The Patriots' win over the Jets on Thanksgiving 2012 improved the team's record to 3-2 all time on the holiday. Look back on the team’s memorable Thanksgiving contests (click on the years below for a recap of each game):
1984: Comeback falls short in Dallas
The Cowboys held off a late charge by the Patriots. New England outscored the Cowboys, 14-3 during the final quarter, but couldn't stop Rafael Septien, who kicked a 24-yard field goal with four seconds remaining for the win. "In situations like these, you find out a lot about yourself as a team," said Dallas quarterback Danny White. "We didn't get upset when they came down and tied the score near the end. We just knew that we had to go out and do a job." The Cowboys defense dominated the game, sacking Tony Eason 10 times. Randy White led the charge with three sacks, and Ed Jones and Bill Bates each added two. Dallas struck first when Michael Downs intercepted an Eason pass in the first quarter and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. "I couldn't believe I made that bad a throw," Eason lamented later, holding his head.
The Patriots left Texas with an 8-5 record, having lost a game crucial to their playoff chances. "Every game is a test," New England coach Raymond Berry said. "Dallas did us a favor. They revealed where we are. We were prepared to a degree, but we were not prepared enough to win a close game. A dropped ball here or there, a missed adjustment, a penalty - it all adds up." The Cowboys had a short field to work with on their final drive, after special teams coach Dante Scarnecchia opted for a squib kick after New England tied the game 17-17. Craig James (who finished with 112 yards rushing on 19 carries) ran 43 yards on a draw play, setting up Eason's 1-yard dive for a touchdown. Eason finished 19 for 38 passing for 204 yards and a touchdown, along with the costly interception. White was 21 for 41 for 288 yards and a touchdown.Back to top
2000: Batch, Lions too tough for Patriots
Playing with ribs bruised by the New England defense, Charlie Batch threw for one touchdown and ran for another as Detroit rolled over the Patriots. "Have you ever seen 'Gladiator?' " asked cornerback Marquis Walker, whose interception of a Drew Bledsoe pass led to a 10-yard touchdown run by Batch. ''Charlie took some shots like Maximus. He showed me he was Maximus today.'' Batch also threw a touchdown pass to David Sloan, and Bryant Westbrook returned an interception 101 yards for a score as Detroit scored 28 points in the second half to run away from the Patriots (3-9). ''We played competitively, but in the third quarter some things got away from us,'' said New England coach Bill Belichick.
That was Batch's doing. With Detroit trailing by 9-6, he put the Lions ahead to stay with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Sloan on a fourth-and-goal with 3 minutes 45 seconds left in the third. On Detroit's next possession, Batch took a crushing shot to the chest from Patriots strong safety Lawyer Milloy, who was penalized 15 yards for roughing. Batch was helped off the field and sat out two plays before returning, then threw 18 yards to Sedrick Irvin to the Patriots' 1-yard line. After Batch failed to run the ball in, James Stewart dived in for a touchdown and 20-9 Detroit lead with 11:18 left. Detroit's barrage left Patriots defender Willie McGinest disgusted enough to hold a players-only meeting afterward. "I told them that I take these games personally,'' he said. "Our team has to be accountable for our mistakes. As a team, this can't go on.'' It was the NFL debut of Tom Brady, who was 1 for 3 passing for 6 yards. It was his only appearance as a rookie.Back to top
2002: Not pretty, but Patriots earn win
Getting a punt blocked, throwing an interception in the red zone and racking up nine penalties usually is a recipe for defeat. Unless the opponent is the 2002 Detroit Lions. Antowain Smith ran for 80 yards and a touchdown, and Tedy Bruschi returned an interception 27 yards for a score as the New England beat Detroit. "Today wasn't one of the most attractive wins of the year,'' said New England's Troy Brown, who caught 10 passes for 111 yards. "It will be tough to win playing ugly now, because we've got three division teams coming up, and we're all fighting for a spot.'' The Patriots (7-5) pulled within half a game of AFC East-leading Miami.
After Jason Hanson's fourth field goal cut Detroit's deficit to 20-12 with 9:46 left, the Patriots ran out the clock by driving from their 19 to the Detroit 1. Tom Brady then kneeled to end the game. During the 17-play drive, New England was penalized twice on third-and-7 but converted both times. In the second quarter, Brady had a chance to add to New England's 10-3 lead after Deion Branch's 63-yard kickoff return, but he threw an interception to Chris Cash at the Detroit 16. The Lions then gained 14 yards before punting. On the Patriots' next drive, Chris Claiborne blocked a punt, but three plays later, Willie McGinest leaped for an interception at the Patriots 16. "It was pretty even, but we were able to make the right plays at the right time,'' Belichick said. "We converted turnovers, we picked up some big third-down conversions and we played good defense in the red zone. You always have to feel good when you don't give up a touchdown in this league.''Back to top
2010: Brady feasts on Lions defense
Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, all in the second half, and the Patriots routed the Lions after trailing by 11 late in the second quarter. "We showed some resiliency, coming out in the second half and playing the way we did when the crowd was into it," Brady said. New England (9-2) remained tied with the AFC East rival New York Jets for the AFC East lead. "I don't think we're at where we need to be at," Brady said. "But this is a tough group." After taking a ton of shots early in the game, the three-time Super Bowl winner bounced back to complete 21 of 27 passes for 341 yards with no interceptions, giving him a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 for the second time in his career. "He's like a surgeon," Detroit center Dominic Raiola said.
Brady threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Deion Branch early in the fourth quarter after connecting with him on a 79-yarder to tie it at 24. Wes Welker's second TD reception sealed the victory with 6:42 left, putting the Patriots ahead by two TDs and making their double-digit deficit a distant memory. "When you outscore a team 35-7 in the second half, a lot of things have to go right," Belichick said. Brady became the first player to have a perfect passer rating in the 2010 season with a minimum of five attempts, according to STATS LLC. His first perfect game was Oct. 21, 2007, when he threw a career-high six TD passes in a victory over Miami. "If we give him time, there's nothing he can't do," guard Logan Mankins said. "He's going to find the guy that's open, and he's going to get them the ball." Lions QB Shaun Hill was 27-of-46 for 285 yards with one TD and two interceptions to rookie cornerback Devin McCourty.Back to top
2012: Patriots embarrass archrival Jets
The Patriots embarrassed their division rivals in a nationally-televised Thanksgiving night game. After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots exploded for 35 points in the second quarter when they capitalized on several Jets mistakes. The Jets had three straight possessions end in fumbles that the Patriots turned into three touchdowns in the span of 52 seconds. Safety Steve Gregory scored a touchdown on a 32-yard fumble recover, but also forced a fumble, recovered another and picked off Jets QB Mark Sanchez. Tom Brady finished with 323 yards passing, three passing touchdowns and a rushing score.
“It was crazy,” Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said of the New England scoring outburst. “I’ve never seen anything like that. This is a team you can’t turn the ball over against because they make you pay and it was a great display of that today. Hats off to them for taking advantage of opportunities that we missed and things that we screwed up — they make you pay.”
The win moved the Patriots to 8-3 and was the 200th win of coach Bill Belichick's career. It gave them 19 straight wins during the second half of the NFL season.Back to top