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NEW ENGLAND 23, ARIZONA 12

Patriots' Streak Is at 17

September 20, 2004|From Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — When a team wins 17 in a row, some of them are bound to be ugly.

New England's 23-12 victory over the sputtering Arizona Cardinals on Sunday was one of those.

"What streak?" Coach Bill Belichick said. "We're just trying to win a game."

That one-game-at-a-time approach has worked for almost exactly a year.

After a bye next week, the Patriots (2-0) can tie the NFL record of 18 consecutive victories with a win at Buffalo on Oct. 3.

Corey Dillon gained 158 yards in 32 carries, and Tom Brady threw two first-half touchdown passes to Daniel Graham.

Eugene Wilson intercepted two Josh McCown passes, leading to 10 points for the Super Bowl champions. Brady completed 15 of 26 passes for 217 yards. He had two passes intercepted.

But big performances didn't add up to big points.

New England drove to the Arizona two twice and the 10 once in the second half, but had to settle for short field goals by Adam Vinatieri each time.

"It's frustrating," Brady said. "Sometimes you come out of these games almost with a sour taste in your mouth, knowing you could have performed so much better."

With the exception of a costly fumble, Dillon had the kind of game he envisioned when he left Cincinnati after last season.

"I didn't come here to rot away and take L's," he said. "I wanted to be part of something that's a winning tradition, and this is it."

Arizona managed 167 yards, 117 passing and 50 on the ground. For the second week in a row, the Cardinals scored one touchdown. Coach Dennis Green was disgusted.

"We're not on the same page, and that's a shame," he said, "because system-wise, style-wise this is probably the best offense in the National Football League right now."

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