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Patriots' road to Super Bowl XLVI

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Jan. 22, 2012 @ 11:41 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

After New England held on to edge the Ravens, PFW takes a look back at how the Pats ended up in Super Bowl XLVI by looking at their week-by-week results.

Week One
Patriots 38, Dolphins 24
Opening the season on the road on Monday night, the Patriots went back and forth with Miami through the first three quarters before taking control late. The win was punctuated by a 99-yard touchdown from Brady to Wes Welker. Brady completed 32-of-48 passes for 517 yards and four touchdowns. Welker had 160 yards receiving.

Week Two
Patriots 35, Chargers 21
It was Welker in Week One and Deion Branch in Week Two. Branch hauled in eight passes for 129 yards and Gronkowski scored two touchdowns in the win. Brady threw for 423 yards, giving him 940 in his first two games. Vince Wilfork and Sergio Brown each picked off Philip Rivers in the win.

Week Three
Bills 34, Patriots 31
For the first time since 2003, the Patriots fell to the Bills, blowing an early 21-0 lead. The Bills scored 24 points in the second half thanks to three Brady picks. After a Drayton Florence pick-six, Brady hit Welker to tie the game. But Fred Jackson's 38-yard catch-and-run set up the Bills' game-winning field goal. Brady set the NFL record for most passing yards in a three-game stretch with 1,327 and Welker had a franchise-record 217 receiving yards.

Week Four
Patriots 31, Raiders 19
The Pats responded to their first loss of the season by topping the Raiders in Oakland. This time, it was the Patriots' rushing attack that made the difference. Rookie Stevan Ridley had 10 rushes for 97 yards and a score and BenJarvus Green-Ellis went 16-75-1. Wilfork had his second pick of the season.

Week Five
Patriots 30, Jets 21
The Patriots avenged their playoff loss thanks to a strong second half. Welker finished with 124 yards receiving, despite being covered mostly by CB Darrelle Revis. Green-Ellis was the story, though. The Law Firm rushed for a career-high 136 yards on 27 carries, including two scores. The Patriots' defense held the Jets to 255 yards of offense.

Week Six
Patriots 20, Cowboys 16
Rob Ryan's Cowboys defense made things difficult for Brady and company, ending the Patriots' 13-game streak of scoring at least 30 points. Brady threw two picks and lost two fumbles, but got the ball in the final minutes down by three. Brady marched the Pats down field in 10 plays, throwing an eight-yard score to Hernandez with 22 seconds to go.

Week Eight
Steelers 25, Patriots 17
The Steelers' aggressive defense completely bottled up the Patriots, holding them to 43 rushing yards and 170 passing yards. Ben Roethlsiberger threw for 365 yards and two scores. The Pats cut it to a six-point deficit with 2:25 to play, but could not recover the onside kick. It was their first loss coming off a bye since 2002. 

Week Nine
Giants 24, Patriots 20
Eli Manning was one better than Brady on this day. Similar to that of the Steelers, the Giants' defense had success, picking Brady off twice. He still threw for 342 yards, and a 14-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski with 1:36 to go seemed to be the difference. But Manning got the ball and moved right back down the field, hitting TE Jake Ballard for the game-winning score with 15 seconds to go. 

Week 10
Patriots 37, Jets 16
Coming off back-to-back losses and heading into an away game with their division rival, the Patriots suddenly had their backs against the wall. But a 24-point second-half output helped get them the key win. Brady threw for 329 yards and three scores and the Jets' defense could not slow down Gronk, who went 8-113-2. Rob Ninkovich's interception return for a touchdown in the fourth punctuated the win.

Week 11
Patriots 34, Chiefs 3
Gronk stole the show again with touchdown catches of 52 and 19 yards. PR Julian Edelman had a 72-yard punt return for a score in the third quarter. The Pats' defense picked off Chiefs QB Tyler Palko three times, two came from CB Kyle Arrington.

Week 12
Patriots 38, Eagles 20
The Patriots scored 17 points in the second quarter to build a 24-13 lead behind two Green-Ellis TD plunges. Welker and Branch combined for 240 yards receiving and Welker had two touchdowns.

Week 13
Patriots 31, Colts 24
This was not like the Patriots-Colts matchups we were used to, considering Peyton Manning was standing on the sideline. The Patriots went up 31-3 in the third quarter on a Gronkowski two-yard touchdown run. But the Colts battled back, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter. Branch had to recover an onside kick to seal the win.

Week 14
Patriots 34, Redskins 27
The winning streak continued, but it wasn't easy. The Patriots gave up 170 yards rushing. The Pats took the lead for good in the third quarter on a Welker 24-yard score. The Redskins got to the nine-yard line looking to tie before Jerod Mayo notched the game-clinching interception. Gronk had 160 yards receiving and two scores, setting the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end.

Week 15
Patriots 41, Broncos 23
The Pats came to Tebow Town and struggled in the first quarter, falling behind 13-7. But a couple of forced fumbles helped the Patriots score 20 points in the second quarter. The Broncos rushed for 252 yards, but Hernandez was too much on offense. He had nine catches for 129 yards and a score.

Week 16
Patriots 27, Dolphins 24
The Pats did not score in the first half, falling behind 17-0 to Miami before turning it on in the second, scoring 27 points to rally for the win. On special teams, P Zoltan Mesko dropped four of his six punts inside the 20.

Week 17
Patriots 49, Bills 21
For the third-straight week, the Patriots went down early, falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter. But 49 unanswered points later, and the Pats clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Brady threw for 338 yards and the tight end duo of Gronkowski and Hernandez combined for 246 yards and three scores.

Divisional round
Patriots 45, Broncos 10
It took less than two minutes for the Patriots to score, and they never looked back. Brady threw a playoff record five touchdowns in the first half - three to Gronkowski. The defense had its best performance of the season, holding Denver to 252 total yards, as the Patriots won their first playoff game in four years.

AFC championship game
Patriots 23, Ravens 20
The Patriots survived a hard-hitting, back-and-forth affair to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in four years. Brady's one-yard keeper early in the fourth quarter put New England ahead for good. Ravens PK Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal that would have sent the game into overtime.

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