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Patriots extend winning streak

New England Patriots running back Corey Dillon jumps over a couple of Seattle Seahawk defenders in Sunday's game.
New England Patriots running back Corey Dillon jumps over a couple of Seattle Seahawk defenders in Sunday's game.
Adam Hunger, Associated Press

FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots got another victory — but quite a scare — as they extended their NFL record for consecutive wins.

They stopped a late Seattle comeback to beat the Seahawks 30-20 Sunday, running their streak to 20 wins, including playoffs. They also tied the league record with their 17th consecutive regular-season victory.

For a while, though, the streak appeared to be in jeopardy. The Seahawks, trailing 23-17, had a first down at the New England 13 with about 4 minutes left. But an intentional grounding penalty against Matt Hasselbeck forced Seattle to settle for Josh Brown's fourth field goal, a 31-yarder with 3:01 to go.

Then the New England offense, facing a third-and-7 at its 40, came through with Tom Brady's 48-yard completion to a diving Bethel Johnson, only his third catch of the season, to the Seattle 12. The Seahawks challenged the play, but officials ruled Johnson had control of the ball before it hit the ground while he held onto it.

Three plays later, Corey Dillon put the game away with his second touchdown on a 7-yard run with 1:55 remaining.

And just to show how seriously they take each play, the Patriots stopped Shaun Alexander on a run from their 1-yard line even though there was no time left, and they would have won even if Alexander had scored.

For the first time this season, the Patriots (5-0) beat a team that was not winless. But the Seahawks (3-2) started sliding late in their overtime loss to St. Louis a week earlier and kept going early against New England.

Hasselbeck, intercepted just twice in his first four games, threw two interceptions on Seattle's first two series. New England scored on its first four possessions and led 20-6 at halftime.

The Seahawks closed to within 20-17 after Michael Boulware intercepted Brady's pass in the fourth quarter. Alexander scored on a 9-yard run and Hasselbeck hit Jerramy Stevens for a two-point conversion with 11:05 left.

Adam Vinatieri's third field goal, a 30-yarder, made it 23-17 with 6:43 to go.

The Patriots, who haven't lost since Sept. 28, 2003, tied the regular-season record set by Chicago in 1933-34. One week earlier, they set the record including playoffs with a 24-10 win that kept Miami winless at 0-5. New England started the year by beating Indianapolis, then knocked off Arizona and Buffalo.

In their first 15 1/2 quarters this season, the Seahawks allowed only 23 points. Then they gave up 23 points in the last 5:34 of the Rams' 33-27 win, and 20 points in the first 27 minutes against the Patriots.

Two mainstays of the Patriots' stingy defense set up their first touchdown when Richard Seymour tipped Hasselbeck's pass into the hands of Willie McGinest, who ran 27 yards to the Seattle 26.

Five plays later, Dillon scored on a 1-yard run.

New England kept pressuring Hasselbeck, the son of Don Hasselbeck — who played tight end for the Patriots from 1977 to 1983.

On Seattle's next series, Ty Law intercepted Hasselbeck's pass to set up Vinatieri's 40-yard field goal that made it 10-0.

The lead grew to 17-0 early in the third quarter on Brady's 6-yard scoring pass to David Patten. Brady, coming off his worst pro start with just 76 yards passing, finished the game with 19 completions in 30 attempts for 231 yards.

Seattle finally scored on Brown's 33-yard field goal, but New England made it 20-3 on Vinatieri's 39-yard kick. Brown's 40-yard field goal made it 20-6 at halftime and he added a 28-yarder on the Seahawks' first possession of the third quarter.