FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Chasing perfection is second nature to Tom Brady.

At 9-0 coming out of the bye week, the New England Patriots quarterback welcomes the challenge of making a run at history.

“I try to win every single time I take the field,” Brady said Wednesday as the Patriots prepared for Sunday’s game at Buffalo. “I try to win at backgammon. I try to win in cards. I try to win driving to the bubble when we practice in the bubble.

“That’s competition and being an athlete. If you don’t want to be in that position, you might as well just quit the game. If it’s too much to say, hey, you’re winning and now all of a sudden there’s pressure, this probably isn’t the right sport for you.”

Only 17 NFL teams have started a season 10-0. It has happened nine times since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, most recently in 2005 when the Indianapolis Colts started 13-0.

Although linebacker Adalius Thomas joked, “What perfect record?” when the subject was broached, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the Patriots to dodge the inevitable comparisons to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who went 17-0 to become the NFL’s lone perfect champions.

From the covers of national magazines to a regular spot in prime time, the Patriots seem to be everywhere these days. After Sunday night’s game against the Bills, the Patriots play Philadelphia the following Sunday night in Foxborough and visit Baltimore on Dec. 3.

“It’s been that way for six years,” Brady said of the attention on a franchise that has won three Super Bowls and five AFC East crowns since the 2001 season. “I think I’d rather be in this position than in any other position.”

But Brady said the Patriots won’t let the big picture obscure what they want to accomplish each week.

“It all comes down to how you play on Sunday,” he said. “It all comes down to the way you practice and prepare and how you go out and execute.”

So far, that execution has been flawless.

With a career-high 33 touchdown passes, Brady already has set a franchise record and is on pace to break Peyton Manning’s 2004 single-season NFL mark of 49. Randy Moss leads the league in receiving yards with 924 and TD catches with 12, and Wes Welker has chipped in 61 catches for 651 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Patriots outscored their first nine opponents 355-147, for a plus-208 scoring differential that is the highest for any team through nine games since the 1962 Green Bay Packers (plus-231).

After blowing out their first eight opponents, the Patriots had to rally from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in Indianapolis. Brady threw two touchdown passes in the last 10 minutes to lead New England to a 24-20 victory.

“The Indy game was the first time we were in a meaningful situation in the fourth quarter,” Brady said. “I’m proud of the way we responded in those situations.”

AP-ES-11-14-07 1548EST


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