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Patriots are champions of December

Tom Brady has been at his best when the calendar turns to December, as he was during this win over the Bears in 2010.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File/GLOBE STAFF PHOTO

Before their 13-game win streak in December was snapped by a Week 15 loss to San Francisco, the Patriots set a franchise record and became just the second team in NFL history to accomplish the final-month feat. (Only the 2006-09 Chargers' 18 straight wins were better.) But their success in December goes back to the start of the Tom Brady era. Since 2001, the Patriots are an NFL-best 43-6 in December (three of those losses have been to the AFC East rival Dolphins). No other team has more than 36 December wins during that time.

A look back at how the Patriots have performed in December during the Brady era:


Year Record What happened Notable game Postseason result
2001 4-0 Leaped Dolphins and Jets to win AFC East Fumble recovery by unconscious David Patten helped Patriots win 12-9 OT game in Buffalo in Week 14. Won Super Bowl 
2002 2-2 Two crucial losses doomed season. Win in finale moot because of lost tiebreaker. The 30-17 loss to Jets in Week 16 crippled Patriots. When Jets won in Week 17, Patriots’ season was over. Missed playoffs
2003 4-0 Strengthened already-strong hold on AFC East with two shutouts at home. The 12-0 win over Dolphins in aftermath of heavy snow clinched AFC East with three games to play. Won Super Bowl 
2004 3-1 Division title was never in doubt. Loss barely dented Patriots' plans.  A two-win Dolphins team picked off Brady and scored two TDs in final 2:07 to upset Patriots in Week 16. Won Super Bowl 
2005 4-0 Three division wins iced another AFC East title. Mike Vrabel caught two TD passes from Brady as Patriots finished December sweep of Jets in Week 16. Lost in divisional round
2006 4-1 Four wins (against teams that did not finish with a winning record) sealed AFC East title. The 21-0 loss at Miami in Week 14 marks the last time the Patriots were shut out. Lost in AFC title game
2007 5-0 Met their two stiffest challenges (at Ravens, at Giants) en route to 16-0. In Week 17, Patriots (16-0), Brady (50 TDs) and Randy Moss (23 TDs) all set NFL records. Lost in Super Bowl
2008 4-0 With Brady injured, Matt Cassel's perfect month was moot as 11-5 Patriots lost tiebreaker. Routed Cardinals (who would lose Super Bowl in final minute), 47-7, in snowy Week 16. Missed playoffs
2009 3-1 Three wins against weak opponents were enough to clinch AFC East title. Road-inept Patriots lost again in Miami, 22-21, in Week 13 to fall to 1-5 as visitors on the year. Lost in wild-card round
2010 4-0 Entered month tied atop AFC East, but with perfect record ran off to division title. The 45-3 win over Jets in Week 13 set tone for division title, but gave Jets fuel for their 28-21 playoff upset in Foxborough. Lost in divisional round
2011 4-0 Eye-popping offense cruised through month (133 points), but leaky defense (98 points allowed) was a problem. Cooled off Tim Tebow and Broncos' six-game win streak with 41-23 road win in Week 15. Lost in Super Bowl
2012 2-1 Wrapped up 10th AFC East title in 12 years in first weekend of December. A 42-14 drubbing of 11-1 Houston on Monday Night Football made Patriots team to beat in AFC for many.