This Day In Patriots History


December 12, 1965:
Boston Patriots 28, Denver Broncos 20 at Bears Stadium

Nick Buoniconti and Houston Antwine each had an interception as the Patriots went up by 22 points after three quarters and cruised to their third road victory of the season. For Antwine – who absolutely belongs in the team’s Hall of Fame, if not the Pro Football Hall of Fame – it was the only interception of the defensive lineman’s 12-year career. Larry Garron scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Babe Parilli to give the Pats a 7-6 1st quarter lead, and then Jim Nance scored on a one-yard run. Parilli then threw touchdown passes of 25 yards and 13 yards to Gino Cappelletti to give the Patriots a 28-6 lead after three quarters to put the game away.


Jim Nance breaks away on a 65-yard touchdown run against Buffalo

December 12, 1966:
RB Jim Nance makes the cover of Sports Illustrated. The headline read “Boston Takes Over First Place“, and beneath that said “Jim Nance breaks away on a 65-yard touchdown run against Buffalo“; the photo showed Nance breaking through the line, leaving six Bills defenders in his wake.


December 12, 1971:
New York Jets 13, New England Patriots 6 at Shea Stadium

The Pats defense limited Joe Namath to 95 yards and forced four turnovers, including interceptions by Steve Kiner and Larry Carwell, but the offense was unable to take advantage of the opportunities.


December 12, 1976:
New England Patriots 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 at the Old Sombrero

The Patriots rushed for 260 yards and went in to the playoffs on a high note with a quality finsh to a victory on Florida’s west coast.

The Bucs led 14-7 at halftime, but it was all pats in the second half. Andy Johnson, who had scored earlier on a 69-yard run, scored again on a 9-yard run to tie the score. Early in the 4th quarter MLB Sam Hunt intercepted a pass thrown by Steve Spurrier and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown to finally give the Patriots the lead. Steve Grogan then ran for a one-yard touchdown to set an NFL record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season, with 12. John Smith, who had earlier kicked a 30-yard field goal, was sidelined with an injury so linebacker Steve Zabel came on as the emergency kicker and converted the extra point for the final score. Johnson finished with a career-high 127 yards rushing on 14 carries, and Don Calhoun added 68 yards on 12 carries.


Mark Henderson is a recurring vision in Don Shula’s nightmares

December 12, 1982:
New England Patriots 3, Miami Dolphins 0 at Schaefer Stadium

On a frigid, snowy day neither team could get anything going for 59 minutes. Both teams had attempted and missed a field goal attempt, but the kickers were unable to get proper footing needed to make a successful kick. Due to the conditions the Patriots completely abandoned the run: Steve Grogan attempted just five passes, completing two (both to Lin Dawson, for a total of 13 yards).

With 4:45 remaining the Pats lined up for a 33-yard field goal, which seemed unlikely due to the slippery snow-covered field. The Patriots had been futilely kicking snow aside with the heels of their cleats, attempting to clear a space for Matt Cavanaugh to hold the snap, but were making little headway. After a timeout Mark Henderson, a prison parolee on work release, drove a John Deere tractor onto the field equipped with a sweeper that had been used all game so officials could see the sideline and yard lines. As he approached the players Henderson swerved, perfectly clearing a four foot wide space not just for Cavanaugh to get the snap down, but for kicker John Smith to gain solid footing, and then swerved back to the 20-yard line marker. Smith drilled the kick and Miami head coach Don Shula – who also served for years on the NFL’s Competition Committee – went absolutely ballistic. The tractor with the attached sweeper has been retired, and can be seen by fans at the Hall at Patriot Place.

There was still time remaining, and the Dolphins did put together a drive for what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown. With just 37 seconds left to play Roland James came up big, intercepting a pass on the New England 10-yard line to preserve the victory. The victory evened the Pats record at 3-3 in the strike-shortened ’82 season, while Miami dropped to 4-2.



December 12, 1993:
New England Patriots 7, Cincinnati Bengals 2

First-year Pats head coach Bill Parcells used an unconventional move, taking an intentional safety in the 4th quarter, to help preserve a victory and snap a seven-game losing streak. The Pats defense got plenty of pressure on Cincinnati quarterback David Klingler, sacking him five times (two by Aaron Jones, and one each by Chris Slade and Dwayne Sabb), and picked him off once (Terry Ray), while limiting him to 89 passing yards and a 36% completion rate.

Leonard Russell rushed for 97 yards for the Patriots, and the lone score came on an 8-yard pass from Drew Bledsoe to Ben Coates. The win seemed to inspire the Pats, who went on to win the final four games of the season.


December 12, 1999:
Indianapolis Colts 20, New England Patriots 15 at the RCA Dome

The Patriots played a sloppy game, committing twelve penalties in Peyton Manning‘s first win of his career against the Patriots. The loss sparked a three-game loss that resulted in the Pats missing the playoffs for the first time in four years, and that led to Pete Carroll being replaced by Bill Belichick. For Indy it was their ninth straight win and they improved to 11-2, closing in on their first division title in twelve years.

Terry Glenn had nine catches for 148 yards and Drew Bledsoe completed 31 of the 44 passes he threw, for 379 yards and one touchdown. However, Bledsoe was sacked five times and the Pats had to settle for field goals on their first three trips to the red zone. In the third quarter the Pats appeared to have scored on a 3-yard pass to Lamont Warren, but the play was waived off due to an illegal motion penalty. Bledsoe did connect on a 4th quarter touchdown pass to Shawn Jefferson, but the squandered opportunities and lack of running game (57 yards on 20 rushes) did them in.


December 12, 2004:
New England Patriots 35, Cincinnati Bengals 28 at Gillette Stadium

David Patten caught five passes for 107 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown, as the Patriots won their sixth in a row to improve their record to 12-1. Corey Dillon rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown against his former team, and the Pats clinched a post-season berth for the third time in four years.

Although they gave up 28 points, the Pats defense played a big part in the win. The D came up with three critical turnovers: Willie McGinest recovered a fumble on the Pats 16-yard line; 11 seconds after Patten’s score Asante Samuel returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 21-7 lead; and in the 4th quarter Troy Brown intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Tom Brady was 18-for-26 for 260 yards and two touchdowns; his other TD was a 17-yard pass to Christian Fauria. Kevin Faulk scored on a 4-yard run while two future Patriots – Chad Johnson and Kelley Washington – caught touchdown passes for the Bengals. Including playoff games it was the 27th win in the last 28 games; the team also set an NFL record by scoring first in their 18th consecutive regular season game.



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December 12, 1915:
Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken

December 12, 1938:
Connie Francis was born in Newark

December 12, 1940:
Dionne Warwick was born East Orange

December 12, 1943:
Dicky Betts (Allman Brothers) was born in West Palm Beach

December 12, 1959:
Sheila E was born in Oakland

December 12, 1967:
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (starring Katharine Hepburn, Tracy Spencer and Sidney Poitier) premiers; film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning two Oscars

December 12, 1970:
The Doors played their final show at the Warehouse in New Orleans

December 12, 1985:
Ian Stewart died; was an original co-founder of the Rolling Stones, playing piano on their albums from 1964 to 1983; also played piano on Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll and Boogie with Stu.





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