2003 New England Pats season, statistics, and players, as well as the schedule and results, can be found on this site.
The team's 34th season in the National Football League, the 44th overall and the 4th under head coach Bill Belichick was the 2003 New England Pats season.They won the Super Bowl after finishing with a league-best 14–2 record.
After winning Super Bowl XXXVI, the Pats missed out on the playoffs in 2002.In a salary cap-related move, Lawyer Milloy was released five days before the start of the regular season, prompting second-guessing of head coach Bill Belichick among some fans and a report by Tom Jackson that the players hated their coach.The Bills defeated the Pats, 31–0, in the season opener.After starting the season with a 2–2 record, the Pats rebounded.Due to injuries, the Pats started 42 different players during the season, an NFL record for a division winner until the team started 45 players in 2005.Ted Washington, the nose tackle, came up with the phrase "Homeland Defense" for the defense after they gave up a league-low 14.9% points per game.The regular season ended with a 31–0 victory over the Bills at home in Week 17.The 14–2 season was a club record and the first time in the history of the club that they ever won more than 11 games in a season.
After a first-round bye in the playoffs, the Pats faced the Tennessee Titans at home and won, setting up a game against the Indianapolis Colts.Four times, the Colts quarterback was picked off by the top-seeded Pats, who went on to win 24–14 and advance to the Super Bowl.With a tied game late in the fourth quarter, Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal with seconds remaining, giving the Pats their second Super Bowl victory in three seasons.
At the time of the first public training camp practice at Gillette Stadium on July 24, they had the maximum of 80 players signed to their roster.There were seven roster exemptions for the NFL Europe allocations of the Pats.Before the start of training camp, the players who were allocated to NFL Europe and received roster exemptions for them were released.Stephen Neal didn't count against the roster limit because he did not sign his tender until after camp began.
Milloy was at the Bills game in Buffalo after signing a deal with the team.Drew Bledsoe threw for one touchdown while Tom Brady was picked off four times; in the second quarter defensive lineman Sam Adams ran an intercept back for a touchdown; a still from Adams' run was used for the cover.Brady was sacked twice by Milloy.The last time the Pats had a sub 500 record was when they were 1–2 after their first three games of the 2012 season.It was the team's most recent regular season opening loss.Their last loss was in week 14 of the 2006 season.It is Brady's worst loss to date.
Tom Brady had 30 completions in 44 attempts for 257 yards and three touchdown, two of which were to Christian Fauria and one to Deion Branch, as the Pats beat the Eagles to get their first win of the season.He was sacked eight times and limited to just 18 completions in 46 throws, and he was picked off twice.Even though no effort had ever been made to verify what Tom Jackson had said, the Pats came into the game after hearing that he hated their coach.Chris Berman is a friend of Bill Belichick and the coach refused to speak to anyone connected with the network after the comment.
The home opener was against the Jets.It was the first game against New England since 2002 when Chad Pennington was injured in the preseason, and the future Pats starter, Vinny Testaverde, had to take over.The Jets running game was shut down in the 2002 game and it didn't do much better this time around, totalling just 65 yards and 53 of them coming from Martin.Kevin Faulk and Antowain Smith rushed for 134 yards and Tom Brady threw for 181 yards, but until the final five minutes of the third quarter it was a battle of field goals.At the start of the fourth, Asante Samuel picked off Testaverde and ran back a 55 yard touchdown.The rest of the thirteen minutes went without a connection as the Pats took the win.
Steve Spurrier became the last football coach to defeat the New England team when the Redskins raced to a 20–3 lead in the third quarter.Tom Brady was picked off twice in the red zone, once by Champ Bailey, and Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal for the first time this year.The ground game was led by Trung Canidate's 70 yards and resulted in two touchdown runs by Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright.It was enough to hold off two late Brady scores.
The game was the beginning of a 21-game winning streak for the Pats.Brady threw for a modest 219 yards and a 58-yard touchdown in his return from a shoulder injury.The game lead changed seven times as Steve McNair threw for over 300 yards and rushed for two scores, while Antowain Smith and Mike Cloud both scored three times, and a 71-yard kick return by Bethel Johnson set up Cloud's second touchdown.The decisive score came when Ty Law picked off McNair and ran 65 yards for a touchdown, even though he was ruled out of bounds inside the 5-yard line.There was a stir on the sideline and in the radio booth because of the fan cheering for the Red Sox-Oakland A's playoff game.
Game Four of the 2003 ALCS was postponed because of a rainstorm.A missed field goal was the result of the first throw by Kerry Collins.Matt Chatham ran in a 30-yard touchdown after Tiki Barber was hit and fumbled.Collins was picked off four times.
Brady threw a touchdown pass to David Givens in the third quarter to give the Pats a lead they wouldn't give up.The Dolphins marched down the field late in the fourth after the Pats protested a Ricky Williams first down run, but the challenge was denied.Richard Seymour blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt by the Dolphins at the two-minute warning.The game went to overtime after the Dolphins smothered the Pats' final drive and Buckley stopped Kevin Faulk for a four-yard loss.On the coin flip for overtime, the referee used a silver dollar, but Brady and Seymour protested that it came uptails.After forcing a New England punt, the Dolphins drove down the field but missed another 35-yard field goal try because the infield dirt was still in place because of the Florida Marlins' run towards their 2003 World Series victory.Brady ended the game with a 82-yard touchdown strike to Troy Brown.
Adam Vinatieri missed his fifth field goal of the season and the Pats could only muster three field goals.Ty Law picked off Kelly Holcomb, this was Law's second pick off of the season.Holcomb was sacked three times by the New England team.The rule used in New England's 2001 game against the Raiders was used to overturn a fumbled ball during the game.
The Broncos had beaten the Pats in 13 of the teams' previous meetings, and the only time the two teams met this season was on Monday Night Football.The Broncos held a 24–23 lead in the fourth with backup quarterback Danny Kanell starting.Backed up to their one-yard line, the Pats were forced to punt, but with little room to work, they snapped the ball through the endzone for a safety.The Broncos were pinned near their own goal line on the ensuing free kick.Tom Brady hit David Givens with an 18-yard touchdown strike in the final two minutes.Kanell threw a long pass that was picked off by Samuel at the end of the game.
The Cowboys were defeated for only the second time in their history.Both teams entered the Sunday Night Football contest at 7–2 and the game was the first clash between Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells, the coach he worked under for many years.Three Quincy Carter intercepts, two by Ty Law, proved decisive as the Cowboys gained only 291 yards of offense.Two Adam Vinatieri field goals and a two-yard Antowain Smith touchdown were marred by a blocked PAT.The team continued their winning streak with a 12–0 win.
The Pats traveled to Houston to face their future defensive coach Dom Capers and lost 31–6 at the Astrodome.Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal at the end of the first half, his first miss inside a dome in his career.Tony Banks scored three times in the second half as the Texans' defense forced a couple of turnovers.At the Texan's 4-yard line, Brady was chased out of the pocket and threw a pass that Daniel Graham caught in the endzone.Ramon Walker blocked a field goal attempt by Vinatieri in overtime.Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal with 41 seconds left in overtime to give the Pats a 23–20 win.It was the last time New England would trail in a game until Super Bowl XXXVIII, which took place in Houston as well.
The beginning of the most celebrated quarterback rivalry in NFL history was marked by this game.The Colts and the Pats met for the first time since 2002 when the Colts were realigned into the new AFC South.Two teams with nine wins had met before, and they stood at 9–2.Mike Cloud and Dedric Ward both scored in the second quarter.After a Manning touchdown to Marcus Pollard with 12 seconds left in the first half, Johnson ran back the ensuing kick 92 yards for a touchdown.The Colts tied the game at 31 at 4:39 of the fourth after two Brady picks gave them touchdown drives.Brady to Deion Branch touchdown was set up by another monster Johnson kick return, but after Kevin Faulk fumbled and Mike Vanderjagt kicked a field goal, the score stood at 38–34.The Colts drove to the goalline in the final minute after a short Ken Walter punt.A heroic goalline stand led by Willie McGinest and Ted Washington stopped the Colts from scoring and the win left a lot of people shaken.The teams combined for 582 yards of offense.
A snowstorm that dumped over a foot of snow on the area forced the Dolphins to travel to Foxboro to face the Pats.The only points of the first three quarters came when Adam Vinatieri hit a 29-yard field goal.Vinatieri missed a 54-yard field goal at the end of the first half that would have given the Pats a bigger lead.The Dolphins had a chance to score on their first possession of the second half, but Jay Fiedler was strip-sacked and Mike Vrabel recovered the ball for the Pats.In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins would be pinned at their own 4-yard line by the new punter, who replaced Ken Walter.Tedy Bruschi returned Fiedler's first pass for a touchdown.The play became notable more for the fans' celebration afterwards, as they would throw the fallen snow in the air in a form of "snow fireworks."At the two-minute warning, Brady would pooch-punt and pin the Dolphins at their own 1-yard line; Fiedler was sacked a few plays later for a safety that sealed a 12–0 victory and the division title.
Jacksonville's 1998 playoff win over New England was the first time the two teams faced each other.Kevin Johnson caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter, which was the first home touchdown allowed by the Pats since Week Five.Two Tom Brady touchdown throws, an Antowain Smith rushing score, and two Vinatieri field goals were enough for a 27–13 victory for the Pats.
The 6–8 Jets were coming off a 6–0 win over Pittsburgh the week before, while the 12–2 Pats were facing Chad Pennington for the first time since a 30–17 Jets win in 2002.David Givens' 35-yard score was set up by the pick off of Pennington.Pennington tied the game on a one-yard run late in the first quarter, but Willie McGinest picked him off at his own 15 and scored on the next possession.The score was only 21–16 after a second Pennington rushing score and a missed two-point try.Pennington was picked off for the fifth time in the final minutes of the game.New England will play the Bills again in the season finale.
The Bills blanked the Pats 31–0 in September.Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes in the first half and despite Lawyer Milloy hitting his legs, the Pats still won.Adam Vinatieri hit a field goal in the fourth.Drew Bledsoe never got on track and was pulled in the fourth quarter for Travis Brown, who was thrown into the endzone by Larry Izzo.The season ended with a 31–0 win by the Pats.
In one of the most frigid games in league history, the Pats were able to survive thanks to Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter.
Tom Brady's first pass attempt was a 19-yard completion to Kevin Faulk.The defensive scheme confused him and caused him to burn a timeout, but it was well spent.He threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.McNair moved the ball to the New England 22-yard line with completions to Mason and George.A roughing the passer penalty on Richard Seymour gave the Tennessee offense a first down on the New England 9-yard line.Chris Brown scored a 5-yard touchdown run two plays later.
Brady completed two passes to Dedric Ward for 30 yards on the ensuing drive.The drive ended with no points when Vinatieri missed a field goal, but on the next play, safety Rodney Harrison picked off a pass and returned it 7 yards to the New England 43-yard line.Brady completed four of six passes for 49 yards and rushed for 3 on the way to a 1-yard touchdown run by Antowain Smith that gave him the lead less than two minutes into the second quarter.The Titans drove 51 yards in nine plays to the 13-yard line, with a 29-yard completion from McNair to Mason.Gary Anderson's field goal attempt was blocked by the New England defense.
In the third quarter, McNair led a 70 yard scoring drive, completing 5 consecutive passes for 59 yards, and capping it off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Mason.In the fourth quarter, Troy Brown's 10-yard punt return gave the Pats a great field position at the 40-yard line.Vinatieri made a 46-yard field goal as time expired to give New England a 17–14 lead.
The Titans took the kick off and drove to the line.They were pushed back 20 yards by two penalties and a 10-yard intentional grounding call.After the 11-yard completion on the next play, Drew Bennett dropped a potential first down catch on fourth down and 12 and the Titans turned the ball over on downs.
New England's defense dominated the Colts, only allowing 14 points, intercepting 4 passes from Manning, recording 4 sacks, and forcing a safety.Vinatieri's 5 field goals made up for the difference as the Pats won, 24–14, to advance to their second Super Bowl appearance in 3 seasons.
The ball was moved 65 yards in 13 plays on the first drive after the opening kick off.Tom Brady completed four passes to receiver David Givens for 40 yards on the drive, including a 7-yard touchdown pass, and converted a fourth down on his own 44-yard line with a 2-yard run.Manning drove the Colts to the 5-yard line, but on third down and 3, his pass was picked off by Harrison in the end zone.After Vinatieri's field goal increased their lead to 10–0, the Pats drove 67 yards to the Colts 13-yard line.
The Colts didn't score in the second quarter.Law returned Manning's pass 6 yards to the 41-yard line on the first play after the kick.The first Vinatieri field goal gave the Pats a 1–0 lead.Brady completed three passes for 42 yards on the drive, including a 17-yarder to Givens and a 16-yard completion to Troy Brown.The Colts were forced to punt on their next drive for the first time in the playoffs.They were out of practice because the snap from center Justin Snow sailed over the head of Hunter Smith.Smith was forced to knock the ball out of bounds for a safety after it went into the end zone.
The Colts had a chance to score when David Macklin recovered a fumbled ball by Johnson three plays after the free kick.But five plays later, Marvin Harrison forced a turnover while tackling Harrison.
The Colts finally gained some traction in the third quarter, after trailing 15–0 at halftime.Dominic Rhodes gave them a great field position by returning the second half kickoff 35 yards to the 49-yard line.Then running back Edgerrin James spearheaded a 52 yard scoring drive, carrying the ball on 7 of 12 plays for 32 yards and capping it off with a 2-yard touchdown run to cut the score to 15–7.The rest of the period was taken over by the patriots.After Patrick Pass returned the ensuing kick 21 yards to the 43-yard line, Brady completed passes to Larry Centers for 28 yards, Brown for 17 and Kevin Faulk for 8 to set up Vinatieri's third field goal.Indianapolis was forced to punt after three plays.Antowain Smith ran four times for 53 yards on New England's next possession and Vinatieri kicked his fourth field goal.Law picked off Manning on the Colts' 31-yard line two plays after the kick off.The Pats failed to score because defensive back Walt Harris picked off a Brady pass in the end zone.
The Colts drove 57 yards after the turnover.Manning threw his third interception to Law in the fourth quarter.After forcing a punt, Manning led the Colts back, completing 8 of 9 passes for 64 yards and finishing the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Pollard.The Colts forced a punt after failing to recover their onside kick.The Colts turned the ball over on downs after the defense limited Manning to four incompletions.After making Indianapolis use up all of their timeouts, Vinatieri's 5th field goal increased the lead to 24–14.The Colts attempted one last desperation drive, but ended up turning the ball over on downs again with 7 seconds left in the game.The team advanced to their second Super Bowl in three years with a 24-14 win.
Brady completed 22 of 37 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown.Smith ran for 100 yards.Pollard caught 6 passes for 90 yards.Rhodes caught two passes for 17 and returned five kicks for 121 yards.
The Colts players publicly complained that the game officials did not properly call illegal contact, pass interference, and defensive holding penalties.The NFL instructed its officials to strictly enforce these types of fouls after this and similar complaints were made.
The first half was a defensive struggle, with neither team able to score until late in the second quarter, despite several early scoring opportunities for New England.Troy Brown gave his team a great field position after Carolina was forced to punt on their opening drive.Carolina kept the Pats out of the end zone and Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal.After forcing Carolina to punt, the Pats were able to get the ball with a great field position, receiving Todd Sauerbrun's 40-yard punt at the 49-yard line.On third down, Will Witherspoon tackled Brown for a 10-yard loss on an end-around play, pushing the New England out of field goal range.Carolina kept New England out of the end zone and Vinatieri's field goal attempt was blocked as the Pats tried to score in the second half.
Jake Delhomme was sacked three times, fumbled once, and was only able to complete one out of his first nine passes.3 plays after Vinatieri's second missed field goal, Delhomme lost the ball while being sacked by Mike Vrabel, and Richard Seymour recovered the Carolina ball at the 20-yard line.Tom Brady scrambled 12 yards to the 5-yard line for a first down after New England faced a third down and 7.Brady threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch.
Branch's touchdown came after 26:55 had elapsed in the game, setting the record for the longest amount of time a Super Bowl remained blank.The play set off a scoring explosion for both teams at the end of the first half.
On their ensuing possession, the Carolinas drove 95 yards in 8 plays and tied the game on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Delhomme to Steve Smith.
The Pats responded with a 78-yard scoring drive of their own.Brady started from their own 22-yard line and completed a pass to David Givens.After throwing an incompletion, Brady threw a long pass to Branch, who caught it in stride before being tackled at the 14-yard line.With only 18 seconds left in the half, Givens caught a 5-yard touchdown from Brady to give New England a 14–7 lead.The Carolina tight end picked up the ball at his own 35-yard line and returned it for a touchdown to give the Carolina a 14-7 lead.Stephen Davis ran for 21 yards on the next play to set up the field goal as time expired in the first half.
Both teams exchanged punts in the third quarter.With 3:57 left in the period, the Pats put together a 71-yard, 8-play scoring drive featuring tight end Daniel Graham's 33-yard reception to advance to the Carolina 9-yard line.Antowain Smith capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run on the second play of the final period to increase their lead.This was the start of another scoring explosion, one that became one of the biggest explosions in Super Bowl history, with both teams scoring a combined 37 points in the last 15 minutes, the most ever in a single quarter.
Delhomme started out Carolina's drive with a 13-yard completion to Muhammad.After committing a false start on the next play, Delhomme completed a pair of passes to Smith for 18 and 22 yards.After Delhomme's 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete, running back DeShaun Foster scored on a 33-yard touchdown run.The drive ended when Brady's third down pass was picked off by Reggie Howard in the end zone.On 3rd down from his own 15-yard line, Delhomme threw for the longest play from scrimmage in Super Bowl history, an 85-yard touchdown completion to Muhammad.Carolina took their first lead of the game, 22–21, after their failed 2-point conversion attempt.
New England took the lead on their next drive with the aid of a pair of completions from Brady to Givens for gains of 18 and 25 yards.Once again, the Pats were faced with third down and goal, but this time they scored with Brady's 1-yard pass to Vrabel, who had lined up in an eligible tight end position.Kevin Faulk ran into the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt to make the score 29–22.Kevin's two-point conversion was the only point he scored all season.
They countered on their next possession.Foster started the drive with runs of 9 and 7 yards.Delhomme threw a 19-yard pass to Muhammad, followed by a 31 yard completion to Ricky Proehl.Proehl caught the game-tying touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXVI for the St. Louis Rams and finished the drive with a 12-yard reception.The game would have been the first Super Bowl ever to go into overtime if the extra point had not been made.
New England was given the ball on their own 40-yard line after Kasay kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds.Brady calmly led the offense down the field with a 13-yard pass to Brown.An offensive pass interference penalty on Brown pushed New England back to their own 43-yard line, but another 13-yard reception to Brown and a 4-yard pass to Graham brought up a critical 3rd down and 3 from the Carolina 40- yard line.Brady completed a 17-yard pass to Branch on the first play from scrimmage.Vinatieri kicked a 41-yard field goal with four seconds left in the game to give New England a 32–29 lead.The Carolinas failed on their last chance, as Rod Smart failed to return the kick, and the New Englands won their second Super Bowl in three years.Four Super Bowls have been decided on field goals in the final seconds.Super Bowl XXV was won by Jim O'Brien on a last second kick as Scott Norwood missed his field goal attempt.