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Pats down Cowboys, set NFL record with 17th 10-win season

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Los Angeles (AFP)

The New England defense came up big again on Sunday, holding the potent Dallas Cowboys offense without a touchdown for the first time this NFL season in a rain-swept 13-9 triumph.

Tom Brady and the Patriots notched their 18th straight regular-season victory at their Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, improving to 10-1 for the season.

With their 17th straight season of 10 wins they set a record, eclipsing the 16 10-win seasons put together by the San Francisco 49ers from 1983-98.

Brady was without two key offensive contributors in injured Mohamed Sanu and concussed Phillip Dorsett. He threw a first-quarter touchdown to rookie N'Keal Harry and Nick Folk kicked two field goals for the rest of the Patriots' points.

"It was a hard-fought win," said Brady, who praised the contribution of young receivers Harry and Jakobi Meyers -- who had four catches in the game.

"Proud of those two," Brady said. "They're making improvements and it's great to see. They both came through with some big plays for us."

Brett Maher booted three field goals for Dallas, who entered the contest ranked number one in yards per game and fourth in points per game.

The Cowboys were driving late but saw quarterback Dak Prescott's apparent 20-yard completion to Amari Cooper on a fourth and 11 play reversed on replay review.

Cooper finished the game without a catch for the first time as a Cowboy.

- 'They made fewer mistakes' -

Prescott said stout Patriots defense and the abysmal weather made things tough but added: "None of that stuff matters.

"They made fewer mistakes than we did. They made a little bit more plays than we did and that was the difference in the game."

After the game, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones vented his frustrations with his team.

"I don't care if it is New England with their record and their coach and all that. You can't be satisfied just because you got within the last drive. I'm just really frustrated," Jones said.

Elsewhere, San Francisco also solidified its spot atop the NFC pecking order with a 37-8 blowout of the Green Bay Packers.

The 49ers defence held quarterback Aaron Rodgers to just 104 yards passing while sacking him five times to improve to 10-1 on the season.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns while completing 14 of 20 passes.

Rodgers had too little time and not enough open receivers to throw to as he completed 20 of 33 passes. He was pulled for the final five minutes of the game.

The New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks survived some sloppy play to improve to 9-2.

Wil Lutz's last-gasp field goal lifted the Saints to a 34-31 victory over the Carolina Panthers and a commanding four-game lead in the NFC South division.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 30 of 39 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns, guiding New Orleans on the game-winning drive from their own 14-yard line with less than two minutes to play after Carolina kicker Joey Slye missed a potential game-winner from 28 yards.

- Flea-flicker pass -

"It wasn't our best game, it wasn't (Carolina's) best game, and quite honestly it wasn't New York's best game," Saints coach Sean Payton said in a dig at the NFL's officiating review crew.

But Saints quarterback Brees wasn't in the mood to quibble.

"We'll take 'em however we can get 'em," said Brees, who acknowledged that the Saints suffered from "some mistakes that we made on both sides of the ball."

The Seahawks also struggled with penalties, overcoming 12 on the way to a 17-9 victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Seattle's defense clamped down on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who gave up two fumbles and threw two interceptions as he absorbed three sacks and Seattle improved to 9-2 for just the fourth time in club history.

Seattle took the lead for good on an entertaining 33-yard flea-flicker pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to Malik Turner that made it 7-3 late in the first quarter.

Running back Rashaad Penny ran for a career-best 129 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown.

Wilson finished with one TD thrown and one interception -- and is now the first quarterback to have a winning record in each of his eight first NFL seasons.

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