By Traci McCartney @traciamc
Rams 10 Patriots 26
Tom Brady became the winningest quarterback in NFL history, logging his 201st win, defeating the visiting Los Angeles Rams.
It was a special weekend, as the New England Patriots celebrated the 15 year anniversary of their first Super Bowl win against, coincidentally, the then St. Louis Rams. It was an unlikely victory, with young Tom Brady taking over the quarterback duties from Drew Bledsoe after a season ending injury. Tom Brady is the only Patriots player from that Super Bowl team still playing, and he’s playing at a very high level at the ripe old age of 39 – winning 3 more Super Bowls since, and showing no signs of retiring.
Rookie quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams came into Foxborough hoping to get the young quarterback his first win, but that seemed unlikely by halftime. The Patriots were up 17-0 at the half, with 230 yards of offense to the Rams 90. The defense played well, putting a lot of pressure on the young quarterback, who managed to extend some plays only to see his receivers drop passes. However, the Patriots defense combined for 4 sacks and 2 interceptions of Goff, making it difficult for the Rams to move the ball. One of those sacks coming from former Ram Chris Long.
The Patriots dominated the game on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. They controlled the time of possession, keeping the ball over 15 minutes longer than the Rams – more than an entire quarter of football. The offense logged over 400 yards to the Rams 162, 66 of which came on the Rams touchdown drive at the end of the 4th quarter.
Patriots’ fans wondered what the offense would look like this week, now that we know Rob Gronkowski is out for the season having back surgery. And what we saw was a lot of spreading the love: Brady completed 33 passes to 7 different receivers for 269 yds and 1 TD. Malcolm Mitchell, the rookie out of Georgia, seems to have gained Brady’s trust making 8 receptions for 82 yards. He had a couple of drops, but Brady continued to go back to him, proving he’s a reliable target. It doesn’t seem like Martellus Bennett is going to be filling Gronk’s shoes any time soon, unfortunately. The tight end dropped a couple of passes, including what could have been a touchdown pass from Brady right before the half.
LeGarrett Blount had a pretty good day, averaging 4.9 yards per carry for his 18/88 yd day, including a 43 yd run on 4th down and 1 in the first half for a touchdown, the very first score for the Patriots of the day.
Another impression from the game today – our defensive backs are not afraid to tackle. Malcolm Butler delivered some very hard hits today, knocking the ball out on a couple of pass plays and logging an interception. Logan Ryan seemed to be right there rushing the quarterback, including his sack of Jared Goff on the corner blitz. Defensive tackling was spot on, and the Patriots held the Rams to only 36 yds overall rushing.
The Patriots are now 10-2 and leading in the AFC East. With the Miami Dolphins being trounced on by the Ravens in Baltimore, they look likely to take the division for the 8th year in a row. But the Patriots will be hosting the Ravens in Foxborough next week, for what is sure to be a challenge. Also ahead, a trip to Denver to take on the Broncos. It’s unclear which quarterback the Patriots will face, but the tough Denver defense is always a challenge.
But for now – we’re on to Baltimore!
Featured image courtesy: Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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