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    Season review

    2011 Patriots season tracker

    Keep track of the Patriots’ progress throughout the 2011 season here with full coverage from the Boston Globe:

    GAME 1: PATRIOTS 38, DOLPHINS 24

    Tom Brady passed for a career-high 517 yards and threw for four touchdown passes as the Patriots opened the season with a win over an AFC East foe. The highlight was a 99-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Wes Welker in the fourth quarter.

    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    Tom Brady connected with Wes Welker on a 99-yard touchdown pass in the opener.

    Game story: Tom Brady reaches rare air as Patriots torch Dolphins

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    Photos: Highlights from Miami

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    Bob Ryan: Tom Brady proves he has no peer

    Notebook: Brandon Spikes was a surprise scratch

    On Football: Patriots defense better than score showed

    Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez light up Miami

    Patriots offense fell in line after Dan Koppen’s injury

    Despite loss, Miami sees measured gains

    GAME 2: PATRIOTS 35, CHARGERS 21

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    The Patriots’ offense topped 30 points for the 10th straight regular-season game as New England moved to 2-0. Brady passed for 423 yards and three touchdowns. The defense surrendered 470 yards of total offense, but took the ball away from the Chargers four times.

    Game story: Patriots sharp again, outlast Chargers in home opener

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Bob Ryan: Great win, but can Patriots continue to win shootouts?

    On Football: Win comes with plenty of worry

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    Notebook: Deion Branch still a safety net for Patriots

    Tom Brady in total control of game, Patriots

    Patriots’ early goal-line stand had huge impact

    Interception extra sweet for Vince Wilfork

    GAME 3: BILLS 34, PATRIOTS 31

    New England blew a 21-0 lead after Tom Brady threw four interceptions. Buffalo snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots that dated back to 2003 and improved to 3-0.

    Barry Chin/Globe Staff
    Chad Ochocinco dropped what appeared to be a sure touchdown in the Week 3 loss at Buffalo.

    Game story: Patriots are shocked by Bills

    Photos: Highlights from Buffalo

    Dan Shaughnessy: Even the Bills beat up on the Patriots

    On Football: Pressure is on the Patriots -- to improve their defense

    Notebook: A big miss for Chad Ochocinco

    Wes Welker sets record in losing cause

    Tom Brady (4 INTs) vows to improve after uneven game

    Winning ways come back for Bills

    GAME 4: PATRIOTS 31, RAIDERS 19

    New England surrendered 504 yards of total offense, but capitalized with two key interceptions off Jason Campbell. The running game emerged with 183 yards rushing to support Tom Brady’s 226 yards passing. Linebacker Jerod Mayo suffered a knee injury during the game.

    Game story: Run game powers Patriots’ win against Raiders

    Photos: Highlights from Oakland

    Christopher L. Gasper: Same old Patriots yet to prove they’ve improved

    On Football: Without Mayo, defense now must hold it together

    Notebook: Brady passes Joe Montana with 2 TD throws

    Brady-Wes Welker connection is thriving

    Patriots offense finds balance in running game

    Raiders revert to costly ways in loss

    GAME 5: PATRIOTS 30, JETS 21

    The Patriots rode BenJarvus Green-Ellis for 136 yards on the ground as they beat up on their archrivals. Green-Ellis also scored two touchdowns, and the Patriots’ defense had its best performance of the year in yielding just 255 yards.

    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    The Patriots donned their throwback uniforms in beating the Jets on Oct. 9.

    Game story: Tom Brady, Patriots cool off the Jets

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Dan Shaughnessy: Beating the Jets means a lot to Bill Belichick

    Bob Ryan: On balance, a poor effort by Rex Ryan’s Jets

    On Football: Patriots kept their ear to the ground

    Notebook: James Ihedigbo rises to occasion against old teammates

    Jets couldn’t solve Wes Welker riddle

    Aaron Hernandez made health contribution

    Big plays were costly for Jets

    GAME 6: PATRIOTS 20, COWBOYS 16

    Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan ended the Patriots’ 13-game streak of scoring at least 30 points. But Dallas couldn’t hold a 16-13 fourth-quarter lead.

    Adam Hunger/REUTERS
    Tony Romo and the Cowboys left Foxborough disappointed after Tom Brady orchestrated a final-minute, game-winning touchdown drive.

    Tom Brady engineered an 80-yard, game-winning drive that ended in a TD pass with 22 seconds left.

    Game story: Tom Brady rides to Patriots’ rescue

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Bob Ryan: It’s old hat for Brady, but it’s still thrilling

    On Football: Tom Brady scores two in a row vs. Ryan brothers

    Notebook: Chad Ochocinco still missing the action

    Defense was key for Patriots’ comeback

    Aaron Hernandez bounced back from ugly fumble

    Conservative play-calling costly for Cowboys

    GAME 7: STEELERS 25, PATRIOTS 17

    Pittsburgh locked up the Patriots’ offense and ran wild in its passing game as the Steelers ran away from the Patriots. Ben Roethlisberger connected on 36 of 50 passes, while the Patriots managed just 213 yards of total offense.

    Game story: Patriots falter in loss to Steelers

    Photos: Highlights from Pittsburgh

    Dan Shaughnessy: Patriots don’t scare anyone with broken defense

    On Football: Humbling by Steelers shows Patriots aren’t NFL elite

    Notebook: Kevin Faulk is right back into the groove

    Steelers earn reversal of fortune

    Patriots offensive line struggles

    Steelers pass Patriots test with ease

    GAME 8: GIANTS 24, PATRIOTS 20

    In a game hauntingly similar to Super Bowl XLII, Eli Manning led the Giants to a win after a seesaw battle in the fourth quarter.

    Elsa/Getty Images
    Eli Manning again beat the Patriots with a touchdown pass in the final minute when the Giants came to town in Week 8.

    His touchdown pass to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds left sealed the victory.

    Game story: Patriots foiled again by Eli Manning, Giants

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Dan Shaughnessy:Patriots’ loss eerily similar to Super Bowl XLII

    On Football: This time, Patriots offense is to blame

    Notebook: Patriots’ top receivers in rhythm with Tom Brady

    Wes Welker’s big day wasted in loss

    Patriots defense wilted down the stretch

    Victor Cruz proves too much for Patriots

    GAME 9: PATRIOTS 37, JETS 16

    New England dodged the Jets’ vaunted defense and snapped its two-game losing streak in dramatic fashion.

    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    The Patriots snapped their losing streak by routing the Jets to complete a season sweep in Week 9.

    With Patrick Chung out and Devin McCourty sidelined in the first half, the Patriots’ unheralded defense came up strong. Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes.

    Game story: Patriots dominate the Jets

    Photos: Highlights from the Meadowlands

    Bob Ryan: Sweet victory silences Rex Ryan, Jets fans

    On Football: With win, Patriots prove they control AFC East

    Notebook: Devin McCourty shelved with shoulder injury

    Patriots’ no-name defense makes a name for itself

    At the half, Tom Brady threw it into overdrive

    More miscues doomed Jets

    GAME 10: PATRIOTS 34, CHIEFS 3

    New England started slow, but rebounded with a second half in which it outscored Kansas City 24-0. The Patriots intercepted Chiefs QB Tyler Palko -- subbing for the injured Matt Cassel -- three times.

    Game story: Patriots roll over the Chiefs

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Bob Ryan: It’s a high point for Rob Gronkowski

    On Football: Andre Carter, Patriots defense looking much better

    Notebook: Tip of the cap: Kyle Arrington in the right place

    Ground delivery suited Patriots

    Julian Edelman stepped in -- and up for New England

    After struggling early, Tom Brady recovered

    GAME 11: PATRIOTS 38, EAGLES 20

    Down 10-0 in the first quarter, the Patriots responded with an offensive explosion. They went on a 38-3 run behind three touchdown passes and 361 yards passing by Tom Brady.

    Game story: Patriots soar against the Eagles

    Photos: Highlights from Philadelphia

    Bob Ryan: Tom Brady proves he’s best in class

    On Football: Patriots defense better than one could’ve dreamed

    Notebook: Comeback route run by Deion Branch

    Julian Edelman wraps up another task

    Eagles’ lead, playoff hopes gone in a flash

    GAME 12: PATRIOTS 31, COLTS 24

    The Patriots jumped out to a 31-3 lead over the Peyton Manning-less Colts by early in the fourth quarter.

    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    An injured Peyton Manning was on the sideline when the Patriots beat the Colts in Week 12.

    But they suffered a defensive breakdown in the final few minutes, and the winless Colts narrowed the gap to just a touchdown.

    Game story: Patriots beat Colts, but allow late comeback

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Bob Ryan: Bill Belichick right to be dour about Patriots

    On Football: Rob Gronkowski on track to be one of NFL’s greatest

    Notebook: Grab bag of numbers for Wes Welker

    Matthew Slater shines for Patriots’ defense

    Patriots’ Nick McDonald at home on center stage

    GAME 13: PATRIOTS 34, REDSKINS 27

    The Patriots struggled at times against the Redskins, but Jerod Mayo clinched the win with an interception in the red zone in the final minute. Vince Wilfork hopped on a fumble in the end zone to add a score early in the game. The game was marked by a heated sideline argument between Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

    Game story: Patriots hold off the Redskins

    Photos: Highlights from Landover, Md.

    Dan Shaughnessy: By a neck, Rob Gronkowski the best

    On Football: Tom Brady’s sideline tiff revealed his frustration

    Notebook: Vince Wilfork didn’t let his big chance slip

    Patriots’ defense shows up when it counts

    Two ex-Patriots catch fire for Redskins

    GAME 14: PATRIOTS 41, BRONCOS 23

    The Patriots’ defense was exposed early as they fell behind 16-7. But Tom Brady rallied the offense to a season-high 41 points and the defense recovered three Broncos turnovers to help power the win.

    Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
    Mark Anderson (right) and the defense helped the Patriots rally from a 16-7 deficit for a win in Denver in Week 14.

    Game story: Patriots control red-hot Tim Tebow, Broncos

    Photos: Highlights from Denver

    Dan Shaughnessy: Tim Tebow runs out of miracles vs. Patriots

    On Football: After change, Patriots defense was money

    Notebook: Andre Carter’s quad injury will require surgery

    Aaron Hernandez enjoys career day

    Tim Tebow, Broncos fall from grace

    GAME 15: PATRIOTS 27, DOLPHINS 24

    The Patriots fell behind 17-0 in the first half before adjusting to the Dolphins’ aggressive pass rush after halftime. Tom Brady withstood injuries to Matt Light and Logan Mankins and rallied his team to a win that clinched a bye in the AFC playoffs.

    Jim Rogash/Getty Images
    Tom Brady scored two rushing touchdowns as the Patriots rallied from a 17-0 deficit on Christmas Eve.

    Game story: Patriots reel in Dolphins and bye

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Bob Ryan:Vince Wilfork, Patriots make quite a recovery

    On Football: Patriots eventually handled pressure of Dolphins

    Notebook: Offensive line got job done without Light, Mankins

    Stephen Gostkowski’s tackle aided comeback

    Interception highlights Devin McCourty’s erratic day

    Dolphins got it only half right against Patriots

    GAME 16: PATRIOTS 49, BILLS 21

    The Patriots fell behind 21-0 in the first half, but responded with 49 unanswered points to clinch the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC with a 13-3 record.

    Game story: Patriots beat bills to earn top seed in AFC

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Dan Shaughnessy:The way I see it, Patriots are a mirage

    On Football:Patriots’ switch to man coverage was a good decision

    Notebook: Reports: Penn State courting Patriots’ Bill O’Brien

    Tom Brady crosses 5,000-yard threshold

    Last catch snags record for Rob Gronkowski

    Aaron Hernandez helps get Patriots’ offense clicking

    GAME 17: PATRIOTS 45, BRONCOS 10

    New England rolled into the AFC Championship game after its first playoff win in almost four years. Tom Brady tied a postseason record with six touchdown passes, and the defense overmatched Tim Tebow and the Broncos’ offense.

    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    Tom Brady and Deion Branch stopped the franchise’s three-game playoff losing streak by beating the Broncos in the divisional playoffs.

    Game story: Patriots rout overmatched Broncos

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Dan Shaughnessy: Patriots showing they may be best in NFL

    Bob Ryan: Hard to judge Patriots’ defense vs. inept Broncos

    On Football: This time, Patriots defense was a hit, too

    Notebook: Deion Branch got pushy on his touchdown play

    Tim Tebow takes lumps, but his faith not bruised

    Patriots’ tight ends were puzzle to Broncos

    These Patriots get a kick out of the cold

    Patriots’ bitter playoff losses a distant memory

    GAME 18: Patriots 23, Ravens 20 (AFC Championship)

    The Patriots earned a Super Bowl berth by overcoming two interceptions by Tom Brady when Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 11 seconds left. Brady scored the game-winning touchdown when he leapt head first over the line of scrimmage on fourth down early in the final period.

    Barry Chin/Globe Staff
    Team owner Robert Kraft hoisted the trophy after the Patriots defeated the Ravens for the AFC championship.

    Game story:Patriots win Super Bowl berth on missed field goal

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Dan Shaughnessy:Patriots earn Super Bowl rematch with the Giants

    Bob Ryan:Patriots won it in old, grind-it-out style

    On Football:Vince Wilfork the difference-maker in Patriots’ win

    Notebook: Sterling Moore’s late play helps save the game

    Despite off day, win still sweet for Tom Brady

    Aaron Hernandez shows off versatility once again

    Hard running effort from BenJarvus Green-Ellis

    Failed kick left the Ravens at a loss

    Joe Flacco silences critics with solid effort

    GAME 19: Giants 21, Patriots 17 (Super Bowl XLVI)

    For the second time in five seasons, the Giants came from behind with a final-minute touchdown to deny the Patriots of a title. Eli Manning led a game-winning drive to win the MVP award. The Patriots, hurt by a key drop by Wes Welker late in the game, tried a last-second Hail Mary pass that fell out of the reach of Rob Gronkowski in the end zone.

    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    Tom Brady walked off a Super Bowl field as a loser for the second time in his career.

    Game story: Giants again break hearts of the Patriots

    Photos: Highlights from Indianapolis

    Dan Shaughnessy: For Patriots, history repeats

    Bob Ryan:Ultimately, Patriots couldn’t get Giants off field

    On Football:Patriots’ offense, not defense, was the problem

    Notebook: Patriots’ deferral paid off in Super Bowl

    Wes Welker crushed by critical drop

    Rob Gronkowski plays just a small role

    Eli Manning proves he’s ‘elite’

    Eli Manning saves his best for last again

    Tom Coughlin steps onto new level

    Ahmad Bradshaw is Giants’ reluctant hero

    Belichick noncommittal about Bradshaw TD play

    Mario Manningham’s catch put Giants over top

    Four years later, another huge letdown for fans