American football: Pragmatic Patriots secure all-time record for consecutive wins

The New England Patriots secured their place in the annals when they set an all-time record of 19 consecutive victories by defeating the Miami Dolphins 24-10 on Sunday.

The New England Patriots secured their place in the annals when they set an all-time record of 19 consecutive victories by defeating the Miami Dolphins 24-10 on Sunday.

The Patriots, who have not lost for more than a year, are the reigning Super Bowl champions, and look strong candidates to claim their third title in four seasons. Despite a lacklustre performance from the quarterback, Tom Brady, New England were simply too strong for the feeble Dolphins, after Brady recovered from a slow start to throw touchdowns to David Givens and Daniel Graham to secure his team's place in history.

A feature of New England's play in recent years is their businesslike approach, and true to form, there were no celebrations in their locker-room.

"It doesn't mean anything right now because we are still in the middle of the season," said the cornerback, Ty Law, capturing the mood of pragmatism.

The Dallas Cowboys' head coach, Bill Parcells, was equally blunt in his assessment of his side's errors, which resulted in a 26-10 defeat to the New York Giants, his former team. "We're just stupid. We're just dumb. We do dumb things," he explained.

The dumbest thing Jamal Lewis ever did was help set up a drug deal for a friend before he became a professional player. That could have cost the Baltimore Ravens running back his career: instead, he faces a two- game suspension and six months in jail when the season ends, after sentencing last week. Undaunted, Lewis still ran for 116 yards in his side's 17-10 triumph over the fading Washington Redskins, and was awarded the game ball.

There were two thrilling finishes on Sunday. The Minnesota Vikings edged out the Houston Texans in overtime when the quarterback, Daunte Culpepper, threw his fifth touchdown of the game to Marcus Robinson. The St Louis Rams, trailing 27-10 to Seattle in the fourth quarter, also rallied to take things to overtime, where Marc Bulger tossed a 52-yard scoring pass to Shaun McDonald to complete an unlikely comeback.

Results, tables, Digest, page 55

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