenty of talent last season, especially on defense.

But question marks remained due to some of their offensive players.

Could Blake Bortles play well enough to support the strong play of the Jacksonville defense?

He delivered this past season and helped bring the team to the AFC Championship. 

Now he will be in Jacksonville for several years to come.

According to a report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Bortles and the Jags have agreed to a new 3-year contract worth $54m. 

Adam Schefter of ESPN confirmed the extension, adding that Bortles can earn up to $66.5m with incentives. The contract includes $26.5m guaranteed. 

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Anyone care to interpret this Rob Gronkowski tweet?

Anyone care to interpret this Rob Gronkowski tweet?

As he contemplates retirement to either become a wrestler or an action movie hero, Rob Gronkowski appears to be contemplating more than that.

OK, that's great. So, are you coming back to catch to touchdown passes from Tom Brady or not? 

Not quite as easy to translate as Gronk's famous "pay cut" tweet from spring 2016, is it?

The tweet doesn't shed much light on it and whether the retirement talk is for real or a "contract ploy", the Gronk question looms over the Patriots' offseason as much as the Malcolm Butler mystery. It's actually more impactful since Butler's days in Foxboro are over. Are Gronk's?

As NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it this week: 

They can’t just sit with their hands folded in their laps and wait until Gronk gets around to deciding. They need to know is he in or is he out? Or if he’s completely ambivalent, at which point, would trading him be a horrific idea?

"...your destiny will be not just be reached, it will just be starting." Hmmm. 

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