Just as Hurricane Sandy threatens to shake New England, the Patriots found a way to settle down in London. Zoltan Mesko punted only twice and Stephen Gostkowski had only one field goal attempt as the offense took the red zone by storm. Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdown passes. The Brandon Lloyd situation was resolved and he had his first multi-touchdown game of the season. Rob Gronkowski led all receivers with a season high eight receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Not to mention he was able to showcase a few new additions to his touchdown dance.
Tom Brady and the offense got it together in London, now in the bye week they’ll have to determine what kind of team they’re going to be. (FILE:USPresswire)
But just because the Patriots sailed past the Rams without a second glance, that doesn’t mean they have completely turned the corner. Brian Schottenheimer, the offensive coordinator for the Rams, called a conservative game. The Rams’ first drive of the game looked promising after they took just over two and a half minutes to go 80 yards for a touchdown. But after that, their offense went numb and failed to put any more points on the board. By the time they found the red zone, there was less than two minutes left in the game. The Rams were unable to take advantage of this Patriots secondary like every other team has done this season. Sam Bradford by the numbers did not have that bad of a day. He was 23 of 31, threw for 205 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He showed early he has the arm, but due to play calling, he wasn’t able to showcase it often.
What really hurt the Rams was penalties. Specifically, Bradley Fletcher. It must be something about the number 32 because he was called for pass interference three times on Sunday. In total the Rams gave up 102 yards to the Patriots. There were several opportunities for the Rams to force the Patriots to fourth and long but they were negated by penalties. This defense got tired and their sloppiness only hurt them further keeping them on the field longer than they should have been.
By the end of this game it looked more like a preseason matchup than a regular season game as Ryan Mallett and Rams’ backup QB Kellen Clemens both saw action. From a health standpoint, this was the right call for both teams. Bradford took some brutal hits and there was a scary moment after he was drilled into the ground by Dont’a Hightower in the second quarter. Wes Welker got his toe caught in the grass and limped off the field but he appears to be fine and it shouldn’t be cause for worry, especially with an extra week to rest.
Walking away from London the Patriots picked up a vital win and walk away almost as healthy as when they arrived. Ron Brace is a valuable backup and his injury is something to monitor, as well as Welker’s and as always, the health of Gronkowski. He still doesn’t look like the player from last year, his running seems laborious but the good news is his spirit seems untouched.
On defense there is still more work to be done. The Patriots got lucky with the Rams play calling and were not tested as often as they should have been. The front seven were strong and this linebacking core is really developing together. Defensively, the Patriots did not receive one pass interference call. A small improvement given the level of competition. Keeping this game in perspective, it is a good stepping stone into the bye week. The offense was able to find consistency and the defense worked as a unit to limit penalties and not beat themselves. Now it’s time for the Patriots to get back to the east coast and work to find out what kind of team they’re going to be in the second half.