Sterling Moore #29 of the New England Patriots is congratulated by teammates Patrick Chung #25 and Devin McCourty #32 after Moore intercepted a pass against the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Week 1: Pats 38, Dolphins 24
Tom Brady stole the show in the Patriots’ opener, throwing for a team-record 517 yards. Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne had a pretty good night himself, throwing for a Miami-record 416 yards, but all the talk was about Brady in his return from offseason foot surgery. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Week 2: Patriots 35, Chargers 21
Brady lit it up once again against the Chargers. After his 517-yard performance in Week 1, Brady lit the Chargers up for 423 yards and three touchdowns. Brady became the seventh quarterback to pass for 400 or more yards in consecutive weeks, and the first player in 28 years to win AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 1 and Week 2 of the same season.
Week 3: Bills 34, Patriots 31
The Pats looked like they were gearing up to roll when they got caught up in Buffalo. Brady had four touchdown passes, but also four interceptions. Hard to overcome turnovers like that.
Week 4: Pats 31, Raiders 19
The Patriots got back on track against the Raiders. Receiver Wes Welker caught nine balls for 158 yards, plus the Pats capitalized on two interceptions by Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell and nine Raiders penalties.
Week 5: Patriots 30, Jets 21
BenJarvus Green-Ellis put the Patriots on his back against the Jets and rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Week 6: Pats 20, Cowboys 16
Aaron Hernandez and the Patriots found themselves in a tight spot against Dallas. After playing to a draw for three quarters, the Cowboys pulled ahead with a field goal in the fourth. But Tom Brady engineered a touchdown drive to give the Pats the victory and a 5-1 start.
Week 8: Steelers 25, Pats 17
The Steelers handed the Patriots their second loss as Tom Brady didn’t turn in one of his best games, throwing for just 198 yards against the league's top-ranked passing defense. Plus, Kevin Faulk (33) was held to 32 yards in his first game of the season.
Week 9: Giants 24, Pats 20
In the teams' first meeting since the Giants’ improbable comeback victory over an unbeaten Pats team in the 2008 Super Bowl, the Patriots again fell short. Scoreless at halftime, both teams exploded offensively in the second half, with Brandon Jacobs (27) finding the end zone and Eli Manning capping a decisive drive similar to the one in 2008 by throwing a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds left.
Week 10: Patriots 37, Jets 16
As always, Jets coach Rex Ryan’s lips were flapping prior to the game, but once the teams took the field, the Patriots exerted complete control over their division rivals. Linebacker Rob Ninkovich (50) returned an interception for a touchdown, and the Jets never got closer than 23-16 in the fourth quarter as the Pats closed the game on a 14-0 run.
Week 11: Pats 34, Chiefs 3
This game was embarrassing for the Chiefs, who failed to put up a fight against tight end Rob Gronkowski and the potent New England offense. The Chiefs scored three points in the first quarter, but the Pats shut them out for the rest of the game.
Week 12: Pats 38, Eagles 20
The Patriots trailed 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, but the Eagles defense couldn’t hold the Patriots down any longer than that. Behind Tom Brady (361 yards and three touchdown passes) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (pictured; two touchdowns), the Patriots scored 17 in the second quarter and never looked back.
Week 13: Pats 31, Colts 24
Without Peyton Manning, this normally bitter rivalry felt almost unfair. Things went according to plan, with Rob Gronkowski (87) finding the end zone and the winless Colts falling behind 31-3 after three quarters. That’s when the tables were turned on the Pats. The Colts scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth and almost pulled off a stunning comeback.
Week 14: Patriots 34, Redskins 27
In a second straight surprisingly tough game against a weaker opponent, the Redskins gave the Patriots a run for their money. In the end, the Patriots followed Tom Brady’s 357 yards and three touchdown passes to a win, bringing their record to 10-3.
Week 15: Patriots 41, Broncos 23
Tom Brady led the Patriots into Denver and ended Tim Tebow and the Broncos' six-game winning streak. The Broncos led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, but Brady led a 20-3 blitz in the second quarter to put the Broncos away.
Week 16: Patriots 27, Dolphins 24
When the Patriots faced the Dolphins in the first "Monday Night Football" of the season, Tom Brady had a record day. This game did not follow the same pattern. After failing to get on the board in the first half, Deion Branch (84) and the Patriots rallied in the second half for a come-from-behind win over the much improved Dolphins.
Week 17: Patriots 49, Bills 21
Things didn’t look good for the Patriots as the Bills went up 21-0 in the first quarter ... in Foxborough. Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots offense arrived a little late, but came back with gusto. Holding the Bills scoreless for the final three quarters, the Patriots put up 49 unanswered points to close out the game and the regular season at 13-3.
AFC Divisional Playoffs: Patriots 45, Broncos 10
Forget Tim Tebow. The Broncos were quickly dispatched by the Patriots, who moved on in the playoffs with a dominating win at home. Tom Brady tied a postseason record with six touchdown passes, including five in the first half. He also didn't get sacked during the game, while the Patriots defense dropped Tebow five times.
AFC Championship: Patriots 23, Ravens 20
A missed field goal by the Ravens with 11 seconds left secured the Patriots' ticket back to the Super Bowl. Tom Brady helped, scoring the twice in the fourth quarter. His second touchdown put New England on top for good. The Patriots' last Super Bowl appearance was in 2008 when their attempt at a 19-0 season was deflated by the New York Giants.