- 2004 New England Patriots season
team = New England Patriots
year = 2004
record = 14-2
division_place = 1st
playoffs = Won Divisional Playoffs (Colts) 20-3
Won Conference Championship (Steelers) 41-27
Super Bowl XXXIX(Eagles) 24-21
pro bowlers = 6
New England Patriotsseason was the 35th season for the team in the National Football Leagueand 45th season overall. The Patriots finished the regular season 14-2, matching their record of 2003, when the team finished in first place in the AFC Eastand won Super Bowl XXXVIII. Winning their first six games of the season, the Patriots set the NFL record for consecutive regular season victories (18), which was later broken by the 2006-2007 Patriots, and consecutive regular season and playoff victories (21) before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelerson October 31. With the second seed in the AFC playoffs, the Patriots advanced to and won Super Bowl XXXIX, becoming only the second NFL team in history to win three Super Bowls in four years.
2004 NFL Draft
Final divisional standings
Divisional Round vs. Indianapolis Colts
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts"
*Game time: 4:30 p.m. EST
*Game weather: convert|25|°F|°C, cloudy, snow
*TV announcers (CBS):
Jim Nantz(play-by-play), Phil Simms(color commentator), and Bonnie Bernstein(sideline reporter)
*Game attendance: 68,756
In a snowstorm, the Patriots dismantled the league's highest scoring team by forcing three turnovers and holding them to just 276 yards and 3 points, their lowest point total since their opening game of the 2003 season. Peyton Manning suffered his seventh loss in Foxborough, even though he had more yards passing than Brady did in the game. The Patriots limited Manning to 238 passing yards with 1 interception and no touchdowns, and Edgerrin James to just 39 rushing yards. The Patriots also held possession of the ball for 37:43, including 21:26 in the second half and recording three long scoring drives that each took over 7 minutes off the clock. New England running back
Corey Dillon, playing in his first career playoff game after suffering through 7 losing seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, rushed for 144 yards and caught 5 passes for 17 yards.
Both teams defenses dominated early, as the first five possessions of the game ended in punts. But after that, the Patriots put together a 16-play, 78 yards scoring drive that took 9:07 off the clock. They lost a touchdown when Dillons' 1-yard score was overturned by a penalty, but
Adam Vinatierikicked a 24-yard field goal to give them a 3-0 lead. The next time New England got the ball, a 42-yard run by Dillon set up another Vinatieri field goal, increasing the Patriots lead to 6-0. The Colts responded with a drive to New England's 39-yard line, but linebacker Tedy Bruschiended it by forcing and recovering a fumble from running back Dominic Rhodes. After a Patriots punt, Manning led the Colts 67 yards to a Mike Vanderjagtfield goal, cutting the score to 6-3 going into halftime.
But the Patriots dominated the second half, holding the ball for nearly all the time in regulation with two long drives. After an echange of punts, they drove 87 yards in 15 plays on a drive that consumed 8:16 and ended with Brady's 5-yard touchdown pass to
David Givens. At the end of the Colts next drive, Hunter Smith's 54-yard punt pinned New England back at their own 6-yard line. But it didn't stop them. The Patriots stormed down the field on a 14-play, 94-yard drive that ate up another 7:24. Dillon rushed for 35 yards and caught a pass for 9 on the drive, including a 27-yard run on third down and 8, while Brady finished it with a 1-yard touchdown run, gving the Patriots a 20-3 lead with just over 7 minutes left in the game. Then two plays after the ensuing kickoff, safety Rodney Harrisonstripped the ball from Reggie Wayneand Bruschi recovered it, allowing his team to take more time off the clock. Indianapolis responded with a drive to the Patriots 20-yard line, but Harrison intercepted Manning's pass in the end zone with 10 seconds left.
**NE - field goal Vinatieri 24 NE 3-0
**NE - field goal Vinatieri 31 NE 6-0
**IND - field goal Vanderjagt 23 NE 6-3
**NE - Givens 5 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick) NE 13-3
**NE - Brady 1 run (Vinatieri kick) NE 20-3
AFC Championship at Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"
*Game time: 6:30 p.m. EST
*Game weather: convert|11|°F|°C, fair
*TV announcers (CBS): Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Phil Simms (color commentator), Bonnie Bernstein and
Armen Keteyian(sideline reporters)
*Game attendance: 65,242
The game-time temperature of convert|11|°F|°C made it the second-coldest game ever in Pittsburgh and the coldest ever in Steel City playoff annals. However, it was the Patriots that handed
Ben Roethlisbergerhis first loss as a starter after a 14-game winning streak, the longest by a rookie quarterback in NFL history, as the Steelers became the second NFL team ever to record a 15-1 record and fail to reach the Super Bowl. The Patriots converted four Pittsburgh turnovers into 24 points, while committing no turnovers themselves. The Patriots' win also prevented an all- PennsylvaniaSuper Bowl from being played.
The Steelers never recovered from their poor performance in the first quarter. Patriots defensive back Eugene Wilson intercepted Roethlisberger's first pass of the game on his own 48-yard line, setting up
Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Pittsburgh responded with a drive to the Patriots 39-yard line. But then running back Jerome Bettislost a fumble while being tackled by Rosevelt Colvinand linebacker Mike Vrabelrecovered it. On the next play, Tom Bradythrew a 60-yard touchdown pass to receiver Deion Branch.
With 1:28 left in the first quarter, the Steelers cut their deficit to 10-3 with
Jeff Reed's 23-yard field goal. But after an exchange of punts, Branch caught a 45-yard reception on Pittsburgh's 14-yard line. Two plays later, Brady threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to David Givens. Then on the Steelers ensuing drive, safety Rodney Harrisonintercepted a pass from Roethlisberger and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown, giving the Patriots a 24-3 halftime lead.
In the second half, the teams scored three consecutive touchdowns. New England was forced to punt on the opening drive of the third quarter, and
Antwaan Randle Elreturned the ball 9 yards to the Steelers 44-yard line. Then on the Steelers ensuing possession, he caught two passes for 46 yards as they drove 56 yards in five plays. Bettis finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, cutting their deficit to 24-10. New England responded by moving the ball 69 yards in seven plays and scoring with Corey Dillon's 25-yard touchdown run. But Pittsburgh stormed right back, driving 60 yards in ten plays and scoring with Roethlisberger's 30-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward. Then after forcing a punt, Randle El returned the ball 22 yards to the Steelers 49-yard line. On their ensuing drive, Ward's 26-yard reception on the last play of the third quarter set up Reed's second field goal, making the score 31-20 with 13:32 left in the game.
However, the Patriots took over the rest of the quarter. They responded with a 49-yard drive that took 5:26 off the clock and ended with Vinatieri's 31-yard field goal. Then two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Wilson intercepted another pass from Roethlisberger at New England's 45-yard line. The Patriots subsequently marched down the field on another long scoring drive, taking 5:06 off the clock. Branch capped it off with a 23-yard touchdown run on a reverse play, giving the Patriots a 41-20 lead. The Steelers responded with Roethlisberger's 7-yard touchdown pass to
Plaxico Burresson their next drive, but by then there was only 1:31 left in the game.
Brady completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dillon rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown. Branch caught 4 passes for 116 yards, rushed for 37 yards, and scored two touchdowns. Roethlisberger threw for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns, and rushed for 45 yards, but was intercepted 3 times. Ward caught 5 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
**NE - field goal Vinatieri 48 NE 3-0
**NE - Branch 60 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick) NE 10-0
**PIT - field goal Reed 43 NE 10-3
**NE - Givens 9 pass from Brady (Vinatieri kick) NE 17-3
**NE - Harrison 87 interception return (Vinatieri kick) NE 24-3
**PIT - Bettis 5 run (Reed kick) NE 24-10
**NE - Dillon 25 run (Vinatieri kick) NE 31-10
**PIT - Ward 30 pass from Roethlisberger (Reed kick) NE 31-17
**PIT - field goal Reed 20 NE 31-20
**NE - field goal Vinatieri 31 NE 34-20
**NE - Branch 23 run (Vinatieri kick) NE 41-20
**PIT - Burress 7 pass from Roethlisberger (Reed kick) NE 41-27
uper Bowl XXXIX at Philadelphia Eagles
HT=21"at ALLTEL Stadium,
*Game time: 6:30 p.m. EST
*Game weather: convert|59|°F|°C, clear
*TV announcers (FOX):
Joe Buck(play-by-play), Troy Aikman(color commentator), Pam Oliver(sideline reporter), and Chris Myers(sideline reporter)
*Game attendance: 78,125
On the first drive of the game, Eagles quarterback
Donovan McNabbfumbled while being sacked by New England linebacker Willie McGinest, and the Patriots recovered the ball at Philadelphia's 34 yard line. Fortunately for the Eagles, coach Andy Reid's instant replaychallenge overruled the fumble; officials ruled that McNabb had been down by contact before the ball came out of his hands. Later in the quarter after each team had punted twice, McNabb completed a 30-yard pass to Terrell Owens, with a roughing the passer penalty adding 9 yards, moving the ball inside the Patriots 20 yard line. However, linebacker Mike Vrabelsacked McNabb for a 16-yard loss on the next play. On the following play, the Eagles once again appeared to turn the ball over: McNabb's pass was intercepted in the end zone by Patriots defensive back Asante Samuel, but it was nullified by an illegal contact penalty on linebacker Roman Phifer, moving the ball back inside the 20 and giving the Eagles a first down. However, McNabb's second chance was wasted as he threw an interception to safety Rodney Harrisonon the next play.
The Eagles defense then forced New England to a
three-and-outon their ensuing possession, and Philadelphia got great field position by receiving the punt at the Patriots 45 yard line. But once again, they gave up another turnover: tight end L.J. Smithlost a fumble while being tackled by defensive back Randall Gay, and Samuel recovered the ball at the 38.
The Eagles defense once again forced New England to punt, and got the ball back at their own 19 yard line. Aided by a pair of completions from McNabb to receiver
Todd Pinkstonfor gains of 17 and 40 yards, the Eagles drove 81 yards in 9 plays and scored on McNabb's 6-yard touchdown pass to Smith, taking a 7–0 lead with 9:55 left in the second quarter. It was the first time New England trailed during the entire postseason. On their ensuing drive, the Patriots moved the ball to the Eagles 4-yard line, mainly on plays by Corey Dillon, who caught two screen passes for 29 yards and rushed for 25. But quarterback Tom Bradyfumbled the ball on a fake handoff and Philadelphia defender Darwin Walkerrecovered it. However, the Eagles could not take advantage of the turnover and had to punt after 3 plays. Eagles punter Dirk Johnson's punt went just 29 yards, giving the Patriots the ball at Philadelphia's 37 yard line. The Patriots then drove 37 yards to score on Brady's 4-yard pass to receiver David Givenswith 1:10 remaining in the period, tying the game 7–7 by halftime. It was only the second halftime tie in Super Bowl history and the first time both of the game's first 2 quarters ended tied.
On the opening drive of the second half, Patriots receiver
Deion Branchcaught 4 passes for 71 yards on a drive that ended with Brady's 2-yard pass to Vrabel, who lined up at the tight end spot on the play. The Eagles later tied the game with 3:39 left in the third period with a 74-yard, 10-play drive that was capped by McNabb's 10-yard touchdown pass to running back Brian Westbrook. For the first time in Super Bowl history, the game was tied going into the fourth quarter.
Early in the final period, the Patriots put together a 9-play, 66-yard scoring drive that was keyed by 3 plays from running back
Kevin Faulk, who caught 2 passes for 27 combined yards and rushed once for 12. Dillon capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Patriots a 21-14 lead. Then after forcing another Eagles punt, Branch's 19-yard reception and a roughing-the-passer penalty on Philadelphia defensive lineman Corey Simonset up kicker Adam Vinatieri's 22-yard field goal with 8:43 left in the game to increase the score 24–14.
The Eagles responded by advancing to the New England 36-yard line on their next drive, but it ended with no points after linebacker
Tedy Bruschiintercepted a pass from McNabb at the Patriots 24-yard line. After forcing New England to punt, Philadelphia got the ball back at their own 21-yard line with 5:40 left in the game.
The Eagles then drove 79 yards in 13 plays to cut their deficit to 24-21 with McNabb's 30-yard touchdown pass to receiver
Greg Lewis. However, the drive consumed 3:52 of the clock, and only 1:55 remained in the game by the time Lewis scored. Because of this, many sportswriters later criticized the Eagles for not immediately going to a no-huddle offenseat the start of the possession. (Two days after the game, some Eagles players revealed that McNabb was so sick that he had trouble calling the plays.)
The Eagles failed to recover their ensuing onside kick attempt. The Patriots then played it safe by running the ball 3 times and forcing Philadelphia to use all of its timeouts. New England punter
Josh Millerthen pinned the Eagles back at their own 4-yard line with just 46 seconds left in the game. Philadelphia then tried one last desperate drive to win or tie the game. But on first down, McNabb was pressured into making a rushed pass to Westbrook at the line of scrimmage. Instead of dropping the pass to stop the clock, Westbrook made the mistake of catching the ball and was immediately tackled for no gain, keeping the clock running and forcing the Eagles to run back to the line of scrimmage for their next play with no huddle. On second down, McNabb threw an incomplete pass intended for Owens. Finally on third down, McNabb threw a pass that went just over the outstretched fingertips of Smith and into the arms of Harrison for an interception with 9 seconds left, sealing the victory for the Patriots.
**PHI - TD: L.J. Smith 6 yard pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick) 7-0 PHI
**NE - TD: David Givens 4 yard pass from Tom Brady (Adam Vinatieri kick) 7-7 tie
**NE - TD: Mike Vrabel 2 yard pass from Tom Brady (Adam Vinatieri kick) 14-7 NE
**PHI - TD: Brian Westbrook 10 yard pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick) 14-14 tie
**NE - TD: Corey Dillon 2 yard run (Adam Vinatieri kick) 21-14 NE
**NE - FG: Adam Vinatieri 22 yards 24-14 NE
**PHI - TD: Greg Lewis 30 yard pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick) 24-21 NE
Notes and references
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