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After a loss to Arizona in Week 2 and a defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, the New England Patriots went into their game September 30 at Buffalo hoping to avoid a 1-3 start. But there was another reason the Pats needed a win over their division rivals: They were looking to avoid a three-game losing streak, something that has not happened to the franchise since 2002.
Fortunately for the Pats, they came out of Buffalo with a 52-28 win and avoided a three-game losing streak for yet another year.
The last time New England lost three consecutive games in a season was 2002 when they lost four straight games to San Diego, Miami, Green Bay and Denver. They then defeated Buffalo on November 3, 2002 to end the streak. Since then, they have lost two straight on five occasions, but have not lost a third straight since October, 2002.
In those five two-game losing streaks since mid-season in 2002, the Patriots have won the following game in convincing fashion in three of the five instances. In 2002, the Patriots beat Miami 27-24 in overtime in the last game of the season. In the other four games after a two-game losing streak, New England has won 35-0 over Green Bay (2006), 20-10 over Carolina (2009), 37-16 over the Jets (2011), and 52-28 over Buffalo (2012).
Following is a look at the last time each of the 32 NFL teams lost three consecutive games in a season. (Note: In the 2012 season, 21 of the 32 teams had at least one three-game losing streak; 11 teams did not have a three-game losing streak in the 2012 season.)
2002: New England
2008: Green Bay
2010: Dallas, San Francisco
2011: Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New York Giants, Seattle
2012: Arizona, Baltimore, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans, New York Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington.
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