EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - With one mighty heave, Tom Brady and Randy Moss took care of the record books.

Now it's down to business for the unbeaten New England Patriots: stamping themselves as the greatest team in NFL history.

The Patriots completed a perfect if somewhat joyless journey through the regular season last night, finishing with a remarkable 16-0 record after a thrilling 38-35 comeback victory over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands.

New England became the first NFL team since the 1972 Dolphins to win every game on the schedule, and that one was only 14-0.

This victory required a comeback from a 12-point deficit engineered by Brady, and smashed the Patriots' league mark for consecutive wins.

"I think it's a lot of hard work," Brady said. "I'm proud of the way this team responded. We're losing there in the second half and came out and played some of our better football."

In gaining their 19th straight win over two seasons, the Patriots also got record-setting performances from Brady and Moss, including the winning score, a 65-yard bomb with 11 minutes, 6 seconds remaining.

Brady beat Peyton Manning's mark of 49 touchdown passes by throwing two to Moss against the Giants (10-6), giving the star quarterback 50.

Moss broke Jerry Rice's record of 22 TD receptions. And the Patriots finished with an incredible 589 points for the season, another single-season record.

The Giants, with little to play for except spoiling New England's perfect ride - New York is guaranteed playing at Tampa Bay in the playoffs next weekend - led, 28-16, in the third quarter.

It was the Patriots' largest deficit all year as the Giants scored the most points New England allowed in a game during this remarkable run.

An efficient Eli Manning, at times resembling his vaunted older brother, threw for four touchdowns.

"I don't know any better way to be prepared for the playoffs than to go against a team that was 15-0," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said afterward.

Although many are eager to hail these Patriots as the NFL's all-time best, such acclaim won't come unless they win two playoff games and their fourth Super Bowl this decade.

And for those who might deny such greatness considering the "Spygate" scandal from early in the season, well, 19-0 would speak pretty loudly.