By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
FOXBORO (CBS) — The New England Patriots have accomplished something that no team has done before. And it’s something that no team is likely to do for a very long time.
With a victory over the Cowboys on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots improved to 10-1 on the season. This marks the 17th consecutive season in which the Patriots have won at least 10 games.
The Patriots have won at least 10 games since 2003, after going 9-7 in 2002.
The mark lifts the Patriots past the San Francisco 49ers, who won at least 10 games per year for 16 straight seasons from 1983-98. The dropoff after that is steep, as the Colts have the third-longest streak, at nine seasons, from 2002-10.
LONGEST STREAKS OF AT LEAST 10 WINS
1. New England, 2003-19 (active), 17 seasons
2. San Francisco, 1983-98, 16 seasons
3. Indianapolis, 2002-10, 9 seasons
4. Dallas, 1975-81, 7 seasons
The Patriots’ run beats the 49ers’ run in every measurable way, too. The Patriots have won five Super Bowls and played in three others during this 17-year run, while the 49ers won four Super Bowls but failed to reach any more. The Patriots have gone 209-57 since 2003 (with five games remaining this season) for a regular-season winning percentage of .786. The 49ers went 191-63-1 during their stretch, for a winning percentage of .749.
In the playoffs, the Patriots have gone 27-10 since 2003 (.730), while the 49ers went 19-11 (.633). The Patriots, of course, also won a Super Bowl in 2001, two years before the streak began.
The Patriots also improved their home winning streak to 18 in the regular season and 21 overall if the playoffs are included. While that 21-game home winning streak is not the longest in NFL history, the Patriots are the only team in NFL history with two separate 20-plus-game-winning streaks at home.
With five games remaining, the Patriots have the chance to win at least 14 games for the sixth time since 2003.