FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots clinched their 10th consecutive AFC East championship Sunday, setting them into rare company in professional sports.
A triumph over the Bills would have done it, however, the Patriots didn’t have to wait patiently, clinching once the Dolphins lost. The Patriots continued to win 24-12.
Based on the Elias Sports Bureau, the Patriots combine the Atlanta Braves as the sole franchises out of the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL to win 10 straight division titles.
The 10 straight division names also extends the Patriots’ own NFL record. The la Rams, who won the NFC West for seven straight seasons from 1973 into’7-9, had held that the record until the Patriots struck it in 2016.
Moreover, the Patriots became the first franchise in NFL history to make a playoff berth in 10 consecutive seasons. They had entered Sunday tied with the Dallas Cowboys (1975-83) and Indianapolis Colts (2002-2010) as the only teams to make up for the postseason for nine consecutive seasons.
As the Patriots (10-5) haven’t been as prominent as they’ve been in past seasons under coach Bill Belichick and quarterback tombrady , they snapped a six-game winning series by Sept. 30 to Nov. 4 to give themselves some margin for error.
That pillow division rivals Miami, New York and Buffalo was important as they entered Sunday on the two-game losing series.
Despite the fact that the overall game against the Bills was in order for extended stretches, the Patriots struggled in the passing game, igniting questions of how deep a play off run they may be able to make. However, the shield, helped by some struggles from beginner Bills quarterback Josh Allen and pass-catchers who struggled to hang onto the ball, well complemented a strong Patriots running game.
After their triumph, the Patriots were surely keeping a watch out for the Texans’ last-second loss to the Eagles, which means New England could generate a first-round playoff bye with a win on the Jets next Sunday in the house.
1 person landmark of note: Brady surpassed 4,000 passing yards this season, linking Peyton Manning, Drew Brees along with Philip Rivers while the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in atleast 10 seasons.