Patriots Notes: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Sometimes statistics don't mean much in terms of wins and losses, and you could say that in the Patriots case and be both right and wrong. With a lackluster performance last week, the Patriots are one game away from another division title, but how they're getting there can sometimes be good, sometimes bad, and occasionally very ugly.

The Good

PK Stephen Gostkowski hit on all four of his field goal attempts in the win over Houston (36,32,31,21). The rookie fourth-round pick has now hit on 17-of-21 field goal attempts this season and hasn't missed in the last six games.

KR Ellis Hobbs recorded his first career kickoff return for a touchdown with a 93-yard third quarter score against Houston. The big play came on just Hobbs second return of the year, a week after recording a 51-yard kick return in the loss in Miami. It was also New England's first defensive or special teams score of the year, becoming the last NFL team to score a touchdown in the latter two phases of the game in 2006.

OLB Tully Banta-Cain recorded his second multi-sack game of the season and third of his career with a pair of sacks against David Carr and the Texans on Sunday. The fourth-year linebacker now ranks tied for third on the Patriots with 5.5 sacks for the season.

CB Asante Samuel recorded his NFL-best eighth interception of the season in the win over the Texans. The free-agent-to-be's eight picks are the most by a New England player since Ty Law recorded nine interceptions in 1998.

DL Mike Wright started at nose tackle against Houston in place of injured starter Vince Wilfork. Wright responded by recording four tackles and his first career sack

The Bad or rather "Not so good"

WR Reche Caldwell paced the Patriots passing attack with a game-high six receptions for just 25 yards against Houston. With the six catches, Caldwell moved past an injured Benjamin Watson for the team lead in receptions with 53 catches for 611 yards and three scores on the season.

WR Jabar Gaffney recorded his first touchdown reception in a New England uniform with a 6-yard score in the win over Houston. The first-year Patriots now has seven-receptions for 107 yards and one score in nine games since joining the team on Oct. 9. Gaffney dropped an almost sure touchdown earlier in the game.

TE David Thomas saw his most significant action of the year against Houston in place of an injured Benjamin Watson. The rookie third-round pick responded with a career-high three catches for 24 yards. He now has six catches for 76 yards on the season.

RB Corey Dillon notched just his second 20-carry game of the season in the win over Houston, carrying 20 times for 61 yards (3.1 avg.) with rookie Laurence Maroney missing his second straight game with torn rib cartilage. For the season Dillon leads New England with 177 carries for 715 yards (4.0 avg.) and 10 rushing touchdowns.

The Ugly

QB Tom Brady's 109 passing yards in cruising to victory over the Texans pushed him over the 3,000-yard plateau for the season (3,055), marking the fifth-straight year he's surpassed the number. His 187 yards passing over the last two week's -- 78 in the shutout loss in Miami and 109 in the blowout win over Houston - is the lowest two-game total of Brady's career as a starter in New England.


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