Patriots knocked out of playoff race for first time since 2008


The New England Patriots will be watching the playoffs from home this season after the Miami Dolphins (9-5) beat them 22-12 on Sunday to mathematically eliminate them from the postseason.

New England’s eighth loss of the season marked an end to its 11-year run of consecutive playoff bids, which stood as the second-longest active streak in big four American sports behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins (14). It also guaranteed the Patriots would finish without a winning record for the first time since head coach Bill Belichick’s first season with the team in 2000.

On Saturday, the Patriots officially ceded the AFC East crown to the Buffalo Bills (11-3) after they handled the Denver Broncos 48-19. It’s only the second time New England hasn’t won the division since 2002, when a 25-year-old Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 9-7 season.

Meanwhile, Brady is in the midst of making the playoffs with his new team in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers (9-5) came back from 17 points down to beat the Atlanta Falcons 31-27, keeping them firmly in the hunt for the top Wild Card spot in the NFC.

The Patriots made the playoffs 17 times with Brady at quarterback and Belichick coaching. They won six Super Bowls and made three others while Brady was named league MVP in three separate seasons.