New England Patriots TEAM NOTES Patriots and Bills meet for third time in 41 days. Kickoff temperature of 7 degree was third coldest game in team history. Devin McCourty makes 24th postseason start, tied for fourth-most in NFL history. Matthew Slater has the most postseason special teams tackles in team history and the most in the postseason since 1994 when the statistic was first tracked. Mac Jones is the first Patriots rookie QB to make a start in the postseason.
PATRIOTS AND BILLS MEET FOR THE THIRD TIME IN 41 DAYS
The Patriots and Bills met for the third time in 41 days with games at Buffalo on Dec. 6 and in New England on Dec. 26, in addition to the Wild Card game. The last time opposing teams played three games against each other within a 45-day span was the 2012 Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, who met three time in 35 days (Dec. 2, Dec. 30 and then on Jan. 5).
THIRD COLDEST GAME IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
The game time temperature at kickoff was 7 degrees with a wind chill of -5. It is the third-coldest game in team history. The Patriots divisional playoff game vs Tennessee on Jan. 10, 2004 was played in 4 degrees with a wind chill of -10 and the game at Pittsburgh on Jan. 12, 1989 was 5 degrees with a wind chill of -12.
MCCOURTY IS TIED FOR FOURTH-MOST POSTSEASON STARTS IN NFL HISTORY
Devin McCourty tied Brett Favre and Gene Upshaw for the fourth-most postseason starts with 24.
MOST POSTSEASON STARTS IN NFL HISTORY
Player Team/s Starts
Tom Brady NE/TB 45
Jerry Rice SF/OAK/SEA 29
Peyton Manning IND/DEN 27
Devin McCourty New England 24
Brett Favre GB/MIN 24
Gene Upshaw Oakland 24
Joe Montana SF/KC 23
Larry Cole Dallas 23
SLATER EXTENDS HIS SPECIAL TEAMS LEAD
Matthew Slater added two special teams tackles and now has 23 total postseason special teams tackles, the most postseason special teams tackles since the statistic was tracked beginning in 1994.
PATRIOTS ALL-TIME LEADING POSTSEASON SPECIAL TEAMS TACKLES
Player Special Teams Tackles
Matthew Slater 23
Larry Izzo 17
Eric Alexander 13
Matt Chatham 13
Je'Rod Cherry 12
MOST POSTSEASON SPECIAL TEAMS TACKLES IN NFL HISTORY (SINCE 1994)
Player Special Teams Tackles
Matthew Slater 23
Larry Izzo 21
Brendon Ayanbadejo 16
Mark Pike 16
JONES BECOMES FIRST PATRIOTS ROOKIE QUARTERBACK TO MAKE A START IN THE POSTSEASON
QB Mac Jones became the first rookie quarterback in New England history to make a start in the postseason.
JONES HAS LONGEST RUN OF HIS CAREER
Jones had a 16-yard run in the first quarter, the longest run of his career. His previous best was a 13-yard run vs. the New York Jets on Oct. 24.
DEATRICH WISE HAS FIRST CAREER BLOCKED PAT
DL Deatrich Wise had his first career blocked kick on an extra point attempt in the second quarter. It was the first blocked kick by the Patriots in 2021. The last time the Patriots blocked a PAT was by Justin Bethel last year vs. San Francisco (10/25/20).
FOLK CONNECTS ON A 44-YARD FIELD GOAL
K Nick Folk connected on a 44-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter. He has connected on 56 straight field goals under 50 yards, including the postseason. Folk's last miss from inside the 50-yard line was a 45-yard field goal attempt in the 2020 season-opener vs. Miami on Sept. 13.
KENDRICK BOURNE HAD A 14-YARD RUN IN THE THIRD QUARTER
WR Kendrick Bourne had a 14-yard run in the third quarter. He had six runs of 10 yards or more during the regular season. Prior to the 2021 season, Bourne had never had an NFL rushing attempt.
BOURNE HAD TWO RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS
Bourne had his first postseason two-touchdown performance with 3-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and a 4-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Overall, it is his third two-touchdown game and second of the 2021 season. He had two touchdowns vs. Tennessee on Nov. 28, 2021.
LINEUP NOTES LB Dont'a Hightower returned to the lineup after missing the regular-season finale. DB Myles Byrant returned to action after missing the regular-season finale. OL Justin Herron started at left tackle in place of Isaiah Wynn, who was inactive due to an injury. Herron started four games at left tackle as a rookie in 2020 and made two starts at left tackle during the 2021 season. DB Joejuan Williams made his second NFL start when he started at cornerback in place of Jalen Mills. Williams first NFL start was at Houston on Oct. 10 when Mills was inactive due to an injury. DL Christian Barmore, DB De'Vante Bausby, DB Myles Bryant, DB Kyle Dugger, DL Daniel Ekuale, DL Davon Godchaux, RB Damien Harris, OL Justin Herron, FB Jakob Johnson, QB Mac Jones, WR Jakobi Meyers, WR Gunner Olszewski, OL Mike Onwenu, DB D'Angelo Ross, RB Rhamondre Stevenson, LB Jahlani Tavai and LB Josh Uche made their postseason debuts.