NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The New England Patriots wanted to head into the postseason on a roll. Mission accomplished. Corey Dillon ran for two touchdowns and Tom Brady threw for a TD, as New England stopped the Tennessee Titans' magical run at NFL history by beating them 40-23 Sunday. The Titans (8-8) had won six straight games and needed to beat New England and hope Jacksonville, Cincinnati and Denver all lost. Jacksonville and Cincinnati did just that. But the Patriots (12-4) wanted as much momentum for themselves before hosting a wild-card game next weekend, so coach Bill Belichick played Brady three quarters.
New England took control by scoring 19 straight points, and the defense sacked Vince Young five times, forced him into three turnovers. The game was in control enough that 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde got it for the final few snaps, and he tossed a 6-yard TD pass to Troy Brown and set an NFL record with at least one TD in 20 straight seasons. The Titans wanted to become the first NFL team to start 0-5 and reach the playoffs. Coach Jeff Fisher did what he could by keeping the scores from the Jacksonville-Kansas City and Cincinnati-Pittsburgh games off the scoreboards. Announcing the scores of those games late in the third quarter didn't help. Brady hit Reche Caldwell on the next play for a 62-yard TD and a 26-13 lead.