On Friday morning my listing of Boston’s 2013 Sports Stats Heroes was rolled out with only a few days left in the year. However, you have to give credit where credit is due so I wanted to take this opportunity to commend three Patriots—one who was on the original list and two who deserve to be mentioned—for their Week 17 performances that put them into the record books.
First let’s recognize Julian Edelman, who originally came in at number 13 on the list. Dubbed “Minitron” by Tom Brady, Edelman closed out the regular season by grabbing nine passes against the Bills in the rain at Foxboro to raise his 2013 total to 105, thus becoming the Patriots most prolific single-season pass catcher not named Wes Welker. Edelman finished fourth in the NFL in receptions, trailing only Washington’s Pierre Garcon (113), Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (110) and Andre Johnson (109) of the Houston Texans. His catch total was a whopping 152% increase over his previous four-year career output of 69 receptions, while he increased his receiving yardage total by 148% (1,056 as compared to 714 previous yards).
Setting a significant franchise record on the season’s last day was kicker Stephen Gostkowski whose 14 points against the Bills gave him 158 for the season and enabled him to leapfrog 1964 AFL Player of the Year Gino Cappelletti’s franchise scoring record of 155 points set for the Boston Patriots. Gostkowski’s big day also saw his 2013 season surpass his two previous season highs (153 in 2012 and 148 in 2008) as well as Cappelletti’s 1961 when he scored 147 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info), Cappelletti’s scoring mark was the second-most enduring for an NFL team, trailing only Paul Hornung’s Green Bay record of 176 points set in 1960.
Finally, New England enters the playoffs with a better handle on the backfield situation, following a yeoman’s effort by LeGarrette Blount whose 334 all purpose yards not only obliterated the New England record of 273 yards set by Larry Garron in 1962, it also was the most in the NFL since Adrian Peterson had 361 yards against the Bears as a rookie in 2007, seventh-most since the AFL-NFL merger (Denver’s Glyn Milburn set the standard with 404 yards against the Seahawks in 1995). Blount’s 189 rushing yards place fifth alltime in a game for the Patriots, were the most of the Belichick era, most for a New England runner since Robert Edwards had 196 against the Rams in 1998. Blount also set the home record for rushing yards at Gillette Stadium, which places him second only to Denver’s Knowshown Moreno who had 224 earlier this season.
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He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrateds 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.
Now living in Marblehead, hes focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.