Ranking every Patriots shutout of the Bill Belichick era
A look back at every time the Patriots held an opponent scoreless since Belichick took over as head coach
With Sunday’s shutout win over the Lions, the Patriots have held at least one opponent to zero points every season since 2019.
It’s the Patriots’ 31st shutout in franchise history, and the 14th since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000.
Sometimes, like from 2012-2016, the Patriots go years without posting a shutout. Once, in 2003, New England had three shutouts in the final two months of the regular season.
There have been lopsided shutouts and times when the opposing team stayed within a couple possessions.
Some, like last week, have been historic. The Lions missed on more 4th down conversion attempts (6) than any other NFL team since at least 1991, according to NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano.
So how does this win stack up against the Patriots’ past shutout wins? Here’s a list of all 14 during the Bill Belichick era, ranked from first to worst.
1. Oct. 18th, 2009: 59-0 against Tennessee Titans
This was the most lopsided shutout of the Belichick era.
Tom Brady threw an NFL-record five touchdown passes in one quarter. Tennessee only completed two passes the entire game. The Patriots tallied five takeaways, including three fumble recoveries.
After the embarrassing loss, Tennessee went on to win eight of its next 10 games to finish 8-8.
2. Dec. 17th, 2005: 28-0 against Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 2005 Buccaneers were probably the best team the Patriots shut out under Belichick. They went 11-5 and made the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Tampa’s Cadillac Williams-led rushing attack only gained 30 yards. New England had seven sacks.
It was a division-clinching win for the Patriots.
3. Dec. 7th, 2003: 12-0 against Miami Dolphins
Tedy Bruschi scored on a 5-yard interception return at a snowy Gillette Stadium for the game’s only touchdown.
The Patriots also scored on a safety and kicked a field goal.
Miami finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs.
4. Nov. 19th, 2006: 35-0 against Green Bay Packers.
A young Aaron Rodgers had to take over for Brett Favre after Favre suffered an elbow injury.
Favre and Rodgers went a combined 9-27 for 76 yards and were sacked 5 times. Rodgers had 11 of Green Bay’s 44 rushing yards
Green Bay, which eventually finished 8-8, only mustered five first downs.
5. Sept. 22nd, 2016: 27-0 against Houston Texans
The 2016 Texans ended up making the playoffs at 9-7, but were unable to avoid being shut out by New England along the way.
Houston never made it to the red zone on any of its 13 drives. It converted 19 first downs, but couldn’t push the ball down the field far enough into scoring range.
Jacoby Brissett picked up the win in his first NFL start.
6. Sept. 15th, 2019: 43-0 against Miami Dolphins
Remember Antonio Brown’s first Patriots touchdown when he jumped into the first row of seats? That was this game.
Jamie Collins and Stephon Gilmore both returned interceptions for touchdowns. The Patriots recorded seven sacks.
The Dolphins went 5-11, finishing last in the AFC East.
7. Dec. 6th, 2020: 45-0 against Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers threw the ball 53 times despite averaging more yards per carry than yards per catch.
It didn’t end well. Justin Herbert was intercepted twice, and then a lights-out special teams performance turned the game into a rout. Devin McCourty returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown and Gunner Olszewski returned a punt 70 yards for another score.
The Chargers finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
8. Oct 21st, 2019: 33-0 against New York Jets
It was a miserable day for Sam Darnold, who went 11-for-32 with four interceptions, a fumble, no touchdowns, and a QBR of 1.1.
Each of the interceptions went to a different Patriots player. The Jets gained a net total of 154 yards.
New York finished 7-9 after starting the season 1-5.
9. Dec. 27th, 2003: 31-0 against Buffalo Bills.
Larry Izzo kept this shutout alive with an interception in the endzone with less than a minute to go.
It was a nice slice of redemption for the Patriots, who were blown out by the Bills at the beginning of the season.
Buffalo ended up finishing 6-10.
10. Oct 29th, 2022: 29-0 vs. Detroit Lions.
New England held the NFL’s No. 1 offense scoreless. Granted, it was the Lions. But it was a Lions team that was scoring 35 points per game at the time.
Matthew Judon became the first Patriots player to record a sack in each of the first five regular-season games, and Kyle Dugger returned a fumble Judon forced for a 59-yard touchdown.
The dominant performance led rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe to a win in his first start.
11. Dec. 28th, 2008: 13-0 against Buffalo Bills.
Matt Cassel threw the ball eight times.
Junior Seau — who had a team-high nine tackles — and the Patriots’ defense took care of the rest. Buffalo made more 3rd down conversions than it missed, and only turned the ball over once. But it squandered its lone red zone opportunity.
Buffalo finished 7-9, and the Tom Brady-less Patriots narrowly missed the playoffs.
12. Dec. 30th, 2012: 28-0 against Miami Dolphins
A relentless pass rush tallied seven sacks against Miami.
The Dolphins’ run game, featuring Reggie Bush at the time, was held under 50 yards. Surprisingly, Miami only had two turnovers.
The regular season-finale shutout dropped Miami to 7-9.
13. Nov. 16th, 2003: 12-0 against Dallas Cowboys
This Bill Belichick-Bill Parcells matchup went in New England’s favor.
The Patriots picked off Quincy Carter three times in the second half. Adam Vinatieri hit a pair of field goals, and Antwain Smith scored a rushing TD.
Dallas had more plays and more yards than New England, but went 0-4 in the red zone.
The Cowboys finished 5-11.
14. Nov. 18th, 2021: 25-0 at Atlanta Falcons.
The Patriots intercepted four passes, sacked the quarterback four times, and held Atlanta to 40 net rushing yards.
Falcons backup quarterback Josh Rosen, subbing for a struggling Matt Ryan, pushed Kyle Van Noy into the endzone on a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown.
During Ryan’s final season in Atlanta, the Falcons finished 7-10 and near the bottom of the league in yards per game at 303.8.
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