FOXBORO, Mass. (AP)—The Patriots gave up a touchdown at home for the first time in five games. Their unbeaten streak is still going strong.
New England beat Jacksonville 27-13 on a snowy Sunday for its 10th consecutive win, even though the Jaguars became the first visitor to reach the end zone in Foxboro in more than two months.
“We are a very prideful defensive unit,” Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson said. “We may not be perfect, but we’re pretty good.”
The Patriots (12-2) are 7-0 at home and extended their club record for consecutive victories overall. They also pushed their streak to 19 quarters without giving up a touchdown in Foxboro before Byron Leftwich threw a 27-yard scoring pass to Kevin Johnson with 3:22 left.
That throw in the snow merely reduced the Patriots’ 21-point lead and kept them from becoming the first team since the 1932 champion Chicago Bears to play five straight home games without allowing a touchdown.
They’ll have to settle for tying the four-game streak of the 1938 New York Giants, who also won the championship.
“They just don’t make mistakes and that’s why they have the record they do,” said Fred Taylor, who managed just 57 yards on 16 carries for Jacksonville.
Steve McNair scored on a 1-yard run with 4:10 left in New England’s 38-30 win over Tennessee on Oct. 5, the last touchdown the Patriots yielded at home before Sunday.
New England entered the game as the AFC East champion. Jacksonville (4-10) had rebounded well from a 1-7 start and had allowed just 33 points in its previous four games. But it fell to 0-7 on the road.
For the second straight week, an opponent from Florida saw snow in Foxboro. A week earlier, the Patriots clinched the division title with a 12-0 win over Miami after 28 inches of snow had fallen in the area. It stopped midway through the second quarter.
On Sunday, the snow began early in the third quarter and covered the field by the end of the game.
“We had the lead when it really started getting bad and it makes it tougher to throw the ball and hang on to the ball,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said.
It took the Patriots less than six minutes to go ahead, on a 27-yard reception by Daniel Graham, one of Brady’s two scoring passes. Brady completed all six passes on that 66-yard series, the first of the game.
Jacksonville got inside the New England 10-yard line on its first two possessions, but managed just two field goals by Seth Marler, covering 24 and 23 yards.
“When you play a team as good as they are, you’re not going to get many opportunities,” Leftwich said, “so you better take advantage of the ones you’ve got.”
“I was so happy and excited,” said Brown, who led New England in catches last year but missed the last four games with a leg injury. “It felt like forever since I caught a ball in a game.”
The Jaguars’ first offensive play was a 67-yard completion to the Patriots 9 from Leftwich to Jimmy Smith.
“That was just one play,” Jimmy Smith said. “You make your statement over the course of the ballgame.”
On their next series, Leftwich completed all four passes for 47 yards.
But New England stopped Jacksonville at the 5 both times before Marler’s field goals.
“In the red zone, there’s a sense of urgency,” Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. “Maybe it’s because we feel we’re running out of room, so we need to focus that much harder.”
Adam Vinatieri kicked field goals of 22 and 31 yards as the Patriots led 13-6 at halftime.
The Patriots had won their previous two home games, against Dallas and Miami, 12-0, and had 10 straight shutout quarters before Marler’s field goal with 7:41 gone in the first quarter.
Brady completed 22 of 34 passes for 228 yards and Leftwich went 21-for-40for 288 yards.
Brady completed 12 of his first 13 passes. … Smith’s 67-yard catch made him the 18th player in NFL history to gain more than 10,000 yards receiving. That boosted his total to 10,037 and he finished the game with 10,043. … Mike Peterson’s 14 tackles gave him a team-leading 142 for Jacksonville, an average of more than 10 per game. … For the first time thisseason, New England scored on its opening possession.