Brady went 23 of 35 for 304 yards and four touchdowns, absolutely slicing through the Rams defense like a surgeon.
Gronk was his favorite target on the afternoon, seeing 13 balls and catching eight for 146 yards and a pair of scores. Thoughts that Gronk's hip injury was limiting his production can now be ceased and we can focus on how the Patriots can rebound following such a big win.
Stevan Ridley, who busted out 15 times for 127 yards and a touchdown, established the ground game and gave the Patriots the needed balance to assert such a strong passing attack.
The defense impressed, too, even after allowing a 50-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the game. Alfonzo Dennard recorded his second career interception, one week after getting his first pick, and Tavon Wilson made up for getting burned early, icing the game with a pick at the very end.
Responding with 45 consecutive unanswered points on the afternoon is pretty uplifting for an offense under a lot of scrutiny in recent weeks. Heading into the bye week, this should offer a great deal of momentum for the second half of the season, both on offense and defense.
Fourth Quarter, 2:00, Patriots 45-7: For as much flak as the Patriots secondary has gotten in recent weeks — from this writer included — they've actually looked a lot better against the Rams.
McCourty has done a great job containing the big plays and Alfonzo Dennard has done a stellar job of holding position on the outside.
Cole looked like an answer in the slot before the injury. It might take some more time until they're in rhythm but the return of Chung, hopefully alongside McCourty, would be a huge help.
Fourth Quarter, 7:20, Patriots 45-7: Since that horrendous first drive of the game, the Patriots defense has been pretty damn good.
The pass rush has put immense pressure on Bradford and even the secondary is starting to look good. Then there was Alfonzo Dennard, who just made his second career interception in the second consecutive week.
Dennard felt much more confident after his first interception last week against the Jets, I wonder what he's thinking now.
Fourth Quarter, 11:20, Patriots 45-7: I don't know how long Gronk practiced that dance, but as long as he keeps producing he can dance however he pleases.
Gronk has been just murdering the Rams defense all day and now has eight catches for 146 yards and that marks his second touchdown of the day.
The Patriots offense has been moving down the field at a lightning quick pace and Gronk has been a major reason for that.
He's such a little kid, even if in a man's body, but if the Patriots offense keeps rolling at this rate then he should keep it up.
End Third Quarter, Patriots 38-7: The Patriots offense has slowed its roll a bit, but that doesn't mean the Patriots aren't still trucking along.
Stevan Ridley busted out for another few big runs, giving him 119 yards on 13 carries on the day. But the defense has also stepped up.
Chandler Jones beasted his way through the offensive line en route to one of the most athletic sacks seen in recent history, and Marquice Cole has been arguably the Patriots best cornerback on the afternoon. The man deserves some more time on the field.
Third Quarter, 3:23, Patriots 38-7: Where's Chandler Jones? Oh, there he is.
Wow. Jones just laid the smack down on Sam Bradford with one of the most unbelievably athletic plays ever from the defensive end position.
Jones' athleticism has made the Patriots defense so much better and helped mask some of the issues in the secondary.
Third Quarter, 7:28, Patriots 38-7: Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 26-yard field goal to put the Patriots up 38-7 lead but Stevan Ridley was the story of that drive.
Stevan Ridley has firmly asserted himself as the Patriots lead running back, but that drive was the epitome of what Ridley has become for this offense.
Ridley lowered his shoulder on a few runs, but he also busted out for a 41-yard scamper to get the Patriots into the red zone.
Ridley has been working hard for yards and finding holes consistently.
Third Quarter, 13:28, Patriots 35-7: The Patriots dominance continued into the second half.
After scoring 28 unanswered points to cap off the first half, Tom Brady just extended that even further with the first drive of the third quarter to make it a cool 35-7 lead.
It was Gronk and a grab from Michael Hoomawanui that pushed the Patriots down the field, but Brandon Lloyd was the target in the back of the end zone to extend the lead out.
Lloyd now has two touchdowns on the day, giving him two more than he had in the first seven games of the year. Both of Lloyd's grabs are touchdowns against the Rams, but he's looked good out in the open field.
End Second Quarter, Patriots 28-7: After Sam Bradford's 50-yard touchdown toss to put the Rams up 7-0 early in the first quarter, Tom Brady made a point of it to show him up.
Brady hit on 14 of 22 passes for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Patriots offense to 28 unanswered points before the half.
Gronk has killed the Rams defense across the middle with five grabs for 105 yards and a touchdown, but more importantly has made the absence of Aaron Hernandez almost unnoticeable.
As for the defense, after that God awful sequence on the first drive, the Patriots secondary has shaped up and limited all the big play opportunities.
Second Quarter, 1:56, Patriots 28-7: Pass Interference was the Patriots best friend on that drive.
Bradley Fletcher was called on a pair of pass interference calls on key third downs that saw the Patriots keep the drive alive.
Ultimately, Stevan Ridley punched in the one-yard score and put the Patriots up 28-7.
After Bradford's early TD pass, that's 28 straight points for the Patriots.
Second Quarter, 1:56, Patriots 21-7: That was a botched snap, not a designed fake.
Rough break for the Rams, who just conceded great field position to a Patriots offense that hasn't missed a beat today.
Second Quarter, 6:26, Patriots 21-7: Gronkowski is absolutely killing these Rams linebackers in coverage, and yet again Brady rocketed in past the defenders for another touchdown.
Gronk, who has been hampered by a hip problem in recent weeks, has looked smooth in his cuts and really fluid running down field. With Hernandez out, Gronk is doing it big.
That seven-yard touchdown catch was Gronk's fifth of the day and he already has 105 yards through the air. Absolute monster.
Second Quarter, 11:12, Patriots 14-7: If you're liking the way Gronk's playing in the game so far, you'll like what he was doing before the game just as much.
During a fan fest event over the weekend, featuring Gronk, Brady, Belichick and a bunch of other Patriots, Gronk decided to take the mic into his own hands. And then spike it.
The video is pretty hilarious, so check it out.
Second Quarter, 14:12, Patriots 14-7: Facing a fourth and inches at the goal line, who you gonna call? Shane Vereen?
Well, it looks like last week's outburst from Vereen has earned him some trust from Bill Belichick. Vereen pounded in the one-yard score to put the Patriots up 14-7.
Ridley looked good on that drive and Woodhead had a huge catch, but Vereen got the glory. The trio really complement each other well, though, and should only continue to grow as a unit — at least, if Josh McDaniels will give them the opportunity.
End First Quarter, 7-7: Rob Gronkwski, welcome to the party.
With Aaron Hernandez out, the Patriots were going to need someone to step up over the middle but apparently Gronk just decided to reemgere instead.
Brady has been razor sharp, hitting on eight of eight passes for 119 yards and there looks like no relenting in the future.
The defense was better on the second drive of the day, too, shutting down Bradford and forcing him into some early trouble.
First Quarter, 9:39, 7-7: Anything you can do, I can do better? Apparently, Tom Brady isn't messing around.
After Bradford led the Rams to a quick 7-0 lead with a deep pass down the field, Brady just dipped, dunked and sliced his way through the St. Louis defense for a touchdown of his own.
Any questions about this Patriots offense may not have been squashed right there, but that drive definitely eased some of the concern.
Also, it's nice to see Brandon Lloyd, who looked inept at times last week, finally getting back in the end zone and tying this one up. He might be primed for a breakout game here in London. Last time he was overseas, he busted out for nine catches and 150 yards. More of the same? I hope so.
First Quarter, 12:25, Rams 7-0: When did Joe Montana come out of retirement and start playing for the Rams?
Oh, nevermind, that's just Sam Bradford vs. a high school secondary.
The Patriots defensive backs have apparently regressed from a week where they allowed Mark Sanchez to throw for 328 yards.
Bradford hit a 50-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens, suddenly a fantasy stud, on the first drive of the game and here are the Rams up 7-0.
Devin McCourty, who looked good at safety last weekend, and Tavon Wilson were beat over the top. Shape up, boys.
12:42 p.m.: With some key players out for today's game with the Rams,
there are plenty of questions as to how the Patriots will be able to counter
the inconvenience. So, let's take
a look at some of the biggest keys for New England in London.
1. Hernandez's replacement — Much like a Gerry Bertier,
there is no replacement for an Aaron Hernandez. But the Patriots will need to
find someone to replace him while he recovers from an ankle injury, at least
for a little while. Deion Branch, who's seen increased snaps in recent weeks, and
tight end Daniel Fells will likely see even more time on the field and will be
relied upon to fill the gap left behind.
2. Secondary help, please? — With Aaron Hernandez out,
obviously the receiving corps will have to step up to fill the hole his absence
leaves behind. But who will step up to help firm up the ailing secondary, as
Chung and Gregory are out yet again? Devin McCourty's a lock to be back there
yet again. But will Tavon Wilson be able to improve over last week? And can
anyone cover out on the corners?
3. Late game letdowns — Are fourth quarter letdowns a thing
of the past? After a few disappointing finished against Baltimore, Arizona and
Seattle, Tom Brady finally led a late game winner against the Jets. So, does
this mean the worries are over? The late game struggles are concerning, and
hopefully they're a thing of the past. Although, it would be even better if
they didn't need any sort of late game heroics to pull out a win.
12:15 p.m.: While the Patriots are preparing for kickoff overseas, there
are also plenty of great games stateside this weekend.
Robert Griffin III leads the Redskins into Pittsburgh for a
showdown with a Steelers team that all but shut down Andy Dalton's Bengals last
Sunday night. With James Harrison as close to 100 percent as he's been in
nearly a year, RG III will have a tough time finding any sort of comfort in the
pocket or room to take off on the ground. It should make for an exciting bout
between arguably the league's most dynamic offensive player and one of the
NFL's best pass rushes.
Over on the other side of Pennsylvania, Mike Vick and the
3-3 Eagles welcome the NFL's final undefeated team to Philadelphia. Matt Ryan
leads the Falcons out of their bye week and into a turmoil-ridden Eagles camp
for a shot at improving their record to 7-0.
And keeping things in the NFC East, the Giants visit to
Dallas will be a test for both squads. The Cowboys have been consistently
inconsistent this season, meanwhile New York may be the best team in football,
right now. With Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee out for the season with a
knee injury, the 'Boys will need someone to step up and fill that hole in the
defense against Eli Manning's explosive offense.
11:40 a.m.: Preparations are getting underway on the field at Wembley Stadium in London. And with game time inching ever closer let's take a look at today's inactives.
While Ron Brace and Jake Bequette will be active, after being inactive last week, for Sunday's showdown with the Rams, neither starting safety will see the field.
Both Steve Gregory and Patrick Chung will miss action for a second straight week, meaning Devin McCourty should be back at safety for another week.
The big loss for the Patriots again this week, though, is offensive lineman Logan Mankins, who continues to suffer from calf and hip injuries. That will put more pressure back on Nick McDonald and Donald Thomas to keep Brady up right on the left side of the line.
OG Logan Mankins
TE Aaron Hernandez
S Steve Gregory
S Patrick Chung
RB Brandon Bolden
DL Trevor Scott
LB Tracy White
CB Ras-I Dowling (Injured reserved)
WR Danny Amendola
OT Wayne Hunter
OT Roger Saffold
QB Austin Davis
DE Eugene Sims
LB Mario Haggan
DL Matt Conrath
10:30 a.m. ET: The Patriots have traveled across the pond for a tilt in England, and hopefully they've left their recent struggles back home in New England.
With a beat-up offensive line and a secondary worthy of some fearful Halloween frights, New England will need a stellar performance from its superstars if the Pats are going to take down the Rams on Sunday.
Tom Brady said he is confident that his offense has worked out the kinks from the past two weeks and that last week's overtime win against the Jets may have finally shaken the team of their dreaded fourth-quarter woes.
If so, Brady will need a role player to step up big, as tight end Aaron Hernandez is back on the shelf after tweaking his ankle during practice this week. Both Daniel Fells and veteran wide receiver Deion Branch will be relied upon heavily to fill the void left in Hernandez's absence against a stingy Rams secondary.
Speaking of defense, Vince Wilfork will be leading the charge once again alongside Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. The Patriots' pass rush will have to get on top of third-year quarterback Sam Bradford early and often to mask some of the Patriots' issues in the defensive backfield.
Tune into the game starting at 1 p.m. ET, and see if the Patriots can out-duel the Rams in London. Keep it locked right here with the NESN.com Patriots Live Blog for all your news, notes and analysis about your New England Patriots.
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