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Patriots wrap up AFC East Championship Season

The New England Patriots won their third consecutive AFC East crown in 2005, claiming their fourth division title in five seasons and their sixth division crown in the 12 seasons that Robert Kraft has owned the team. The Patriots finished the season with an overall record of 11-7 and advanced to the divisional playoffs, marking their third straight season of playoff advancement – the longest current streak in the NFL.

PLAYOFF PERFORMERS
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have won at least one playoff game in each of the last three seasons. New England has won three straight AFC East titles, tying the Indianapolis Colts (AFC South) for the NFL's longest streak of consecutive division titles. The Patriots' streak of three straight division titles and three straight seasons with playoff victories have both set franchise records. New England's three straight playoff berths constitute the second longest such streak in the NFL and mark the second time in team history that the team has gone to the playoffs in three straight seasons (also 1996-98).

CONSEC. SEASONS W/ PLAYOFF WINNew England Patriots .........................3
Pittsburgh Steelers............................. 2
Denver Broncos ................................ 1
Washington Redskins ........................ 1
Carolina Panthers............................... 1
Seattle Seahawks.............................. 1

CONSECUTIVE DIVISION TITLESNew England Patriots........................ 3
Indianapolis Colts ...............................3
Seattle Seahawks..............................2
Five Teams ........................................1

SUSTAINING SUCCESSThe Patriots finished the 2005 regular season with a 10-6 record and are the only team in the NFL to have recorded nine or more wins in each of the last five seasons. The Patriots have won four AFC East titles in the last five seasons and in 2005 qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive year, setting a franchise record with a third consecutive division title.

PLAYOFF WINNING STREAKThe Patriots won an all-time NFL record 10 consecutive playoff games, surpassing previous record of nine, held by the 1960s Green Bay Packers teams coached Vince Lombardi. From 2001-05, the Patriots won 10 straight playoff games, including Super Bowls XXXVI (2001 season), XXXVIII (2003 season) and XXXIX (2004 season). The Patriots own the NFL's all-time records in all of the major winning streak categories: consecutive overall wins (21 from 2003-04), consecutive regular-season wins (18 from 2003-04) and consecutive playoff wins (10 from 2001-05).

SUCCESS STORYSince Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, the Patriots have been one of the NFL's elite teams. Over the first 12 years Kraft's ownership, the Patriots own the third highest win total among all NFL teams – a remarkable record considering the fact that the Patriots were a combined 19-61 (.311) in the four years immediately preceding the purchase. Since 2001, the Patriots have been the top team in the NFL, compiling a 68-23 record.

BELICHICK AT A GLANCE

  • Has won three consecutive AFC East titles (2003-05) and has coached the Patriots to four division championships in the last five seasons.
  • Is the only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span.
  • Is the second winningest head coach in NFL playoff history (11-2).
  • Directed New England's pro football record 21-game winning streak (2003-04).
  • Compiled an NFL record 10-game playoff winning streak (2001- 05).
  • Owns the best record of any NFL coach since 2001 (68-23).
  • Led the Patriots to the highest two-year victory total in NFL history (34 wins from 2003-04).
  • Logged more seasons in the NFL than any other current NFL head coach (31).
  • Owns more wins and a higher winning percentage than any head coach in Patriots history (73-34, .682).

ELITE COMPANYBill Belichick is one of nine NFL head coaches to win three or more championships since the league began postseason play in 1933. With the Patriots' victory in Super Bowl XXXIX, Belichick joined an exclusive club in which each of the eight other members has been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

DOMINATING DUOTom Brady and Bill Belichick make up the NFL's winningest head coach-quarterback combination since the AFL-NFL merger 35 years ago, including regular season and playoff games. Brady has started 89 consecutive regular-season and playoff games for the Patriots and the team has compiled a 68-21 record in those games, dating back to Week 3 of the 2001 season.

ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RESULTSThe Patriots have compiled a 17-11 record in their 28 playoff games. New England has qualified for five Super Bowls (XX, XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) and also played in the 1963 AFL Championship Game.

PATRIOTS IN THE PRO BOWLTom Bradyis in his sixth NFL season and has earned his third career Pro Bowl selection, heading to Hawaii for the second consecutive season. The two-time Super Bowl MVP was also named to the Pro Bowl following the 2001 and 2004 seasons. Brady's three Pro Bowl nods tie Vito "Babe" Parilli and Drew Bledsoe for the most selections by a Patriots quarterback. In 2005, Brady led the NFL with a career-high 4,110 passing yards, a number that ranks second on the Patriots' all-time list behind only Drew Bledsoe's franchise-record 4,555 yards (1994). Brady threw a career-high 32 passes of 25 yards or more this season, a figure that tied for the NFL lead (Jake Delhomme). His passer rating of 92.3 was just 0.3 points away from his career high (92.6 in 2004) and ranks third in franchise history.

Richard Seymour was named to his fourth Pro Bowl and has earned his fourth consecutive trip to Hawaii, becoming the first Patriots player to earn as many as four straight nods since tight end Ben Coates was named to five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1994-98. Seymour's four Pro Bowl seasons are the most by any Patriots defensive lineman since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and he is one of just nine Patriots to earn four or more Pro Bowl selections since the merger 36 seasons ago. This season, Seymour played in 12 games and recorded 69 tackles (41 solo). His 4.0 sacks led all Patriots defensive linemen. He missed four games due to injury and from the time he returned to the lineup on Nov. 13 until the end of the season, the Patriots allowed just 14.8 points per game while recording a 6-2 record.

2005 AWARDS AND HONORSChairman and CEO Robert Kraft
2006 NCAA Theodore Roosevelt Award

Head Coach Bill BelichickPeter King's SI.com Coach of the Week – Wk 13

OL Tom AshworthPeter King's SI.com Offensive Player of the Week – Wk 15

QB Tom BradySports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year
AFC Pro Bowl
FedEx Express NFL Player of the Year Finalist
AFC Offensive Player of the Week – Wk 5
Pro Football Weekly Offensive Player of the Week - Wk 5
Vic Carucci's All-Vic Team – NFL.com

LB Tedy BruschiAssociated Press NFL Co-Comeback Player of the Year
2005 Ed Block Courage Award
AFC Defensive Player of the Week – Wk 8
NFL.com's All-Interview Team
USA Today's All-Joe Team

QB Doug FlutieAFC Special Teams Player of the Week – Wk 17

LB Willie McGinestPatriots 12th Player Award
Peter King's SI.com Def. Player of the Week – Wild Card Playoff

S James SandersPeter King's SI.com Sp. Teams Player of the Week – Wk 13

DL Richard SeymourAFC Pro Bowl
AP All-Pro First Team
Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-Pro First Team
NFL.com's All-Interview Team
Dr. Z's All-Pro Team – Sports Illustrated

K Adam VinatieriAFC Special Teams Player of the Week – Wk 3
Pro Football Weekly Sp. Teams Player of the Week - Wk 3
NFL.com's All-Interview Team

LB Mike VrabelUSA Today's All-Joe Team

2006 PATRIOTS OPPONENTSIn 2006, the Patriots will play each of the other AFC East teams twice and one game against each of the teams from the AFC South and the NFC North. The Patriots will also play the firstplace teams from the AFC West (DEN) and the AFC North (CIN).

Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions.

Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings.

SPREADING THE WEALTHThe Patriots had 12 players catch at least one touchdown pass from Tom Brady this season, tying an NFL record for the greatest touchdown distribution by a quarterback (Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Brad Johnson, 2003). The mark bested New England's old team record of 11 players catching a scoring pass, set by Brady in 2002. New England's dozen scorers of receiving touchdowns break down as follows: 6 wide receivers; 3 tight ends; 1 running back; 1 linebacker; 1 offensive tackle.

DOMINATING DEFENSEOver a three-game span from Dec. 4-17, the Patriots allowed a total of just 10 points, setting a franchise record for the fewest number of points allowed during any three-game span. New England's defense allowed just one touchdown and one field goal over that span. One of the keys to the Patriots' defensive dominance was their ability to shut down the run, allowing an average of just 28.3 rushing yards per game in the three contests.

RECORDING SUCCESSTom Brady has quarterbacked the Patriots to victories in 58 of his 78 career regular-season games, compiling a .744 winning percentage and giving him the best record of any active quarterback in the NFL who has at least two full seasons of starts under his belt. Including his 10-1 record in the playoffs, he is 68-21 (.764) as a starter.

AMONG THE LEADERSTom Brady completed one of the most statistically productive seasons by a quarterback in franchise history. Brady led the NFL with a career-high 4,110 passing yards in 2005, a number that ranks second in franchise history. Brady joined Drew Bledsoe as the only passers in team history to break the 4,000-yard barrier. Additionally, Brady compiled a passer rating of 92.3 in 2005, a rating that was just shy of his career high (92.6 in 2004) and ranks third in team history.

CAREER WINNING PERCENTAGETom Brady is the second winningest quarterback in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966) among signal callers who have made at least 40 starts. He is one of just three quarterbacks in the Super Bowl Era to own a career winning percentage above 70 percent. Brady joins Roger Staubach and Joe Montana in the exclusive club. A list placing Brady's accomplishments in a historical perspective is below.

SCORING MACHINECorey Dillon led the Patriots with 13 touchdowns in 2005 (12 rushing, 1 receiving), and tied for fifth in the NFL in scoring among non-kickers. Dillon's 13 touchdowns are tied for third on the Patriots' single-season list and tie his personal career high, also established last season.

NEON DEIONWide receiver Deion Branch established new career highs with 78 receptions and 998 receiving yards in 2005. The 78 receptions for the Super Bowl XXXIX Most Valuable Player are the most by a Patriot since 2002, when Troy Brown grabbed 97 passes. Branch's 998 yards rank ninth in single-season franchise history and are the most for a Patriots receiver since 2001, when Troy Brown totaled 1,199 yards. Branch also set a career high in 2005 with five touchdown receptions.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

CONSECUTIVE STREAKS

8
The number of consecutive home playoff games the Patriots have won since dropping a 31-14 decision to the Houston Oilers at Schaefer Stadium on Dec. 31, 1978.

3
The number of consecutive AFC East championships the Patriots have won, setting a franchise record.

3
The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have won at least one playoff game. It's the longest current streak in the NFL and establishes a franchise record

3
The number of consecutive seasons the Patriots have qualified for the playoffs, tying a franchise record (1996-98).

89
Consecutive regular-season and playoff games in which Tom Brady has started at quarterback, the longest starting streak on the team.

46
Consecutive regular-season and playoff games in which Willie McGinest has started at outside linebacker, the longest consecutive starts streak on the Patriots defense.

49
The number of consecutive regular season games the Patriots have played without recording back-to-back losses.

260
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.

125
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.

DIGGING DEEP – OFFENSE

71.7%
The Patriots' third-down conversion percentage on third-and-short (three or fewer yards to go) in the 2005 regular season, a mark that tied for the NFL lead (Seattle). The Patriots were 38-for-53 when they faced a third-and-three or less.

100%
The percentage of time the Patriots scored a touchdown when they had a first-and-goal situation from the five-yard line or closer. New England scored on all 16 such opportunities and was one of just three NFL teams (Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay) to score touchdowns on all of their chances in 2005.

62
The number of pass plays of 20 yards or more that the Patriots completed in 2005. That figure ranked second in the NFL behind only the Arizona Cardinals (63). Kansas City ranked third with 51 such plays.

1,919
The number of yards after the catch gained by Patriots receivers in 2005, leading the NFL. Arizona ranked second with 1,844 yards after the catch.

DIGGING DEEP – DEFENSE

1
The number of rushing plays of more than 20 yards allowed by the Patriots in 2005, giving up the fewest such plays in the NFL.

56
The total number of first-half points allowed by the Patriots during the second half of the season, the second fewest in the NFL (Denver, 52).

8.5
The average number of points that the Patriots had allowed entering the fourth quarter during the second half of the season (since Nov. 13), ranking second in the NFL (Denver, 7.25).

SOLID DOWN THE STRETCH

32-6
Tom Brady's career record in games played on Thanksgiving or later in the NFL season (.842 winning percentage), including playoff games.

22
The number of victories the Patriots have earned in their last 26 post-Thanksgiving games, including playoff games, dating back to the 2002 season finale.

16-2
The Patriots' overall record in games played after Christmas Day since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000.

HOME SWEET HOME

30-6
The Patriots' all-time record at Gillette Stadium, the best record of any NFL team in its home stadium since it opened in 2002 (.833 winning pct). The record includes a 4-0 playoff mark.

15.67
The average number of points per game the Patriots have allowed at Gillette Stadium, the best mark in the NFL since 2002.

68.25
Patriots opponents' field goal percentage at Gillette Stadium, the lowest in the NFL since 2002 (43-63).

83.56
Adam Vinatieri's field goal percentage at Gillette Stadium (61-73), 15 percent better than Patriots opponents.

ICE MEN

21-1
Tom Brady's career record as a starter when the game-time temperature is less than 40 degrees (including playoffs).

13
The number of times Brady has not thrown an interception in his 21 starts when the game-time temperature is less than 40.

25-3
The Patriots' record since 1993 when the game-time temperature is 35 degrees or less (.893 winning percentage).

21-2
The Patriots' record since 1993 when the game-time temperature is 34 degrees or less (.913 winning percentage).

15-1
The Patriots' record since 1993 when the game-time temperature is 30 degrees or less (.938 winning percentage).

AVOIDING THE HOLIDAY RUSH

31.3
The average number of rushing yards per game allowed by the Patriots during the month of December, 2005.

21
New England's NFL rank for rush defense entering the month of December, 2005 (averaging 118.8 ypg).

4
New England's NFL rank for rush defense following their four December 2005 games.

29
The highest rushing yardage total by an opposing running back in December 2005 (Curtis Martin, NYJ, on 15 carries on Dec. 4).

14
The total number of rushing yards the Buffalo Bills gained against the Patriots on Dec. 11, the second fewest rushing yards allowed by the Patriots in team history.

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