FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Gillette Stadium has provided a pretty good homefield advantage for the New England Patriots. Since opening in 2002, the Patriots were 102-20 there (.836 winning percentage) in the regular season entering Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Make that 102-21 following the 33-30 loss on a 48-yard field goal by Graham Gano on the game’s last play.

It was the second home loss in three games this season for New England, not that the players seemed concerned.

“I mean, there are no guarantees and every year is different,” said Tom Brady. “We just haven’t done a good job at home. At the end of the day, I mean, it’s not really where you play, it’s how you play. And road, home, night, day, 1 o’clock, 4 o’clock – it’s really how you play.”

The Patriots have lost two games at home before. In fact, they’ve lost three games at Gillette three times – in the inaugural 2002 season, in 2005 and in 2006. They’ve lost two home games three other times – 2008, 2012 and last year.

The Patriots insist losing at home doesn’t deepen the loss.

“We’ve just got to go out there and play better, whether it’s home or away,” said fullback James Develin. “We’ve just got to execute better and keep improving. We’ve got to get back to work, watch this film and learn from it and be ready to play Thursday night (at Tampa Bay).”

New England’s next home game is a fairly significant one. It’s a Sunday nighter on Oct. 22 against the Atlanta Falcons in a Super Bowl LI rematch. If you recall, New England trailed 28-3 in the third quarter of that one, only to rally and win 34-28 in overtime.

DONT’A HIGHTOWER returned to the Patriots lineup after missing the last two games with a knee injury. Also returning was cornerback Eric Rowe, who missed last week’s game with a groin injury. Rowe left after re-injuring the groin on the first play of the third quarter.

Offensive right tackle Marcus Cannon, who missed last week’s game (ankle/concussion), was also back in the starting lineup.

STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI set a team record when he connected on a 58-yard field goal on the last play of the first half to bring the Patriots within 17-16. His previous best – and the previous team record – was 57 yards, which he did on Oct. 11, 2015 against Dallas. Adam Vinatieri had also kicked a 57-yard field goal for the Patriots, back in 2002 against Chicago.

“It’s one of those kicks where it’s like you have nothing to lose,” said Gostkowski. “You’re not expected to make it, so you kind of have a different attitude going out there. It was set up nice, the wind was behind my back and it was a nice day. But it feels like a foul ball because we wound up losing.

“It took the wind out of my sails.” That was Gostkowski’s 20th field goal of 50 yards or more in his career, most in team history by a long shot. Vinatieri is next with eight.

NO DRAMA for the national anthem Sunday. The Patriots, who had over a dozen players kneel for the national anthem last week in protest of remarks from President Trump, stood on their sideline as a team, right hand across the chest over the heart, left hand on the shoulder of their teammate or coach next to them.

“I thought it was very well thought out and happy we responded that way,” said Brady.

THE PORTLAND Police Department Color Guard presented the colors for the national anthem before the game.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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