Vinny sets Longevity TD Record

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    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Vinny on mark: Late TD adds to record
    By John Tomase
    Boston Herald Sports Writer

    Monday, January 1, 2007 - Updated: 05:41 AM EST

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Bill Belichick pooh-poohed the question during the week, but his actions betrayed him yesterday.

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    The Patriots [team stats] coach inserted 43-year-old quarterback Vinny Testaverde [stats] into a 33-23 game with two minutes left in the fourth quarter and the ball at the Tennessee 36-yard line. He then called three straight pass plays, enabling Testaverde to extend his own little piece of history.

    Testaverde followed a 23-yard strike to Chad Jackson with a 6-yard score to Troy Brown [stats], giving Testaverde a touchdown pass for an NFL-record 20th straight season.

    “That’s not why I came here,” Testaverde said. “I didn’t come here to throw another touchdown. I came here to get a ring.”

    His teammates and coaches seemed pretty excited about the score. In a scene reminiscent of Doug Flutie’s dropkick during last year’s finale, the Patriots streamed onto the field following Testaverde’s toss. Belichick thrust both arms over his head.

    “We had the chance down there for Vinny to have a shot at the end zone, so I wanted to give it to him,” Belichick said. “I think he deserves that.”

    Testaverde said that during Saturday’s walkthrough, Belichick sent him out to play QB on the goal line, with the possibility of throwing a pass.

    When he actually entered the game, the situation was a little different. He overthrew Brown on his first attempt, then hit Jackson with a catch-and-run up the left sideline that the rookie nearly took the distance.

    “I think on my first pass I threw it high and hard,” Testaverde said. “It was no coincidence. I was excited to get in there and run a play. This year all I was doing was taking a knee and I was fine with that, but it was exciting to get in there and play. To throw a TD on top was icing on the cake.”

    Testaverde extends the record he set last year against the Pats while with the Jets. Fran Tarkenton and Johnny Unitas threw touchdowns in 18 straight seasons.

    Testaverde’s teammates could not have been more excited to see him connect with the 35-year-old Brown.

    “I’m giddy about the oldest pass reception tandem in the league,” said defensive lineman Ty Warren [stats]. “I think it’s 100 years of experience between the two of them.”

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