Final, Patriots 26-10: And that will do it.
With one final kneeldown, Tom Brady closes out another Patriots victory and becomes the winningest quarterback in NFL history in the process. This was Brady’s 201st career win, moving him past Peyton Manning and into first place on the league’s all-time list.
Next up for the Patriots is a date with the Baltimore Ravens next Monday night at Gillette Stadium.
Fourth quarter, 1:15, Patriots 26-10: On what likely will end up being their final drive of the day, the Rams finally found the end zone.
Jared Goff hit Kenny Britt for 66-yard completion that gave L.A. the ball on the New England 1, and the two hooked up again two plays later for the Rams’ first touchdown of the afternoon. — Z.C.
Fourth quarter, 3:29, Patriots 26-3: Another punt. Rams ball. — Z.C.
Fourth quarter, 5:52, Patriots 26-3: The Patriots take over following another Hekker punt. — Z.C.
Fourth quarter, 7:04, Patriots 26-3: A 13-yard catch-and-run by Malcolm Mitchell gave the Patriots a bit of breathing room, but their drive stalled shortly afterward. The Rams take over at their own 31-yard line following a Ryan Allen punt. — Z.C.
Fourth quarter, 9:10, Patriots 26-3: Former Ram Chris Long wrestled Jared Goff to the turf on third down, forcing yet another L.A. punt. Johnny Hekker boomed a 76-yard beauty, pinning New England back at its own 5-yard line.
In case you were wondering, Tom Brady still is in the game. It’s not Jimmy Garoppolo time just yet. — Z.C.
Fourth quarter, 10:48, Patriots 26-3: This certainly has been a productive day for Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots’ kicker just drilled his fourth field goal in as many tries to extend New England’s lead even further.
The four made field goals are a single-game season high for Gostkowski, whose last four-field goal performance came in Week 15 of last season. — Zack Cox
Third quarter, 3:06, Patriots 23-3: The Patriots allowed one first down before shutting down the Rams. They suffered two injuries in a short span, however. Rookie cornerback Cyrus Jones replaced Eric Rowe late in the drive. Rowe looked like he might be dealing with a hamstring injury.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola left for the locker room after limping off the field following his punt return.
UPDATE: Rowe (hamstring) and Amendola (ankle) both are questionable to return.
Third quarter, 3:06, Patriots 23-3: The Patriots further increased their lead on another long field goal from Gostkowski. This one was a 45-yarder after the Patriots’ offense couldn’t move the ball.
Brady is just 23 of 33 for 180 yards with one touchdown without Rob Gronkowski. His production will be worth monitoring as the season progresses.
Third quarter, 4:56, Patriots 20-3: Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy snagged his first career interception on the first play of the Rams’ drive. He leapt in the air and snatched it out of the air.
Third quarter, 5:08, Patriots 20-3: The Patriots are back up by three scores, a lead that seems insurmountable for the Rams’ anemic offense.
Stephen Gostkowski booted 48-yard field goal to cancel out the Rams’ lone score.
Brady helped the Patriots move down the field on 32- and 15-yard completions to Edelman, who now has 76 yards on the game.
Third quarter, 7:50, Patriots 17-3: The Rams put together a pretty nice little drive and avoided the shutout with a 44-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein. The Rams still only have 75 yards on offense.
Third quarter, 12:45, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots, like the Rams, were penalized then went three and out on offense. Brady went just 1 of 3 for 5 yards on that drive.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was banged up on the last play of the Rams’ previous drive but he’s back on the field for the Patriots’ first defensive play of the upcoming series.
Third quarter, 14:03, Patriots 17-0: The Rams began the second half as they played in the first: with a three-and-out. They gained just 11 yards but went back 5 on a penalty.
The Patriots have the ball on their own 11-yard line.
Halftime, Patriots 17-0: Troy Brown had his David Ortiz moment at halftime as the 2001 Patriots Super Bowl XXXVI champions were honored.
Brown said the Patriots took on the Greatest Show on Turf, but the Patriots were the “greatest (expletive) team on earth.”
Lawyer Milloy, Drew Bledsoe and Tedy Bruschi also spoke at the half.
End half, Patriots 17-0: The Rams kneeled on the ball to end the half.
Second quarter, 0:11, Patriots 17-0: The Patriots look like they’ll take a three-score lead into the first half.
The refs missed an obvious facemask penalty during the drive.
Stephen Gostkowski hit a 28-yard field goal to put the Patriots up 17-0.
Brady is 17 of 22 for 113 yards with one touchdown and one 3-yard carry. Blount has 11 carries for 70 yards with a touchdown. Lewis has five carries for 27 yards while White has three carries for 17 yards.
Julian Edelman leads the Patriots with 29 yards on three catches. Malcolm Mitchell has four catches for 26 yards, and Danny Amendola has two receptions for 25 yards. Chris Hogan has the Patriots’ 14-yard touchdown catch.
Second quarter, 5:30, Patriots 14-0: Another Rams drive, another three-and-out.
Ryan brought pressure again on first down, forcing an incompletion. On third down, Devin McCourty broke up a pass intended for Kenny Britt.
Ryan, McCourty and Britt all went to Rutgers. That’s just a fun fact.
Second quarter, 6:20, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots were forced to punt again after picking up two first downs on long third-down conversions. They couldn’t get it done on third and 7, when Brady was pressured and forced to throw the ball away.
Brady went after Rams safety T.J. McDonald, who held the QB for an extra beat after hitting the quarterback.
Second quarter, 10:58, Patriots 14-0: The Rams are not very good.
They have 21 yards through four offensive drives. Logan Ryan gave the Patriots their first sack of the game on a blitz from the slot on second down. Gurley picked up 2 yards on first down, and Goff connected with tight end Tyler Higbee for 10 yards on third down before the punt.
The Patriost have the ball on their own 22-yard line.
Second quarter, 13:04, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots are on the board again. Brady sent a 14-yard pass to Chris Hogan in the corner of the end zone. Hogan snagged it out of the air in front of Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines.
Brady is now 9 of 10 for 50 yards with the touchdown pass.
Second quarter, 15:00, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots picked off their first pass in over a month. Goff targeted tight end Lance Kendricks. The ball went off his hands and into Malcolm Butler’s. Butler already had a pass breakup in the game.
The Patriots have the ball on the Rams’ 30-yard line.
First quarter, 2:21, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots were forced to punt again after they stalled following two first downs.
First quarter, 5:39, Patriots 7-0: This could be a long day for Goff, who just led the Rams to another three-and-out. He has started the game 1 of 4 for just 6 yards. Todd Gurley has two carries for 1 yard.
Johnny Hekker’s punt was muffed by Patriots rookie returner Cyrus Jones and recovered by New England’s Patrick Chung. The Patriots have the ball on their own 19-yard line.
First quarter, 7:20, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots forced a three-and-out and punt on their first defensive series as the Rams went backwards on a 1-yard loss by running back Todd Gurley and two incomplete passes from QB Jared Goff.
The Patriots then went backward on a holding penalty by rookie left guard Joe Thuney on the first play of their second drive. Brady then completed two passes for 4 yards, and James White carried the ball once for 4 yards before the Rams forced the Patriots to punt.
The Rams have the ball for their second drive at the 28-yard line.
First quarter, 10:38, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots had no problem scoring on their first offensive possession, easily driving down the field on just eight plays. They ran the ball five times for 68 yards, including a 43-yard TD run by LeGarrette Blount when the Patriots went for it on fourth and 1 near midfield. Blount embarrassed Rams safety Maurice Alexander on the play.
Quarterback Tom Brady was 3 of 3 for 12 yards on the drive.
First quarter, 15:00: The Rams won the coin toss and chose to defer. The Patriots will receive to start the game.
Lawyer Milloy, Troy Brown and Drew Bledsoe were honorary Patriots captains for the coin toss.
12:18 p.m.: The Patriots reportedly offered Martellus Bennett a contract extension worth $7 million per season, but the tight end turned it down, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Bennett is extremely valuable to the Patriots given Rob Gronkowski’s injury history.
12:11 p.m.: Tom Brady just took the field to his usual entrance music: Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement”.
11:35 a.m.: Patriots inactives:
SS Jordan Richards
OT LaAdrian Waddle
RB D.J. Foster
WR/ST Matthew Slater
DT Darius Kilgo
DT Woodrow Hamilton
CB Justin Coleman
— The Patriots’ special teams takes a hit without Richards and Slater, but Nate Ebner (concussion) is active.
— The Patriots will roll with just three defensive tackles: Malcom Brown, Alan Branch and Vincent Valentine.
— The Patriots’ fourth cornerback will be Cyrus Jones. Rookie Jonathan Jones also is active.
10:28 a.m.: In hilarious news, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher reportedly signed a two-year contract extension this season despite leading a mediocre team year after year and an inability to name Patriots offensive playmakers.
We’re posted up at Gillette Stadium. Kick off is in just over 2 1/2 hours.
8 a.m. ET: The New England Patriots’ season starts anew without tight end Rob Gronkowski at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.
Gronkowski was placed on season-ending injured reserve Saturday afternoon, which means the big tight end cannot return for the regular season or playoffs. The Patriots must make do with Martellus Bennett and Matt Lengel at the position against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13 and beyond.
The Patriots are favored over the Rams by 13.5 points, despite the loss of Gronkowski. That sounds about right, since the Rams are 4-7 and fortunate to even have that many wins.
Rams starting wide receiver Tavon Austin (doubtful with a chest ailment) and pass rusher Robert Quinn (questionable with a concussion) both are on the injury report. Neither player practiced this week and reportedly aren’t expected to play, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Patriots ruled out safety Jordan Richards. Our guess for the final six inactives: running back D.J. Foster, wide receiver/special teamer Matthew Slater (foot), offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle, defensive tackles Woodrow Hamilton (illness) and Darius Kilgo and safety Nate Ebner (concussion). Defensive end Trey Flowers also could be on the list. He’s dealing with a shin injury. Linebacker Elandon Roberts (jaw) also was added to the injury report Friday.
The Patriots will hold a ceremony at halftime for their Super Bowl XXXVI-winning team, which fittingly beat the then St. Louis Rams. Here’s how the Patriots, not the Rams, became the dynasty of the 2000s.
It will be fun to see how the Patriots’ running backs fare this afternoon, since Rams head coach Jeff Fisher couldn’t seem to recall Dion Lewis or James White’s names Wednesday.
Stay here for updates and analysis before and throughout Sunday’s game, which airs on FOX.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images