5 Patriots’ Banner Night Games Have All Been Thrillers

Gillette Stadium

Getty The Patriots have hosted five previous banner ceremonies at Gillette Stadium.

For the sixth time at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, the New England Patriots will raise a Super Bowl banner to open a season. There will, of course, be fireworks, live musical performances, and a new banner atop Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots have played some tight contests on banner night in the past, including a pair against Pittsburgh and a thriller against Indianapolis.

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Here’s how those five prior banner nights have gone.

2002 vs Pittsburgh

In the first regular-season game at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots hosted the Steelers in a rematch of the 2001 AFC Championship Game. A tight game at halftime, the Patriots scored 17 points in the third quarter en route to a 30-14 win. The Patriots’ defense forced five turnovers in the game.

That season, the Patriots opened up as the final game on the Week 1 slate. Hosting the Steelers on Monday Night Football, a rarity in Foxborough at the time, New England opened up what would be a 9-7 season on Tom Brady’s first opening night as a starter.

2004 vs Indianapolis

Another AFC Championship Game rematch, the Patriots hosted Peyton Manning and the Colts in a meeting between two of the league’s best teams. The Patriots trailed by four at the half, but took a 27-17 lead after three quarters on two third-quarter touchdown passes by Brady.

The Colts inched within three before Mike Vanderjagt missed a 48-yard field goal that would have tied the game. He had hit 42 straight field goals and even taunted the New England bench before the miss. The Patriots won, 27-24, and went onto win the Super Bowl again that season.

2005 vs Oakland

In the first meeting between the teams since the infamous ‘Tuck Rule’ game, New England struggled against Randy Moss and the Raiders offense. Moss shredded the Patriots with five catches on 15 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown.

The game was close until Corey Dillon ripped off a pair of scoring runs in the third and fourth quarters to blow it open in a 30-20 win. It was the second straight Thursday opener for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

2015 vs Pittsburgh

It took a decade for the Patriots to revive their dynasty. In the first game at Gillette since the ‘Deflategate’ debacle, Tom Brady threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Rob Gronkowski.

The Patriots defense struggled to contain Ben Roethlisberger but did enough to limit the Steelers in New England territory. Pittsburgh finished the Thursday night contest with 464 yards of total offense in a 28-21 New England victory.

2017 vs Kansas City

This was the first loss for the Patriots on banner night against an upstart Chiefs team. Kansas City gained 537 yards of offense including 148 rushing yards by Kareem Hunt and 133 receiving yards by Tyreek Hill.

New England led 27-21 entering the fourth quarter before the wheels came off with three Kansas City touchdowns. Kareem Hunt caught a 78-yard touchdown early then ran for a 4-yard score. Charcandrick West capped it off with a 21-yard score in a 42-27 win.

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