Snap Judgments: Tom Brady and Patriots crush Rams, 45-7
|10.28.12 at 4:14 pm ET|
The Patriots picked up their second consecutive win on Sunday, crushing the Rams 45-7 at Wembley Stadium in England. New England, which trailed 7-0 right out of the gate, scored 45 unanswered points on the way to the blowout.
Tom Brady led the Patriots, going 23-for-35 for 304 yards and four touchdowns. (The Patriots felt so secure down the stretch that they allowed backup Ryan Mallett to finish things up in the fourth quarter.) Meanwhile, tight end Rob Gronkowski finished with eight catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns and running back Stevan Ridley chipped in with 15 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon. On the other side of the ball, St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford went 23-for-31 for 205 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Here are a few quick notes on what happened:
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE PATRIOTS
‘¢The Patriots offense struggled to take advantage of the gifts they were given early on against the Jets, but there were no such problems Sunday against the Rams, as New England scored on all of its possessions in the first half and effectively put the game out of reach by halftime. Buoyed by a stellar performance from an offensive line that was missing left guard Logan Mankins (Donald Thomas got the call in his place), the Patriots’ offense was crisp, efficient and dominant both on the ground and in the air.
‘¢The Patriots were able to run the ball quite easily for much of the afternoon, as Ridley had a terrific day that included runs of 30 and 41 yards in the third quarter, with the 41-yarder a great example of well-executed football — the play featured some great blocking by New England’s offensive line, fantastic vision by Ridley and a really nice burst into the secondary. It was a really impressive afternoon for Ridley.
‘¢Brady and Gronkowski were able to exploit a weakness in the young and aggressive St. Louis defense, finding space down the seam against the Rams’ outside linebackers and safeties. Gronkowski had a pair of touchdown catches, and ended up with a season high for yardage on the day. Meanwhile, Brady was barely touched, and the extra time allowed him to stand in the pocket and operate with ease. He found wide receiver Brandon Lloyd for a pair of touchdown passes, one in the first quarter that tied the game at seven and another at the start of the third quarter.
‘¢While there were some blips in the pass coverage — other than the first drive, none of Bradford’s yardage through the air was of any consequence — it was an improvement on the last few games for New England. (Rookies Alfonzo Dennard and Tavon Wilson ended up with interceptions.) And once again, the Patriots were able to bottle up a high-profile running back. On the heels of dominant performances against the likes of Chris Johnson (11 carries, four yards vs. Patriots), Fred Jackson (13 carries, 29 yards), Willis McGahee (14 carries, 51 yards) and Marshawn Lynch (15 carries, 41 yards), New England held Steven Jackson in check for the entire afternoon — he ended up going for 23 yards on seven carries.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE PATRIOTS
‘¢There wasn’t much wrong on the day for New England, but Patriots fans suffered a scary flashback on the Rams’ opening drive when Bradford found speedy wide receiver Chris Givens on a 50-yard touchdown pass down the middle that was almost identical to the deep ball that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson delivered two weeks ago to beat the Patriots, right down to the fact that it was rookie defensive back Wilson who was beaten on both occasions. It was the fifth straight game where Givens had a reception of 50-plus yards, a new NFL record.