Bill Belichick has reached another milestone in his storied career, and he did so against the team that gave him his start as a head coach.
With the Patriots' dominant 38-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns, Belichick tied legendary Bears coach George Halas for second on the all-time wins list (regular and postseason). Belichick and Halas are tied at 324. Only Don Shula remains in front of Belichick with 347 wins.
"You can't win games in this league without good players," Belichick said Sunday when asked about the accomplishment in his postgame news conference. "So I'm very fortunate to have coached a lot of great players and had a lot of great coaches on my staffs through the years. A lot of those guys have gone on to have tremendous careers. And the players, obviously, many of them are Patriots Hall of Fame, NFL Hall of Fame or gonna be. It's really -- winning games in this league is about players, and I've been very fortunate to have a lot of them. Had them at New York. Had them at Cleveland. Had them here."
It's a natural reaction for Belichick to defer to his players, and he's coached his share of future and current Hall of Famers, but that humility can't disguise the genius behind Belichick's near-unprecedented run of success.
In 27 years as a head coach, Belichick has 20 seasons with double-digits victories, and his 31 postseason wins on the way to six Super Bowl victories already ranks first in league history.
As for the game that moved Belichick into a tie for second place all-time, it was a quintessential Belichick victory.
The New England defense harried and harassed an outmatched Browns offense, causing four turnovers, three punts and stopping Cleveland twice on fourth down. As Belichick defenses are wont to do, the unit targeted Cleveland's strength -- its run game -- and snuffed it out. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for only 68 yards on the ground.
The storyline on offense is one Pats fans will also recognize. Much like how he began his winning ways with Tom Brady in New England, Belichick beat the Browns using a later-round pick filling in at quarterback -- subbing in admirably for the injured, established starter. Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe went 24 for 34 for 309 yards and two touchdowns to help earn his coach the milestone.
Another interesting wrinkle? Belichick's first opportunity to move into sole possession of second place will come against the club Halas is synonymous with. The Patriots square off against the Bears in Week 7 on Monday Night Football.