The New England Patriots offense finally looked like the unstoppable force its supposed to be.
There were glimmers against Buffalo and Tennessee, but it's been a while since the Patriots (5-3) really got it going in all facets of the game like they did in Sunday's 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams (3-5) at Wembley Stadium in London.
The gimmicks and deception were put in the bag, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels got back to basics. He turned QB Tom Brady loose and finally realized that TE Rob Gronkowski is the league's biggest mismatch.
It may be easy to dismiss the performance since it came against the Rams, but St. Louis beat two teams New England lost to (Arizona and Seattle) and entered the game with a top-10 defense and ranked fifth with 21 sacks.
Without viewing the tape, it didn't seem like Brady got hit once during the game.
When the game turned: When the Patriots received the ball the first time? This one was in the bag fairly early, but if you're looking for the moment when it got out of hand it came during the second quarter when the Rams botched a field-goal attempt with two minutes remaining. New England followed with another touchdown, its fourth in as many drives, to lead 28-7.
Highlight moments: Rams WR Chris Givens got open with a nice double move on Pats S Tavon Wilson on the opening drive and pulled in a 50-yard touchdown reception. … Patriots TE Gronkowski had several highlight moments, but he makes the list for a touchdown celebration. Putting some international flair on his signature spike, he preceded it by marching like a Buckingham Palace guard on his first touchdown. Asked what the dance was after the game, Gronkowski said he was imitating that “little nutcracker dude that's guarding the house."… Patriots DE Chandler Jones got his sixth sack of the season by dropping Sam Bradford for a 17-yard loss in the third quarter.
- QB Brady -- 23 of 35 for 304 yards, 4 TD passes, no interceptions
- RB Stevan Ridley -- 15 carries, 127 yards, 8.5 ypc
- TE Gronkowski -- 8 receptions, 146 yards, 2 TDs
What they said about the win:
- Patriots coach Bill Belichick -- “It's a great feeling walking out of here knowing that we can walk out of here with a win. … It feels good to come to London and get this kind of result.”
- Patriots QB Brady -- “It was a fun day for us offensively. We played pretty well in the first half and then were able to make plays in the third and fourth quarters.”
- Rams DE Chris Long – “We made Tom Brady look like Tom Brady.”
Numbers you should know: Brady was 8 of 8 for 119 yards in the first quarter for a perfect passer rating. … Ridley ran for 88 yards in the second quarter. … Gronkowski accounted for 56 of 78 yards on New England's third scoring drive.
Injury update: Rams -- OL Joe Barksdale left the game with an undisclosed injury late in the game. ... T Barry Richardson was evaluated for a concussion but was cleared to return. Patriots -- CB Marquice Cole left the game with an undisclosed leg injury. … WR Wes Welker appeared to injure his ankle in the fourth quarter. … DL Ron Brace left the game with an undisclosed injury.
Going forward: Both teams are on bye next week. The Rams come back with a tough game at San Francisco in Week 10, and the Patriots host the Bills.
Follow Nick Underhill @CBSPats or @nick_underhill.
Get more Rams updates and analysis from Larry Hartstein @CBSRams.