Jan. 12, 1997, at Foxborough, AFC Championship, New England 20, Jacksonville 6: The Patriots forced four Jaguar turnovers and capitalized on great special teams play as New England clinched its second Super Bowl bid in franchise history. A fourth-quarter James Stewart fumble resulted in a 47-yard Otis Smith return for a touchdown.
Jan. 26, 1997, at New Orleans, Super Bowl XXXI, Green Bay 35, New England 21: Bledsoe threw four interceptions and Martin was held to 42 yards on 11 carries as Green Bay won its ﬁrst Super Bowl since the Vince Lombardi era. Desmond Howard took home the MVP trophy after setting a Super Bowl record with 244 return yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Brett Favre threw for two TDs and ran for another.
Dec. 28, 1997, at Foxborough, AFC wild card, New England 17, Miami 3: Todd Collins picked off a Marino pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown, and a Chris Slade interception in the third quarter set up another score. The Patriots allowed only 42 yards rushing and 162 yards total, a team playoff record.
Jan. 3, 1998, at Pittsburgh, AFC divisional playoff, Pittsburgh 7, New England 6: A Chad Scott interception on the third play set up a 40-yard Kordell Stewart touchdown run that would prove to be all the Steelers needed. Pittsburgh forced four turnovers and kept the Patriots from the end zone. Two Adam Vinatieri ﬁeld goals cut the deﬁcit to 1, but the Patriots’ ﬁnal two drives ended in a sack and an interception.
Jan. 3, 1999, at Jacksonville, AFC wild card, Jacksonville 25, New England 10: The Jaguars outrushed New England, 160 yards to 35, forced four fumbles, and picked off a Scott Zolak pass in beating the injury-plagued Patriots. Zolak, starting for the injured Bledsoe, was 21 of 44 for 190 yards. Fred Taylor rushed for 162 yards on 33 carries, the most postseason rushing yards by a rookie since Super Bowl XXII (Washington’s Timmy Smith, 204 yards).
Jan. 19, 2002, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff, New England 16, Oakland 13 (OT): Second-year quarterback Tom Brady completed 32 of 52 passes in a snowstorm, but Vinatieri was the hero. Trailing, 13-10, in the ﬁnal minutes, the Patriots were given new life when an apparent Brady fumble was overturned on replay. The Patriots moved into position for Vinatieri to drill a 45-yard ﬁeld goal with less than a minute remaining to tie the game, then won the OT coin toss and marched downﬁeld to set up Vinatieri’s decisive 23-yarder.
Jan. 27, 2002, at Pittsburgh, AFC Championship, New England 24, Pittsburgh 17: The Patriots held a 7-3 lead late in the second quarter when Brady went down with an ankle injury. But his backup was no slouch, and Bledsoe — on the sideline since being injured in Week 2 — needed just four plays to get the Patriots into the end zone on a pass to David Patten. Midway through the third quarter, Troy Brown picked up a blocked ﬁeld goal attempt and lateraled to Antwan Harris, who ran it the ﬁnal 49 yards for a 21-3 lead. Lawyer Milloy’s interception of Stewart’s pass with 2:11 left sent New England to its third Super Bowl.
Feb. 3, 2002, at New Orleans, Super Bowl XXXVI, New England 20, St. Louis 17:
Coming into the game as 14-point underdogs, the Patriots took a 17-3 lead with one quarter to go. But Kurt Warner led the Rams on a 12-play, 77-yard drive that Warner ﬁnished off with a 2-yard run to cut the deﬁcit to 17-10. The Patriots went three-and-out twice, then the Rams tied it on a 26-yard pass from Warner to Ricky Proehl that capped a 3-play, 55-yard, 21-second drive with 1:37 left. Brady drove New England to the 41, before hitting Brown on a crossing pattern for a 23-yard gain to the St. Louis 36. Another 6-yard pass and then a spike by Brady with 7 seconds showing on the clock brought out Vinatieri, who nailed the 48-yarder to give the Patriots their ﬁrst Super Bowl championship.
Jan. 10, 2004, at Foxborough, AFC divisional playoff, New England 17, Tennessee 14: Playing in frigid conditions (4 degrees, windchill of minus-10) the Patriots took a 14-7 halftime lead. But Tennessee tied it early in the third quarter on an 11-yard TD pass from Steve McNair to Derrick Mason. Vinatieri, who had missed an earlier attempt from 44 yards, lined up with 4:11 left in the game for a 46-yard try, and this time dropped the frozen ball over the lower left corner of the goalpost for the 17-14 lead. A late bid by the Titans fell short when Drew Bennett couldn’t hold on to McNair’s fourth-and-12 desperation throw under pressure.Continued...