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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Patriots Bye Week Notes

Fresh off of the most successful regular season in franchise history, the 2003 AFC East Champion New England Patriots are prepping for the postseason with a first-round playoff bye.

Fresh off of the most successful regular season in franchise history, the 2003 AFC East Champion New England Patriots are prepping for the postseason with a first-round playoff bye. The Patriots finished the 2003 season with the best record in the NFL (14-2), earning the top seed in the AFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Patriots' regular-season journey was a thrilling affair, as the team won 14 of its last 15 games, including the final 12 in a row, to stake claim to its second division crown in three years. As a result, the Patriots earned a first-round playoff bye for the third time in team history and will host a Divisional Playoff Game against Baltimore, Tennessee or Denver on January 10 or 11, 2004.

SETTING THE MARK
In 2003, the Patriots experienced the most regular-season success in team history. The 2003 squad is the first team in franchise history to win 14 regular-season games, besting the previous club mark of 11 wins (accomplished six times, most recently in 2001). New England is the first NFL team to finish the season 14-2 since the 2001 St. Louis Rams. New England is just the third NFL team in the last five seasons (1999-2003) to win 14 games (2001 STL, 1999 JAX).

TOP RECORDS IN CLUB HISTORY

Rec.Pct.Year(s)
14-2.8752003
11-3.7861976
10-3-1.7501964
11-5.6881978, 1985, 1986, 1996, 2001

HOME COOKING
The Patriots finished 8-0 at Gillette Stadium this season, recording the first undefeated home season in team history. New England is now 17-3 in its last 20 home games. The Patriots were 7-1 at home in 1988 and 1985.

RECORD STREAK
The Patriots ended the 2003 season with a 12-game winning streak to finish the season at 14-2. The streak is tied for the third longest season-ending winning streak in NFL history. Every other NFL team to end a season with 12 or more consecutive wins has advanced to play for the league championship. Only three teams in league history have ended a season with more consecutive wins than the Patriots, and only one team has done so in the last 30 years (Denver, 1998). The first 11 wins in the Patriots' streak were all by 14 points or fewer, making them the first team in league history to win so many games by such a narrow margin.

MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS, SINGLE SEASON

WinsTeam, YearPlayoff Result
14Miami, 1972Won Super Bowl VII
13Chicago, 1934Lost in NFL Championship Game
Denver, 1998Won Super Bowl XXXIII
12New England, 2003
Minnesota, 1969Lost Super Bowl IV
Chicago, 1985Won Super Bowl XX

TOUGH "D"
The 2003 Patriots allowed an average of 14.9 points per game, the lowest points-per-game total in franchise history and the lowest in the NFL in 2003. New England allowed a total of 238 points, including a franchise-record three shutouts. In their last six home games, the Patriots allowed an average of 3.7 points per game. The Patriots allowed just one touchdown in their last six games at home as they stopped 74 of their opponents' last 75 drives short of the Gillette Stadium end zone.

FANTASTIC FINISHES
One of the oldest mantras in sports is that it doesn't matter where you start a season, but it does matter where you finish it. The Patriots have done a remarkable job of finishing strong over the past two-plus seasons, as they have compiled a 25-4 (.862) record after November 1 since the 2001 season. In 2001, the Patriots hit their groove as the calendar turned to the 11th month, winning 11 of their last 12 games en route to the Super Bowl XXXVI title.

SeasonPre-11/1Post-11/1Totals
20013-411-114-5*
20023-46-39-7
20036-28-014-2
Totals12-1025-437-14
*-Includes Playoffs

ROLLING START
In 2003, the Patriots used almost enough different starters to field two full teams of offense and defense. New England used 42 different starters in its 16 regular-season games and won the AFC East title with a franchise-best 14-2 record. Players who started for the Patriots missed a total of 103 games because of injuries, and five opening-day starters ended the regular season on injured reserve. New England used a different combination of 22 starters in each game and was only able to start the same offensive lineup in consecutive games on one occasion (Weeks 12-13), using 15 different offensive lineups in the 16 games. On defense, the Patriots used 10 different combinations in their 16 games. Despite the changing lineups, the Patriots and their coaching staff have seamlessly made transitions with multiple starters out of the lineup, winning 12 games in a row and 14 of their last 15 games.

BREAKDOWN OF PATRIOTS STARTERS
GS=Game Started; GM=Game Missed due to injury
42 Different Starters, 103 Games Missed due to Injury

**DEFENSE****GS****GM**
**20 Starters****176****36**
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
B. Hamilton16-
R. Seymour141
J. Green7-
T. Washington106
T. Warren4-
R. Lyle1-
D. Klecko11
LINEBACKER (7)
T. Bruschi16-
R. Phifer15-
M. Vrabel93
W. McGinest112
M. Chatham4-
R. Colvin-IR214
T. Johnson28
CORNERBACK (3)
T. Poole16-
T. Law151
A. Samuel1-
SAFETY (3)
R. Harrison16-
E. Wilson15-
A. Harris1-
**OFFENSE****GS****GM**
**22 Starters****176****67**
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
J. Andruzzi16-
M. Light16-
D. Koppen15-
D. Woody142
T. Ashworth13-
A. Klemm-IR312
M. Compton-IR214
R. Hochstein1-
WIDE RECEIVER (5)
T. Brown104
D. Branch111
D. Patten-IR510
B. Johnson5-
D. Givens53
QUARTERBACK (1)
T. Brady16-
RUNNING BACK (3)
K. Faulk81
A. Smith62
M. Cloud1-
FULLBACK (3)
F. McCrary-IR39
L. Centers37*
P. Pass1-
TIGHT END (2)
C. Fauria14-
D. Graham82

2003 PATRIOTS AWARD WINNERS

Coach Bill BelichickStaples NFL Coach of the Week (Wk.11)
QB Tom BradyAFC Offensive Player of the Week (Wk. 9)
FedEx Air Player of the Week (Wk. 9)
MNF Snickers Hungriest Player (Wk. 9)
LB Tedy Bruschi AFC Defensive Player of the Week (Wk. 2)
AFC Defensive Player of the Week (Wk.14)
TE Daniel GrahamAFC Offensive Player of the Week (Wk. 8)
WR Bethel JohnsonAFC Sp. Teams Player of the Week (Wk. 13)
LB Willie McGinestLevitra Play of the Week (Wk. 13)
AFC Defensive Player of the Week (Wk.16)
CB Asante SamuelPepsi NFL Rookie of the Week (Wk. 3)
Players Inc. Rookie of the Week (Wk. 3)
DL Richard SeymourAFC Sp. Teams Player of the Week (Wk. 7)
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