Patriots Beat the Bills, Clinch the AFC East Title for 10th Straight Season: 'It's a Good Way to Celebrate Christmas'
Posted by: Gronkowski
While the complicated playoff picture continues to unfold, the Patriots did their job by beating the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and clinching their 10th straight AFC East title.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Patriots join the Atlanta Braves as the only franchises from the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL to win at least 10 straight division titles. The Braves won 14 straight from 1991 to 2005, excluding the strike-shortened 1994 season.
AFC EAST CHAMPS FOR THE TENTH STRAIGHT YEAR. #GoPats#GoPats#GoPats pic.twitter.com/hTZoM4yVG1— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 23, 2018
With a final score of 24-12, Brady was 13-of-24 passing with 126 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions, and a 48.3 rating, and the Pats rushed for 275 yards, just two shy of the team record in the Bill Belichick era, according to Boston.com. Sunday’s game at Gillette also marked the 33rd time the Pats have beaten the Bills (over 38 games) since Belichick became coach in 2000.
New England touchdowns came courtesy of Sony Michel, Julian Edelman and James White, while their defense held the Bills to just a field and a single TD late in the fourth quarter.
As for clinching their division for the past decade, "I certainly don't take it for granted," Brady said after the game. "I know how hard it is. I just have a great deal of appreciation for my teammates and coaches that work extremely hard to put us in a position to do a great job. I think when you have a lot of perspective, like I certainly do, I realize that's an incredibly difficult thing to do. And I'm just very grateful."
"It's always a great feeling to win the division. Give our players credit, it's been a tough couple weeks," Belichick added. "It's good to know our season will extend a bit here. It's a good way to celebrate Christmas."
Despite coming off a two-game losing streak, the Pats are now in the No. 2 spot in the AFC thanks to a favor from their Super Bowl LII opponents, the Eagles, who beat the Texans in a nail-biter Sunday.
"Shout out to Nick Foles," safety Duron Harmon said when learning that score, according to ESPN. “Think about the last two years -- Nick Foles plays his best ball in December. He's a competitor. We saw that in the Super Bowl, and leading up to the Super Bowl when he had to take over. He's doing it all over again. I was like 'Come on Nick, show some of that magic we saw last year,'" he added.
The Kansas City Chiefs' late-night loss in Seattle also benefited the Pats as they head into the final game of the season. That meant that the Chiefs failed to clinch their division and home-field advantage and are now relying on a win over the Raiders.
If the Pats beat the Jets they will earn their usual bye week and still be in the running for the top seed. Here’s hoping for a Christmas miracle …
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