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Patriots’ 24-3 loss against the Rams ends one of the greatest streaks in NFL history

Related: Patriots vs Rams recap: New England’s season all but over after 24-3 loss

New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After fighting their way back to .500 last week, the New England Patriots suffered a crushing defeat against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night. The team’s 24-3 loss — one that featured an offense unable to generate any momentum and a defense incapable of stopping the run — did not just immensely hurt the Patriots’ already slim playoff hopes, it also ended one of the most impressive streaks the NFL has ever seen.

Yes, for the first time since the 2002 season, New England will not finish with at least 10 victories.

The organization’s 17-year streak was the longest in league history, and one that was set last year when the Patriots broke a tie with the San Francisco 49ers (1983-1998). The fact that all of that happened in the salary cap era as opposed to much of the 49ers’ run, made that series even more impressive. Add that it furthermore featured five of the organization’s six Super Bowl wins, and you get a streak for the ages.

With it now over, however, let’s take a look back — beginning with a 2002 season that saw new England miss the playoffs despite tying the best record in the AFC East at 9-7. From that point on, the club led by head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady went on a roll:

  • 2002: 9-7
  • 2003: 14-2*
  • 2004: 14-2*
  • 2005: 10-6
  • 2006: 12-4
  • 2007: 16-0
  • 2008: 11-5
  • 2009: 10-6
  • 2010: 14-2
  • 2011: 13-3
  • 2012: 12-4
  • 2013: 12-4
  • 2014: 12-4*
  • 2015: 12-4
  • 2016: 14-2*
  • 2017: 13-3
  • 2018: 11-5*
  • 2019: 12-4
  • 2020: 6-7

* denotes Super Bowl win

While the Patriots can still get back to that 9-7 record they had in 2002, another 10-win season is no longer an option following Sunday’s loss in Los Angeles. Ending the regular season with 9-7, however, is also far from a safe bet: it is only an option if the team wins out by beating all of its division rivals over the next three weeks. Given that the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills will still play for postseason positioning in Weeks 15 and 16, wins are very much not guaranteed.

It therefore remains to be seen what happens with the rest of the Patriots’ season, but for now we know two things: their season is close to being over, while their unprecedented streak of 10-win campaigns already is.