FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Jan. 7, 2006) Tom Brady, Willie McGinest and the New England Patriots outclassed Jacksonville, setting an NFL record with 10 consectuive postseason victories and sending a warning to the rest of the league.
Watch out, the Patriots look like champions again.
Pursuing an unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl title, New England battered the overmatched Jaguars 28-3. Tom Brady, who has quarterbacked all 10 of those postseason wins, tied a playoff career high with three touchdown passes, and McGinest set an NFL postseason mark with 4? sacks.
He and the rest of the defense, even without NFL co-Comeback Player of the Year Tedy Bruschi, who was in uniform but didn't play because of a calf injury, kept Jacksonville from mounting much of a challenge. The Jaguars (12-5) looked like a team making its first postseason appearance since 1999, and one that faced an easy schedule in compiling such a strong record.
New England's NFL milestone surpassed the nine straight playoff victories by Green Bay in the 1960s and set up a road trip next weekend to either Indianapolis or Denver, depending on the outcome of Sunday's Pittsburgh-Cincinnati matchup.
While Tom Brady had touchdown throws of 11 yards to Troy Brown, 3 to David Givens and 63 to Ben Watson -- the tight end did all the work on that one -- the defense never let Jacksonville's offense breathe. Cornerback Asante Samuel was particularly active with a 73-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter that clinched it.
New England also had six sacks, including the 4? by McGinest, which gave him 16 in the postseason for his career, tying Bruce Smith's league record.
The Patriots (11-5) last lost a playoff game in 1999, to the Jaguars. Since Bill Belichick became coach in 2000, they have won three Super Bowls in four seasons, but never played in the wild-card round until now.
Although they sputtered early, the Patriots were plenty sharp in dominating the second half. They haven't lost a playoff game at home since 1978.
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