BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots take on the St. Louis Rams in London on Sunday, looking to head into their bye week with a win. Stick with CBSBostonsports.com’s Live Blog for all the action throughout the game!
Stats: Patriots-Rams Box Score
Final: Patriots 45-7:
This was the all-around game the Patriots needed heading into their bye week.
All the talk about the offense not being consistent or being able to put away an opponent will be put to rest for the next two weeks — or at least toned down. The offensive line, without Logan Mankins, kept Brady standing all day, and New England never turned the ball over.
Even the defense had a solid afternoon, keeping the Rams scoreless for the final 57 minutes of the game.
The Patriots hit the mid-way point of their season at 5-3, and on top of the AFC East. There is plenty of room for improvement overall, but Sunday’s big win will give them a good shot of confidence as they enter their bye week.
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4th Quarter, 7:04 – Patriots 45-7:
The victory cigar is out for the Patriots: It’s Ryan Mallett time.
Mallett registered the first completion of his NFL career, connecting with Shane Vereen on a nice 17-yard catch-and-run on 3-14.
He then took a hit on an incomplete, a nice little “welcome to the NFL” moment for the Patriots backup QB.
Wes Welker was back on the sidelines for New England, with his helmet still on, but it doesn’t look like he or any of the first teamers will see much action the rest of the way.
4th Quarter, 8:21 – Patriots 45-7:
A trio of rookies just came up with a big play for the Patriots defense. Chandler Jones and Justin Francis applied the pressure on Bradford, and Alfonzo Dennard capped it off by picking off the floating pass.
Dennard has made the most of his playing time in the last three weeks, and has an interception for the second straight game.
4th Quarter, 11:20 – Patriots 45-7:
Sometimes they just make it look so easy.
Tom Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for another touchdown, a 14-yard strike on 1st-and-goal, and the Patriots are out to a commanding 45-7 lead.
Gronk followed up his “changing of the guards” strut from the first half with a little dance that can’t be described by words.
Brady is up to 304 yards to go with his four touchdown passes. Gronkowski has 146 yards on eight catches and the two scores.
4th Quarter, 13:06 – Patriots 38-7:
Another injury, although this one is a lot more worrisome than Marquice Cole.
Wes Welker just limped off the field after catching his left ankle under himself on a reception.
With a 31-point lead, chances are we won’t see Welker anymore. Julian Edelman will take his spot in the slot, and we can begin all the “phasing out” talk all over again.
4th Quarter, 14:51 -Patriots 38-7:
Rams get nothing on 3-6 and Bradford is sacked again by Jones and Rob Ninkovich, as the Patriots take over on their own 45.
The one downside was Marquice Cole was injured on third down, and was seen leaving the field shortly after.
End 3rd Quarter, Patriots 38-7:
The Patriots are in control of this one, but St. Louis is driving thanks to a couple of big plays.
Bradford has completions of 15 and 22 yards to Brandon Gibson, and the Rams will face a 3-6 at the New England 37 when they come back for the fourth quarter.
No time to panic, but it would be nice to see the Patriots secondary show some signs of improvement given the fact they know the Rams will be throwing for the rest of the game.
3rd Quarter, 2:36 – Patriots 38-7:
Nothing doing for the Patriots on offense, but at least it meant Zoltan Mesko got to see his first action of the game.
Although I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded soaking all of this one in from the sidelines.
3rd Quarter, 3:35 – Patriots 38-7:
Fans across the pond just got to see why Patriots fans are so excited for rookie Chandler Jones.
He chased down Sam Bradford for a 17-yard loss on 3-4 for his sixth sack of the season. Bradford has had time all day, so it’s good to see them put some pressure on him — even with such a big lead.
The Patriots will now take over at their own 31.
3rd Quarter, 6:55 – Patriots 38-7:
After scoring a touchdown on their first five drives, the Patriots decided to let Stephen Gostkowski get a taste of the action across the pond.
The Patriots got 88 yards from Stevan Ridley on the drive, who broke a career-long 41 yard run down to the St. Louis 7-yard line, but couldn’t convert on the following three downs.
Brady had Danny Woodhead in the end zone on 3rd-and-goal, but Woodhead slipped on the wet Wembley Stadium field and the Patriots settled for three points.
Ridley is up to 119 yards on 13 carries for the day.
The Patriots have scored on their last eight possessions dating back to last week’s overtime win over the Jets.
3rd Quarter, 9:40 – Patriots 35-7:
Wes Welker and Cortland Finnegan just got into a little scrum following a Stevan Ridley run. The two were tangled up on the play, and it looked like Finnegan’s hand found it’s way under Welker’s mask.
The only surprise there is how long it took for someone to actually mix it up with the feisty Finnegan.
3rd Quarter, 9:59 – Patriots 35-7:
It took just over two minutes for the Patriots defense to get the ball back to Tom Brady, as they come up with another solid stop on the Rams offense.
While most of it had to do with Sam Bradford’s illegal forward pass on 2-6, the Pats secondary had a good stop on the ensuing third down. Bradford went to tight end Lance Kendrick, but rookie Nate Ebner was there to make the stop a few yards short of the first down.
That must have been a treat for the London crowd, although who knows if they are aware that Ebner was a college rugby player.
3rd Quarter, 12:24 – Patriots 35-7:
The Patriots wasted no time finding the end zone for the fifth time today, marching 80-yards down the field in just 2:33.
On 1st-and-goal, Brady hits a wide open Lloyd for their second touchdown connection of the day. Both of Lloyd’s catches on the afternoon (or evening in London) have gone for scores, and he’s up to three touchdowns on the season.
Stevan Ridley broke a 30-yard run on the drive, his longest of the season, and the crowd was treated again to some Gronkowski exposure, as the tight end powered his way to turn an 8-yard reception into an 11-yard reception and a first down.
The New England offense is clicking on all cylinders right now, but they can’t let up any time soon.
Hafltime – Patriots 28-7:
The Patriots took advantage of St. Louis’ mistakes, and found the end zone for the fourth time on four drives over in London.
The Rams Bradley Fletcher was whistled for a pair of pass interference calls, both on third downs, which helped the Patriots this drive. Both penalties where while covering Deion Branch, including one on 3rd-and-goal which led to Stevan Ridley’s one-yard touchdown run.
Brady went 14-for-22 in the first half for 205 yards and two touchdown passes. Gronkowski is leading the way through the air with 106 yards on five receptions.
So far the Patriots offense has looked great, scoring on all four of their possessions. Tom Brady has had plenty of time to operate in the pocket, and the team is five for six on third down conversions.
The defense let up a big play on the first drive of the game, but has done a good job keeping the Rams contained since. St. Louis had just 156 yards total in the first half, pretty good by Patriots standards.
The Patriots get the ball to start the second half, which as we’ve learned, has been when they struggled most the last three weeks.
2nd Quarter, 1:52 – Patriots 21-7:
The Rams just had a pair of busted plays, and the Patriots were able to take advantage.
First up was a bad snap to Sam Bradford, which led to a poorly timed play that saw Bradford taken down hard by Patriots Dont’a Hightower. After getting the ball to rookie back Daryl Richardson, Bradford was driven down to the ground by Hightower and immediately grabbed his left shoulder. However, the Rams used a timeout and Bradford didn’t miss a play — dodging a huge bullet.
After the Patriots came up with a couple of stops to bring up 4-5, a bad snap on Greg Zuerlein’s 54-yard attempt gave New England the ball at their own 44 with 1:52 to play.
Now it’s up to Brady and co. to make something of the two mistakes.
2nd Quarter, 6:24 – Patriots 21-7:
The fans in London got to see their Gronkowski spike, and a little extra as well.
Brady and Gronk hooked up three times on the 9-play, 78-yard touchdown drive, with the pair capping it off with a seven-yard touchdown. Gronk had 56-yards on the drive, and is up to 106-yards on five receptions for the game.
Before sending down the spike Gronk did a bit of a march in the end zone, doing his best royal guard impression. The man is loved wherever he goes.
2nd Quarter, 9:55 – Patriots 14-7:
The Patriots defense came through on another third down, although it could have been a lot better for them.
Sam Bradford — under heavy pressure from Chandler Jones — went to Steve Smith on 3-15, who was ruled to make the catch. He then had the ball poked out by Marquice Cole, in for the injured Arrington, and Ninkovich was there to fall on the ball at the St. Louis 25-yard line.
It would have been Ninkovich’s third fumble recovery of the season, but the play was reviewed and it was ruled that Smith never had possession of the ball.
The Rams had to punt anyways, and the Patriots will take over at their own 22-yard line.
2nd Quarter, 14:16 – Patriots 14-7:
The fans in London were just treated to some surgery by Tom Brady and the New England offense.
After Brady marched the team down the field, Shane Vereen picked up a 4th and goal touchdown to put the Patriots up 14-7 in the second quarter following a 9-play, 83-yard drive. It’s Vereen’s second one-yard touchdown run of the season.
Brady and Gronkowski hooked up for a pair of long plays; a 25-yard reception over the middle and an amazing 25-yard over the shoulder grab by Gronk down to the 1-yard line. Fans did not get to see Gronk spike though, as he did with a microphone earlier in the week.
Brady had a perfect first quarter, but missed on his first attempt (to Gronkowski in the end zone) in the second. He’s now 8/9 for 119 yards and a touchdown.
One injury note to pass along: Patriots corner Kyle Arrington suffered a head injury in the first quarter, and is doubtful to return. Sterling Moore and Marquice Cole will take his spot on defense.
1st Quarter, 3:43 – 7-7:
The Patriots defense keeps the Rams from doing much on their second offensive possession.
After picking up a pair of first downs, the New England D buckled down and forced St. Louis the punt. The Patriots sent an all-out blitz on a 3-5 from the St. Louis 47, with Brandon Meriweather and Chandler Jones giving chase to Sam Bradford. The Rams QB was forced to throw the ball away, or deal with the wrath of either Patriot defender. While he was whistled for an intentional grounding, he made the right choice in throwing it away.
The Patriots secondary may have lucked out a bit, as Givens was seen limping to the St. Louis locker room.
1st Quarter, 7:50 – 7-7:
The Patriots didn’t waste any time evening things up in London. Brady marched his team down the field, and hit a wide-open Brandon Lloyd for a 19-yard touchdown — his second of the season.
The Patriots converted on both of their third downs on the drive; a 24-yard screen to Danny Woodhead and the Lloyd touchdown. The Pats also benefited from a Rams 10-yard hold on the first third down they faced.
Brady was 4/4 on the drive throwing the ball to four different receivers — Lloyd, Woodhead, Welker and Edelman. It’s the fourth straight game he’s thrown a first-quarter touchdown.
1st Quarter, 12:25 – Rams 7-0:
Different country, same story for the Patriots secondary. After chipping away on the drive’s first four plays, Sam Bradford goes deep to Chris Givens for a 50-yard touchdown strike. Tavon Wilson was beat on the play, and the Patriots find themselves in an early 7-0 hole.
We probably could have seen this one coming. Givens now has five straight games with a 50-yard reception, a new NFL record. This touchdown was eerily similar to the one the Seahawks used to beat the Patriots two weeks ago in Seattle.
It’s the 37th play of 20 or more yards the Patriots defense has given up this season, worst in the NFL.
1st Quarter, 15:00
The Patriots won the coin toss, and elected to defer. The Rams will get the ball first, with the Patriots getting possession at the half.
The Patriots arrived in London on Friday, while the Rams spent the week overseas. In the end, the Patriots may end up spending close to a week in London anyways, as they may have to wait to fly back to the U.S. until the middle of the week thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
But before they can leave, they need to take care of business on the Wembley Stadium field. Protecting Tom Brady will be at a premium now with guard Logan Mankins added to the inactive list for Sunday’s game. It’s the second straight week Mankins has been inactive while dealing with calf and hip issues, and likely means another start for Donald Thomas at left guard.
The New England offense will also be without tight end Aaron Hernandez, who didn’t make the trip to England. Look for another big game from receiver Wes Welker, who had just 66 yards against the Jets last week. It was the first time he didn’t break the 100-yard mark in five weeks. Julian Edelman could also see some expanded time on offense in Hernandez’ absence, and he may even make an appearance on the defensive side of the ball given the Patriots long list of injured defensive backs.
The Patriots would love to get to 5-3 entering their bye week. The last thing they want is to give Bill Belichick plenty of film to break down over the next two weeks — he already has enough as it is.
Tune in to Patriots-Rams on 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ-TV, or listen LIVE online. Following the game, stay tuned for three hours of post game coverage on 98.5, and Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV.