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    2012 Patriots season tracker

    Keep track of the Patriots’ progress throughout the 2012 season here with full coverage from the Boston Globe:

    WEEK 1: PATRIOTS 34, TITANS 13

    While Tom Brady was again stellar, the Patriots got key contributions from first-round picks Chandler Jones (forced fumble, sack) and Dont’a Hightower (fumble recovery for a touchdown). The success of running back Stevan Ridley (125 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 27 receiving yards) also gave the Patriots a different look.

    BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF
    First-round picks Chandler Jones (left) and Dont’a Hightower had a big role in the Patriots’ Week 1 win.

    Game story: Patriots impress in opening romp

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    Photos: Highlights from Nashville

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    Dan Shaughnessy: New England sports fans can rejoice again

    Christopher L. Gasper: Patriots defense makes a statement

    On Football: Josh McDaniels, Patriots’ offensive line dialed in

    Notebook: Tom Brady bloodied, but pleased with win

    Patriots’ Stevan Ridley enjoys breakout game

    WEEK 2: CARDINALS 20, PATRIOTS 18

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    The Patriots’ first-ever loss in a home opener at Gillette Stadium came amid a defensive flurry from the Cardinals, who battered Tom Brady. A first-quarter ankle injury that sidelined Aaron Hernandez helped derail the Patriots offense. Stephen Gostkowski, who hit four field goals, missed a would-be 42-yard game winner in the closing seconds.

    JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF
    The Cardinals rejoiced after Stephen Gostkowski missed a game-winning field goal in the final minute.

    Game story: Patriots fall short in home opener

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Christopher L. Gasper: Aaron Hernandez may be more crucial loss

    On Football: Wes Welker’s role even more in doubt

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    Notebook: Rob Gronkowski’s late penalties prove costly

    Stephen Gostkowski’s miss spoils career day

    Fumble by Ryan Williams nearly doomed Cardinals

    WEEK 3: RAVENS 31, PATRIOTS 30

    The Patriots surrendered leads of 13-0 and 30-21 and lost when Justin Tucker nailed a 27-yard field goal as time expired. The New England defense was often porous, and gave up nine plays of 20 or more yards. Tom Brady (335 yards passing) and the offense were effective, but the defense kept allowing Baltimore, keyed by Torrey Smith (six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns on the day his younger brother, Tevin, died) back into the game.

    ROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES
    Tom Brady walked off the field a loser for the second straight week in Baltimore in Week 3.

    Game story: Patriots lost heartbreaker to Ravens

    Photos: Highlights from Baltimore

    Dan Shaughnessy: Replacement refs a nightmare in Patriots loss

    Christopher L. Gasper: Patriots’ defensive breakdowns loom large

    On Football: Josh McDaniels needs to let his players play

    Notebook: Brandon Lloyd starting to connect with Tom Brady

    Ravens’ Torrey Smith shines amid personal loss

    Bill Belichick mum on apparent contact with official

    WEEK 4: PATRIOTS 52, BILLS 28

    Down 21-7 at halftime, the Patriots looked in danger of succumbing to their first three-game losing streak in more than 10 years. But Tom Brady came out in the second half and led touchdown drives on six consecutive drives. Both Stevan Ridley (106) and Brandon Bolden (137) went over the 100-yard rushing mark as the Patriots became just the second team in NFL history to register two players with more than 100 yards rushing and receiving (Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski).

    Game story: Patriots explode, roll over the Bills

    Photos: Highlights from Buffalo

    Christopher L. Gasper: Patriots have made a habit out of winning

    On Football: Patriots offense clicks after getting back to basics

    Notebook: Rough day for Stephen Gostkowski

    Ground game made the difference for Patriots

    C.J. Spiller takes blame for Bills’ loss to Patriots

    WEEK 5: PATRIOTS 31, BRONCOS 21

    Using a heavy dose of the no-huddle offense, the Patriots jumped out to a 31-7 lead on Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The defense , which bent slightly in the second half, came up with several big plays to seal the win. The Patriots rushed for a combined 251 yards.

    MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF
    Tom Brady’s dive for a touchdown helped the Patriots beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

    Game story: Patriots defense holds the Broncos

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Christopher L. Gasper: Patriots took control with no-huddle attack

    On Football: Defense stepped up with big plays

    Notebook: Wes Welker comes up big again

    Stevan Ridley’s career night stained by fumble

    Broncos, Peyton Manning know improvement is needed

    WEEK 6: SEAHAWKS 24, PATRIOTS 23

    The Patriots suffered one of their most bitter losses in years by allowing two fourth-quarter touchdowns by the Seahawks, who overcame a 13-point deficit in the final minutes. Tom Brady threw two interceptions, but the Patriots’ defense, particularly the secondary, was the primary reason the team capitulated down the stretch in Seattle.

    JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF
    A loss in Seattle left the Patriots with a 3-3 record after Week 6.

    Game story: Seahawks stun Patriots on late TD

    Photos: Highlights from Seattle

    Dan Shaughnessy: Patriots embarrassed by Pete Carroll

    On Football: Patriots secondary still a first-rate problem

    Notebook: Wes Welker puts up big numbers in loss

    Tom Brady’s mistakes caught up to Patriots

    Seahawks’ Russell Wilson shows veteran poise

    WEEK 7: PATRIOTS 29, JETS 26 (OT)

    The Patriots surrendered a fourth-quarter lead for the second straight week as the Jets charged from a 23-13 deficit to a 26-23 lead in the final 2 minutes. Stephen Gostkowski then hit a game-tying field goal as time expired to force overtime. In the extra frame, Gostkowski hit a field goal on the opening drive, and the Patriots sealed a win when Jets QB Mark Sanchez lost a fumble after a sack on the game’s final play.

    JIM ROGASH/GETTY IMAGES
    Stephen Gostkowski had two clutch field goals to beat the Jets in Week 7.

    Game story: After another blown lead, Patriots outlast Jets

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Christopher L. Gasper: Big questions remain after Patriots’ win

    On Football: Patriots offense just can’t finish

    Notebook: Game of highs, lows for Devin McCourty

    Stephen Gostkowski comes through twice for Patriots

    Errors too much for the Jets to overcome

    WEEK 8: PATRIOTS 45, RAMS 7 (in London)

    After the Rams took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive, the Patriots scored on their first six drives, with five touchdowns and a field goal to take a commanding lead. The game occurred in London as a Rams home game, and Tom Brady was 23-for-35 for 304 yards and four TD passes.

    Game story: Patriots destroy Rams in London

    Photos: Highlights from Wembley Stadium

    Christopher L. Gasper: Despite win, Patriots still searching for identity

    On Football: Patriots in control when using spread offense

    Notebook: Rob Gronkowski (2 TDs) had a jolly good time

    Patriots defense rebounds after another shaky start

    WEEK 9: Patriots’ bye

    WEEK 10: PATRIOTS 37, BILLS 31

    The offense staked the Patriots to a 17-3 lead, but New England couldn’t put away the Bills until the final minute because of a porous defense. The Bills were driving for a potential game-winning touchdown when Devin McCourty picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick to seal the win. The Bills recorded 481 yards of total offense, but were hurt by a costly interception on the Patriots’ 1-yard line in the final quarter.

    Game story: Patriots barely manage to get past Bills

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Christopher L. Gasper: Patriots are just too unreliable

    On Football: For Patriots defense, nowhere to go but up

    Notebook: Bills’ Ryan Fitzpatrick calls Brandon Spikes a ‘punk’

    Mistakes proved very costly for the Bills

    Patriots take valuable minutes off clock at the end

    WEEK 11: PATRIOTS 59, COLTS 24

    The Patriots tied the franchise record in points, but it came at a costly price when tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken left forearm late in the fourth quarter while he was blocking on the extra point attempt for the Patriots’ 59th point. Julian Edelman had a career day with 222 total yards and two touchdowns, and both Alfonzo Dennard and newcomer Aqib Talib returned interceptions off Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck for touchdowns.

    JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF
    Julian Edelman had 222 total yards and two touchdowns in the Week 11 win over the Colts.

    Game story: Patriots rip Colts, Andrew Luck

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Box score: Patriots 59, Colts 24

    Christopher L. Gasper: Andrew Luck won’t always be this easy to beat

    On Football: Aqib Talib uneven but promising in Patriots debut

    Notebook: Gronkowski’s game ends with broken left forearm

    Julian Edelman’s monster game fuels win

    Backup offensive linemen step up for Patriots

    WEEK 12: PATRIOTS 49, JETS 19

    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 recovery, 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.

    MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF
    The Patriots feasted on the Jets on Thanksgiving night.

    Game story: Patriots feast on miscues by Jets

    Photos: Highlights from East Rutherford, N.J.

    Box Score: Patriots 49, Jets 19

    Chrisopher L. Gasper: Jets not in the same league as Patriots

    On Football: Vince Wilfork was key man in Patriots’ win

    Notebook: Huge game for Steve Gregory on home turf

    Patriots’ 3-TD stretch ended game quickly

    Jets’ upset plans ended early

    WEEK 13: PATRIOTS 23, DOLPHINS 16

    The high-octane offense was tempered in Miami, but Tom Brady’s unit did something it had failed to do before in the season: Produce a time-consuming, grind-it-out drive late in the game to ice a victory. Brady led a drive of 7 minutes, 18 seconds that ended in a field goal that sealed the victory. Brady threw one touchdown pass and the Patriots capitalized on several Dolphins mistakes (including a mishandled snap on a punt) to earn the win. New England clinched the AFC East for the fourth straight year and 10th time in 12 seasons.

    Game story: Patriots beat Dolphins, clinch AFC East title

    Photos: Highlights from Miami

    Box score: Patriots 23, Dolphins 16

    Dan Shaughnessy: Patriots win ugly for spoiled fans

    On Football: Patriots finally find game-sealing recipe

    Notebook: Jerod Mayo gets crucial sack with blitz

    Once again, Patriots’ Wes Welker torments Dolphins

    Dolphins can’t overcome mistakes against Patriots

    WEEK 14: PATRIOTS 42, TEXANS 14

    Houston entered the game with an NFL-best 11-1 record, but was quickly embarrassed by a Patriots team that overwhelmed it on offense and defense. Tom Brady improved to 13-4 all time on Monday night with four touchdown passes, and sparked New England to a 28-0 lead by the third quarter. The Patriots prevented Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson from becoming a factor and held Defensive Player of the Year candidate J.J. Watt without a sack or a tackle for a loss. The win kept the Patriots in control of the second playoff seed, and moved them one game back of Houston for the top seed in the AFC.

    JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF
    Tom Brady, Brandon Lloyd and the Patriots routed the 11-1 Texans in Week 14.

    Game story: Patriots rip upstart Texans

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Box score: Patriots 42, Texans 14

    Dan Shaughnessy: Patriots look like they’re heading to Super Bowl

    Christopher L. Gasper: Dominant Patriots defense earned the spotlight

    On Football: Patriots shut down Texans star J.J. Watt

    Notebook: Brandon Lloyd takes big night in stride

    Texans shocked by Patriots’ dominance

    Once again, Tom Brady looks like an MVP

    Matt Light making ‘real world’ adjustment

    WEEK 15: 49ERS 41, PATRIOTS 34

    The Patriots committed an uncharacteristic four turnovers on a rainy night in Foxborough, which helped the 49ers build a 31-3 lead early in the second half. Then Tom Brady led an epic rally that tied the game at 31-31 in the fourth quarter. But the Patriots faltered again when a 62-yard kick return by LaMichael James and a quick-strike touchdown by San Francisco allowed the 49ers to pull away. The Patriots were unable to recover an onside kick in the final minute in a last-gasp effort to tie the game again. The loss was the first at home December for New England since 2002. It also left the Patriots in the third seed for AFC playoff positioning, and the Patriots lost control of their own destiny to earn a playoff bye.

    MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF
    Brandon Lloyd and the Patriots were left frustrated after a 41-34 loss at home to the 49ers in Week 15.

    Game story: Patriots’ comeback falls short after late 49ers TD

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Box score: 49ers 41, Patriots 34

    Christopher L. Gasper: Despite loss, Tom Brady was at his best

    On Football: This loss could pay off for Patriots

    Notebook: Patriots pay tribute to Newtown shooting victims

    How the 49ers ended an epic meltdown

    49ers proud of rare win in Foxborough

    Bill Belichick angry after Patriots’ loss

    Wes Welker sets new NFL mark with 100th catch

    WEEK 16: PATRIOTS 23, JAGUARS 16

    Tom Brady threw two first-half interceptions, which allowed the 2-12 Jaguars to take a 13-3 lead in the second quarter. But the Patriots fought back to tie the game before halftime and eventually make, literally, one more play than the Jaguars to seal a win in Florida. Patrick Chung intercepted Chad Henne in the end zone on the game’s final play to finalize the Patriots’ win. But Brady and the Patriots were unsatisfied with the victory.

    Game story: Patriots barely able to beat lowly Jaguars

    Box score: Patriots 23, Jaguars 16

    Christopher L. Gasper: Tom Brady knows time is running out for Patriots

    On Football: Despite problems, Patriots offense has time to rebound

    Notebook: Stephen Gostkowski closes in on Patriots’ points record

    Patriots defense stepped up when it mattered

    Promising start by Jaguars spoiled by miscues

    WEEK 17: PATRIOTS 28, DOLPHINS 0

    The Patriots’ win, coupled with a loss by the Texans, left the teams tied with 12-4 records in the AFC playoff standings, and gave New England a playoff bye based on its win over Houston earlier in December. The Dolphins offered little resistance to the Patriots in this regular-season finale, with Tom Brady throwing two touchdown passes and Stevan Ridley rushing for two scores. Rob Gronkowski returned from a broken left forearm for the first time in six weeks.

    MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF
    Derrick Martin (left) and Justin Francis and the Patriots clinched a playoff bye with a Week 17 win.

    Game story: Patriots claim 2d seed, earn a bye

    Box score: Patriots 28, Dolphins 0

    Christopher L. Gasper: Worth the risk to play Rob Gronkowski

    On Football: Patriots defense looks ready for playoffs

    Notebook: Stevan Ridley hits 1,200 yard mark

    Patriots’ offensive line holds their ground

    Wes Welker more upbeat after Dolphins beatdown

    WILD-CARD WEEKEND: Patriots earned a first-round playoff bye

    DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS: PATRIOTS 41, TEXANS 28

    The Patriots ran away from the Texans for the second time in two months to clinch a berth in the AFC Championship game. Shane Vereen shined with three touchdowns for the Patriots, but only after two big injuries befell the offense. Danny Woodhead left after one drive with a hand injury, and Ron Gronkowski reinjured his left forearm and left the game in the first quarter. The Patriots opened up a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter as Tom Brady won his NFL-record 17th career playoff game.

    ELSA/GETTY IMAGES
    Wes Welker and the Patriots ran away from the Texans in the divisional playoffs.

    Game story: Patriots beat Texans, face Ravens in AFC title game

    Box score: Patriots 41, Texans 28

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Dan Shaughnessy: Patriots-Texans was a laugher from start to finish

    Christopher L. Gasper: Real playoffs start next week for Patriots

    On Football: Rob Ninkovich is clutch yet again for Patriots

    Notebook: Rob Gronkowski done after reinjuring forearm

    Shane Vereen steps up for the Patriots

    Texans lament missed chances in loss to Patriots

    As usual, Wes Welker has big game for Patriots

    Texans’ Matt Schaub departs with great disappointment

    AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: RAVENS 28, PATRIOTS 13

    The Ravens overcame a 13-7 halftime deficit with a dominating performance in Foxborough to avenge their AFC title game loss of a year earlier. The Patriots committed three turnovers, all in the fourth quarter, and forced none by the Ravens, which helped accelerate their slide. Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns passes, while Tom Brady (who lost for the first time ever in Foxborough after holding a halftime lead -- he had been 67-0) threw one and two interceptions. Aqib Talib left the game early with a leg injury, which hurt the Patriots secondary, a unit that allowed two clutch touchdown catches by Anquan Boldin. The Ravens moved on to play the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

    Game story: Ravens KO Patriots in title game rematch

    Photos: Highlights from Foxborough

    Dan Shaughnessy: Ravens bring an abrupt end to Patriots’ season

    Christopher L. Gasper: Patriots paid price for not running ball

    On Football:Patriots failed to make big plays on defense

    Notebook: Injuries to Kyle Love, Aqib Talib hurt Patriots

    Ravens’ Bernard Pollard delivers another dose of pain

    Ray Lewis and the Ravens on a mission

    This time, Ravens Joe Flacco is conquering hero

    CBS’s Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Suggs rip Patriots

    Wes Welker is left at a loss after an untimely drop