FOXBORO, MASS., DEC. 30 -- The New England Patriots' worst season ended with one of their best drives of the year -- and a team-record 14th straight loss.
Marching toward a possible winning touchdown or tying field goal in the final minutes, the Patriots came up empty and the playoff-bound New York Giants escaped with a 13-10 victory today.
Despite their strong performance, the Patriots (1-15) finished the season with 181 points, the fewest in the NFL since the 16-game schedule was adopted in 1978. Buffalo's 200 points in 1985 were the previous low. The Giants (13-3), champions of the NFC East, have a bye in the first playoff round.
"It was the last game of the year and I think we had something to prove," New England nose tackle Tim Goad said. "They're one of the league's best and I think we handled them pretty well."
"They played to win," said Patriots Coach Rod Rust, whose job is in jeopardy. "That's the whole objective."
They didn't win because the reliable Jason Staurovsky pulled a 42-yard field goal attempt wide to the left with 1:30 remaining. The drive began at the New England 5-yard line with 9:31 to play and stalled at the Giants 24 when John Stephens was stopped by Leonard Marshall for no gain on third and two.
"I had total confidence in the fact it was in his range," Rust said of the missed kick. "I have no regrets."
"The wind was blowing right to left," said Staurovsky, whose 19-yard field goal with 6:02 left in the first half made the score 10-10. "For some reason, I closed my hips. There is no reason to do that. I can make that kick 20 out of 25 times."
Matt Bahr's second field goal, a 27-yarder two seconds before halftime, gave the Giants a 13-10 lead.
The Patriots broke the previous team mark for the worst record, set by the 1981 club that was 2-14. For the first time in their 31-year history, they were winless at home.
The Giants struggled for the second game in a row with quarterback Jeff Hostetler replacing injured Phil Simms, who is expected to be sidelined for at least one playoff game.