Patriots playoff history, game by game
Look back on every postseason game the Patriots’ franchise has participated in. (Note: the Patriots’ first two playoff games were in the old American Football League, which later merged with the NFL.)
Dec. 28, 1963, at Buffalo, AFL divisional playoff
Boston 26, Buffalo 8: The defense stole the show as the Patriots dominated the Bills in front of a War Memorial Stadium crowd of 33,044. Boston allowed only 7 yards rushing while forcing three fumbles and making four interceptions. Quarterback Babe Parilli connected with fullback Larry Garron on two touchdown passes and Gino Cappelletti kicked four field goals.
Jan. 5, 1964, at San Diego, AFL Championship
San Diego 51, Boston 10: One week after stuffing the Bills, the Patriots could not stop the Chargers’ ground attack. San Diego’s Keith Lincoln amassed 206 yards on 13 carries (15.8-yard average) and the Chargers put up 610 total yards.
Dec. 18, 1976, at Oakland, AFC divisional playoff
Oakland 24, New England 21: The Patriots appeared to have the game in the bag with a 21-17 lead late in the fourth quarter when a Ken Stabler pass on third and 18 fell incomplete. However, referee Ben Dreith made a controversial roughing-the-passer call on Ray Hamilton that gave the Raiders a new set of downs on the 13-yard line. Stabler eventually ran in for the go-ahead touchdown.
Dec. 31, 1978, at Foxborough. AFC divisional playoff
Houston 31, New England 14: Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter, and that was enough to defeat the Patriots in their first home playoff game.
Jan. 8, 1983, at Miami, first round
Miami 28, New England 13: Dolphins quarterback David Woodley completed 16 of 19 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Andra Franklin rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown as Miami beat the Patriots in the first round of the strike-shortened season’s “Super Bowl Tournament.”
Dec. 28, 1985, at East Rutherford, N.J., AFC wild card
New England 26, NY Jets 14: Defensive end Garin Veris recorded three sacks and an interception to help the Patriots to their first playoff win in 22 years. Tony Franklin tied the team playoff record with four field goals.
Jan. 5, 1986, at Los Angeles, AFC divisional playoff
New England 27, LA Raiders 20: The defense shined in front of a Coliseum crowd of 88,936, as the Patriots forced three fumbles and intercepted quarterback Marc Wilson three times. The Patriots scored 20 of their 27 points following turnovers. The victory was marred by a postgame fracas involving Patriots general manager Patrick Sullivan and Raiders linebacker Matt Millen.
Jan. 12, 1986, at Miami, AFC Championship
New England 31, Miami 14: The Patriots continued to roll on the road as they picked off Dan Marino three times and forced five Miami fumbles. Tony Eason threw for only 71 yards but completed 10 of 12 attempts and connected on three touchdown passes. The Patriots became the first team to reach the Super Bowl by winning three road games.
Jan. 26, 1986, at New Orleans, Super Bowl XX
Chicago 46, New England 10: New England scored the quickest points in Super Bowl history — a Franklin 36-yard field goal 1:19 into the game. But that was all the Patriots would have to say until the fourth quarter, when Irving Fryar caught a touchdown pass with the game well out of hand. The Bears forced three fumbles (recovering two) and made two interceptions, holding the Patriots to a dismal 123 yards of total offense. Chicago’s Jim McMahon threw for 256 yards, and eight Bears — including William “Refrigerator” Perry — combined to rush for 167 yards and four touchdowns.
Jan. 4, 1987, at Denver, AFC divisional playoff
Denver 22, New England 17: John Elway was not sharp, but Denver relied on its aggressive defense and tireless running game to beat the Patriots in front of a home crowd of 76,105. Denver sacked Eason six times and ran the ball with authority, amassing 188 yards on the ground.
Jan. 1, 1995, at Cleveland, AFC wild card
Cleveland 20, New England 13: The Browns survived a fourth-quarter scare to win before a home crowd of 77,452. When a 63-yard Patriot drive fizzled on the Browns’ 15-yard line, Matt Bahr cut the Cleveland lead to 20-13 with 1:33 left. The Patriots recovered the ensuing onside kick and picked up a first down before second-year quarterback Drew Bledsoe capped off a 21-for-50 performance with four consecutive incompletions.
Jan. 5, 1997, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 28, Pittsburgh 3:
Curtis Martin ran for a Patriots playoff-record 166 yards against the lifeless Steelers. The defense picked off Mike Tomczak twice, holding him to 110 yards passing. New England also held Jerome Bettis to a meager 43 yards on the ground in recording the first home playoff win in team history.
Jan. 12, 1997, at Foxborough, AFC Championship
New England 20, Jacksonville 6: The Patriots forced four Jaguar turnovers and capitalized on great special teams play as New England clinched its second Super Bowl bid in franchise history. A fourth-quarter James Stewart fumble resulted in a 47-yard Otis Smith return for a touchdown.
Jan. 26, 1997, at New Orleans, Super Bowl XXXI
Green Bay 35, New England 21: Bledsoe threw four interceptions and Martin was held to 42 yards on 11 carries as Green Bay won its first Super Bowl since the Vince Lombardi era. Desmond Howard took home the MVP trophy after setting a Super Bowl record with 244 return yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Brett Favre threw for two TDs and ran for another.
Dec. 28, 1997, at Foxborough, AFC wild card
New England 17, Miami 3: Todd Collins picked off a Marino pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown, and a Chris Slade interception in the third quarter set up another score. The Patriots allowed only 42 yards rushing and 162 yards total, a team playoff record.
Jan. 3, 1998, at Pittsburgh, AFC divisional playoff
Pittsburgh 7, New England 6: A Chad Scott interception on the third play set up a 40-yard Kordell Stewart touchdown run that would prove to be all the Steelers needed. Pittsburgh forced four turnovers and kept the Patriots from the end zone. Two Adam Vinatieri field goals cut the deficit to 1, but the Patriots’ final two drives ended in a sack and an interception.
Jan. 3, 1999, at Jacksonville, AFC wild card
Jacksonville 25, New England 10: The Jaguars outrushed New England, 160 yards to 35, forced four fumbles, and picked off a Scott Zolak pass in beating the injury-plagued Patriots. Zolak, starting for the injured Bledsoe, was 21 of 44 for 190 yards. Fred Taylor rushed for 162 yards on 33 carries, the most postseason rushing yards by a rookie since Super Bowl XXII (Washington’s Timmy Smith, 204 yards).
Jan. 19, 2002, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 16, Oakland 13 (OT): Second-year quarterback Tom Brady completed 32 of 52 passes in a snowstorm, but Vinatieri was the hero. Trailing, 13-10, in the final minutes, the Patriots were given new life when an apparent Brady fumble was overturned on replay. The Patriots moved into position for Vinatieri to drill a 45-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining to tie the game, then won the OT coin toss and marched downfield to set up Vinatieri’s decisive 23-yarder.
Jan. 27, 2002, at Pittsburgh, AFC Championship
New England 24, Pittsburgh 17: The Patriots held a 7-3 lead late in the second quarter when Brady went down with an ankle injury. But his backup was no slouch, and Bledsoe — on the sideline since being injured in Week 2 — needed just four plays to get the Patriots into the end zone on a pass to David Patten. Midway through the third quarter, Troy Brown picked up a blocked field goal attempt and lateraled to Antwan Harris, who ran it the final 49 yards for a 21-3 lead. Lawyer Milloy’s interception of Stewart’s pass with 2:11 left sent New England to its third Super Bowl.
Feb. 3, 2002, at New Orleans, Super Bowl XXXVI
Coming into the game as 14-point underdogs, the Patriots took a 17-3 lead with one quarter to go. But Kurt Warner led the Rams on a 12-play, 77-yard drive that Warner finished off with a 2-yard run to cut the deficit to 17-10. The Patriots went three-and-out twice, then the Rams tied it on a 26-yard pass from Warner to Ricky Proehl that capped a 3-play, 55-yard, 21-second drive with 1:37 left. Brady drove New England to the 41, before hitting Brown on a crossing pattern for a 23-yard gain to the St. Louis 36. Another 6-yard pass and then a spike by Brady with 7 seconds showing on the clock brought out Vinatieri, who nailed the 48-yarder to give the Patriots their first Super Bowl championship.
Jan. 10, 2004, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 17, Tennessee 14: Playing in frigid conditions (4 degrees, windchill of minus-10) the Patriots took a 14-7 halftime lead. But Tennessee tied it early in the third quarter on an 11-yard TD pass from Steve McNair to Derrick Mason. Vinatieri, who had missed an earlier attempt from 44 yards, lined up with 4:11 left in the game for a 46-yard try, and this time dropped the frozen ball over the lower left corner of the goalpost for the 17-14 lead. A late bid by the Titans fell short when Drew Bennett couldn’t hold on to McNair’s fourth-and-12 desperation throw under pressure.
Jan. 18, 2004, at Foxborough, AFC Championship
New England 24, Indianapolis 14: Peyton Manning was intercepted four times (three by Law) and completed less than half his passes (23 of 47, 237 yards) in a humbling performance. On New England’s first drive, Brady capped a 13-play, 65-yard drive by hitting David Givens after a perfect pump-fake, giving the hosts a 7-0 lead. The lead grew to 15-0 — thanks to two Vinatieri field goals and a safety following a botched punt. Though the Colts struck for two second-half touchdowns (Edgerrin James’s 2-yard run and Marcus Pollard’s 7-yard catch from Manning), Vinatieri added three more field goals to secure the win.
Feb. 1, 2004, at Houston, Super Bowl XXXVIII
New England 32, Carolina 29: The game remained scoreless longer than any other Super Bowl in history — and then suddenly the teams combined for 24 points in the final 3:05 of the first half, and the track meet was on. It was another battle down to the wire in what many called the greatest Super Bowl ever. After linebacker-turned-tight end Mike Vrabel caught a 1-yard touchdown pass that — along with a 2-point conversion — put the Patriots up, 29-22, Proehl caught a game-tying touchdown with 1:08 left. But Brady brought the Patriots back down the field to set up another championship-winning field goal by Vinatieri, this one a 41-yarder with 4 seconds left.
Jan. 16, 2005, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 20, Indianapolis 3: With Brady (144 yards, 1 TD pass, 1 TD run), Corey Dillon (144 yards), and the Patriots offense gobbling up huge chunks of the clock — their three most time-consuming drives of the season — Manning and the high-powered Colts’ offense spent much of the game with the best seats in the house. And even when they did get on the field, the supposedly depleted Patriots defense executed to perfection, led by Tedy Bruschi, who was credited with two fumble recoveries, though one he simply ripped out of Dominic Rhodes’s hands while tackling him. Manning, who had set an NFL regular-season record with 49 touchdown passes, never found the end zone while falling to 0-7 at Foxborough and 2-10 overall against the Patriots.
Jan. 23, 2005, at Pittsburgh, AFC Championship
New England 41, Pittsburgh 27: Pittsburgh’s heralded rookie quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was intercepted by Eugene Wilson on his first pass attempt, setting up a Vinatieri 48-yard field goal. Bettis fumbled on fourth and 1 on the Steelers’ next possession, and Brady hit Branch for a 60-yard touchdown pass on the following play. New England’s lead ballooned to 24-3 by halftime, with Rodney Harrison returning the second of Roethlisberger’s three picks 87 yards for a back-breaking score. The Steelers managed to stoke a capacity Heinz Field crowd with three consecutive scoring drives, closing within 31-20 with 13:29 remaining, but the Patriots responded with back-to-back 10-play scoring drives to clinch their third conference title in four seasons.
Feb. 6, 2005, at Jacksonville, Super Bowl XXXIX
The Patriots played in their first outdoor Super Bowl and despite the game being tied after each of the first three quarters, New England came away with their third title in four seasons. Tom Brady threw for two touchdowns, Corey Dillon ran for one and Adam Vinatieri’s fourth quarter field goal was the difference maker. Deion Branch had 11 catches for 133 yards, earning him MVP honors.
Jan. 14, 2005, at Denver, AFC divisional playoff
Denver 27, New England 13: The Patriots drive for three straight Super Bowl titles ended after the Broncos cashed in on four of five turnovers for points. Tom Brady threw for 341 yards but suffered his first ever postseason defeat after tossing two interceptions, including a late pick by John Lynch that sealed the Patriots fate. Denver’s Mike Anderson punched in two one-yard touchdown runs and Jason Elam was perfect on the day hitting two field goals and three extra points.
Jan. 7, 2007, at Foxborough, AFC wild card
New England 37, NY Jets 16: Jabar Gaffney, who had 11 receptions all season, stepped up in his first career playoff game catching 8 passes for 104 yards. New England’s running game accounted for 158 yards and a touchdown on 38 touches and rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski went 3-for-3 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra points. Defensively, Tully Banta-Cain recorded two sacks on Chad Pennington and Asante Samuel returned a 36-yard interception to the house.
Jan. 14, 2007, at San Diego, AFC divisional playoff
New England 24, San Diego 21: Troy Brown saved the day when he stripped Marlon McCree of an interception in the fourth quarter. Reche Caldwell recovered the fumble, then caught a Tom Brady touchdown pass four plays later and Kevin Faulk’s two-point conversion run tied the game, 21-21. Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 33-yard field goal to put the Patriots up for good. San Diego kicker Nick Kaeding would get a chance to tie things at the end of the game with a 54-yard field goal, but the kick fell short.
Jan. 21, 2007, at Indianapolis, AFC Championship
Indianapolis 38, New England 34: The Patriots found themselves up 21-3 in the second quarter, but mid-way through the third the Colts had pulled even and from there it was a see-saw battle until the end when Marlin Jackson’s fourth quarter interception of Tom Brady sealed the win for Indianapolis. The Colts racked up a combined 455 yards of offense to the Patriots 325 yards. A roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter, one of eight for the Patriots on the day, set up Joseph Addai for a 3-yard game-winning touchdown.
Jan. 12, 2008, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 31, Jacksonville 20: Tom Brady was nearly flawless on the day, completing 26 of 28 passes for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading to an NFL single game record 92.9% completion percentage. Laurence Maroney grinded out 122 rushing yards on 22 carries, scoring on a 1-yard rush in the second quarter. Rodney Harrison’s fourth quarter interception dashed the Jaguars hopes of a comeback as the Patriots moved to 17-0 on the season, matching the record of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Jan. 20, 2008, at Foxborough, AFC Championship
New England 21, San Diego 12: For the second straight season the Patriots eliminated San Diego from the playoffs and improved to 18-0 on the season, becoming the first team to reach the mark. Tom Brady threw an uncharacteristic three interceptions, but the Chargers were only able to muster four field goals as the Patriots advanced to their fourth Super Bowl of the decade. Laurence Maroney rushed for 122 yards and scored a 1-yard touchdown for the second straight game.
Feb. 2, 2008, at Glendale, Ariz., Super Bowl XLII
Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning scrambled out of heavy pressure and unloaded a 32-yard pass to David Tyree who, despite having Rodney Harrison draped all over him, pinned the ball to his helmet and held on with one hand. This play ultimately set up the 13-yard game-winning pass from Manning to Plaxico Burress, ending the Patriots bid to become the first team to complete a 19-0 season. The Giants defensive line combined for five sacks on Tom Brady who threw for 266 yards and one touchdown.
Jan. 10, 2010, at Foxborough, AFC wild card
Baltimore 33, New England 14: Ray Rice broke an 83-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, and the Ravens never looked back, handing the Patriots their first ever home playoff loss. Baltimore capitalized on three turnovers by Tom Brady, cashing in for 17 of their 24 points in the first quarter. Brady finished the day with 154 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as the Patriots offense was held in check by the Ravens defense who only allowed 218 total yards.
Jan. 16, 2011, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
NY Jets 28, New England 21: For the second straight season the Patriots were one-and-done in the postseason, suffering their second straight playoff defeat at Gillette Stadium. Mark Sanchez led the Jets with 194 yards and three touchdowns and the Patriots did not have enough in the tank to completely erase a ten-point fourth-quarter deficit. Davis Harris’s interception ended Tom Brady’s record streak of 340 consecutive passes without a pick.
Jan. 14, 2012, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 45, Denver 10: Tom Brady tied a postseason record with six touchdown passes, and the defense overmatched Tim Tebow and the Broncos’ offense. Rob Gronkowski caught 10 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots ended a three-game postseason losing streak.
Jan. 22, 2012, at Foxborough, AFC Championship
New England 23, Ravens 20: The Patriots overcame two interceptions by Tom Brady when Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 11 seconds left. Brady scored the game-winning touchdown when he leapt head first over the line of scrimmage on fourth down early in the final period.
Feb. 5, 2012, at Indianapolis, Super Bowl XLVI
NY Giants 21, New England 17: For the second time in five seasons, the Giants came from behind with a final-minute touchdown to deny the Patriots of a title. Eli Manning led a game-winning drive to win the MVP award. The Patriots, hurt by a key drop by Wes Welker late in the game, tried a last-second Hail Mary pass that fell out of the reach of Rob Gronkowski in the end zone.
Jan. 13, 2013, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 41, Houston 28: The Patriots ran away from the Texans for the second time in two months to clinch a berth in the AFC Championship game. Shane Vereen shined with three touchdowns for the Patriots, but only after two big injuries befell the offense. Danny Woodhead left after one drive with a hand injury, and Ron Gronkowski reinjured his left forearm and left the game in the first quarter. The Patriots opened up a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter as Tom Brady won his NFL-record 17th career playoff game.
Jan. 20, 2013, at Foxborough, AFC Championship game
Baltimore 28, New England 13: The Ravens overcame a 13-7 halftime deficit with a dominating performance in Foxborough to avenge their AFC title game loss of a year earlier. The Patriots committed three turnovers, all in the fourth quarter, and forced none by the Ravens, which helped accelerate their slide. Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns passes, while Tom Brady (who lost for the first time ever in Foxborough after holding a halftime lead -- he had been 67-0) threw one and two interceptions. Aqib Talib left the game early with a leg injury, which hurt the Patriots secondary, a unit that allowed two clutch touchdown catches by Anquan Boldin. The Ravens moved on to play the 49ers in the Super Bowl.
Jan. 11, 2014, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 43, Indianapolis 22: LeGarrette Blount set a new Patriots record with four rushing TDs and 166 yards on the ground as New England pummeled the Colts in the divisional playoffs. Tom Brady didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but didn’t have to with the Patriots scoring six rushing touchdowns.The Patriots picked off Colts QB Andrew Luck four times and overcame a special teams blunder that resulted in a safety and an injury to punter Ryan Allen that required kicker Stephen Gostkowski to punt five times.
Jan. 19, 2014, at Denver, AFC Championship game
Denver 26, New England 16: The margin of victory was 10 points, but the Patriots never seemed to really be in contention as the Peyton Manning-led Broncos eliminated Tom Brady’s team. Manning threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns as the Broncos ripped apart a Patriots defense that was hurt by the loss of Aqib Talib to an injury in the first half. The Patriots had only 3 points until there was 9:26 left to play, when they scored the first of two final quarter touchdowns that would be too little, too late. The Broncos moved on to play the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Jan. 10, 2015, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff
New England 35, Baltimore 31: It was the third time in four seasons the two teams met in the postseason, and the Patriots overcame two different 14-point deficits to come away with the four-point win. New England played from behind until tying the game at 28-28 with 4:20 left in the third quarter when receiver Julian Edelman threw a 51-yard strike to Danny Amendola on a trick play. With just more than 5 minutes remaining, Tom Brady found Brandon LaFell for a 23-yard go-ahead touchdown, sealing the Patriots’ berth in the AFC Championship game.