Four words you'd probably thought you'd never see.
Same with "Halloween Hurricane Hits Northeast."
While Frankenstorm - also known as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy - is doing her best to terrorize the East Coast, the Patriots scared the hell out of the Rams on Sunday. While the Rams came in costume as legitimate threat against New England, they left Wembley Stadium (84,004 - another Red Sox sellout) - with a pillow case full of rocks.
Offensive coordinator/wunderkind Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady had to go to England to find themselves on the same page. Maybe McDaniels operates better on Greeenwich Mean Time. Brady, whose current offensive rampage began with the final two drives against the Jets last week in Foxborough, kept it going with a spectacular vintage Brady performance against the Rams in London, as New England scored 45 unanswered points in a 45-7 rout of the Rams.
Jolly good show, chaps.
It was fitting that Brady and the 5-3 Patriots were playing the Rams in England since they knocked out their teeth. The Patriots' first six drives Sunday resulted in five touchdowns and a field goal. (Make that eight straight scoring drives if you count the last two possessions against the Jets.) Among the items currently outlawed in England: handguns, the Rams defense and dental floss. Gone were the jitters that bothered Brady against Seattle and - mostly - against the Jets. The offensive line - even without Logan Mankins - gave Brady so much time that the Big Bang Clock - also known as Big Ben - could have chimed non stop for three hours tallying up the scores. While Brady operated with the efficiency of James Bond, he was neither shaken nor stirred nor sacked on Sunday - a first this season. This was "Skyfall" Patriots-style all over the Rams.
Brady's numbers were Shakespearean in their elegance: 23-of-35 passing (66 percent) for 304 yards - the 50th 300-plus-yard regular season game of his career - with four TD's, no interceptions and a QB rating of 131.1. There was no dodging, ducking, flinching or diving. Not to mention not Aaron Hernandez. Just standing in the pocket, working play-action and on-target passing - not to mention a 127 yards rushing on 15 carries from Stevan Ridley.
With the Patriots down 7-0, Brady came out slinging and the Rams had no answer. The Patriots delivered their message on the first drive - when Brady found Brandon Lloyd wide open on the corner of the end zone on a 3rd-and-1 from the 19 with 7:50 to play in the first quarter. The Rams were playing run or short pass, while Brady and the Pats were thinking jugular early and often. That's a definite change of mindset from recent weeks, especially early on in games where the Patriots had seemingly been afraid to open up. The trip back to 2007 continued on the Patriots' next drive, when, faced with a fourth-and-1 at the 1, the Patriots passed on the sure field goal gave the ball to Shane Vereen who powered in to give New England the lead once and for all at 14-7.
Then, the fun really got started. Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski over the middle on a seven-yard TD pass that wrapped up a nine-play drive that tore up 78 yards in just 3:29. Gronk had eight catches for 148 yards, two touchdowns and two epic spikes.
No one thought he'd top Saturday's historic mic spike. Well, Gronk answered those critics wit his first spike Sunday - The Changing of the Guard - was one for the ages and ranks as one of the most creative post-score celebrations in recent NFL memory.
"That first one was that the guy that guards the palace - how he walks back and forth. It's a cool London tradition type thing," Gronk said in comments aired on Comcast Sports Net after the game. "I like how he just sits there and stays still. I give that one to Chandler (Jones)." The second one? Maybe a Euro Dance/Gangnam Style/"Dancing With The Stars" audition.
The Gronk spikes were almost as destructive as Brandon Spikes, who had eight tackles and no profane tweets - at least during the game, and the rest of New England's defense.
Rookie corner Alfonzo Dennard grabbed a goal-line interception in the fourth quarter and Jones got his sixth sack of the season earlier, tripping up Bradford for a loss of 17 yards. Even his brothers had to be impressed.
You like that?— Chandler Jones (@Chan95Jones) October 28, 2012
If this was Halloween week for the Patriots, then Bill Belichick loaded up on snickers in his post-game press conference. Harry Potter's wizardry had nothing on the Patriots' gameplan and execution. If you looked hard enough, you could see the glee in Belichick's face after the game. During his post-game press conference - he gave us the standard: "We have a lot of respect for the Rams. They're a good football team." Translation: "They sucked. We killed them." We got at least three smirks from the Hoodie while discussing the London trip - one more smile and Donald Trump would have donated $5 million to Rex Ryan's favorite charity: "The Save The Quarterback Foundation."
Would have been great to see Belichick walk out there and say: "OK, Jeff Fisher, that's 104-7 in our last two games against you. Next time, we score 70." Then give us a mic drop ala Gronk and walk away from the podium. But instead, we got platitudes about how well-coached the Rams were. Of course, no one is perfect. "We did a lot good things defensively, but it wasn't perfect," Belichick said. Translation: "What the hell happened on that first drive?" - when the Rams scored on a 50-yard TD bomb from Sam Bradford to Chris Givens.
In all, we had a very happy Bill, who approached the Patriots' presence in London and the related travel and disruptions with all the enthusiasm of someone awaiting a colonoscopy.
The Patriots have a bye week coming up, then get the Bills and Colts at home. Just like last season, the Patriots enter the second-half of their season with many easy, winnable games on the schedule. The AFC East remains theirs to lose. Their two toughest opponents - the Texans and 49ers - have to at least come to Foxborough to get their crack at the Patriots' secondary. The lone challenge for New England the road will come against the rejuvenated Dolphins - two more words I'd thought I'd never write - on Dec. 2.
Brady demonstrated Sunday that he and this offense are more than capable of destroying an average defense, never mind one that beat the Cardinals and Seahawks this season.
Which was something the Patriots' defense couldn't do.
Now just imagine how good Brady would be if he ever got to face the Patriots' secondary each week in a real game?
Now that's a scary thought.
As always, let us know what you think. Join our in-game Patriots-Bills fan chat on Nov. 11, not come back here to check out our thoughts on the Celtics when they open the season Tuesday. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF.
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