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updated: 10/28/2012 4:57 PM

Brady, Patriots rout Rams 45-7 at Wembley

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  • New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, right, with St. Louis Rams free safety Quintin Mikell, left, in action during the second half of a NFL football game at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday.

      New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, right, with St. Louis Rams free safety Quintin Mikell, left, in action during the second half of a NFL football game at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

LONDON -- Tom Brady and the Patriots certainly seemed right at home on their second trip to London.

Brady led touchdown drives on the Patriots' first five drives Sunday and New England (5-3) ran over the St. Louis Rams 45-7 in the NFL's annual regular-season game at Wembley Stadium.

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The Rams (3-5) had looked ready to put up a fight when Sam Bradford hit Chris Givens with a 50-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the game.

But St. Louis, which arrived in London on Tuesday three days before the Patriots to get better adjusted to the time difference, was the team that looked jetlagged the rest of the way.

Brady led four straight touchdown drives to give New England a commanding 28-7 lead by halftime, and then hit Brandon Lloyd for a 9-yard score to start the third quarter.

Brady passed for 304 yards with four touchdowns and tight end Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 146 yards and two scores. Lloyd also had two touchdown catches, while Stevan Ridley ran for 127 yards and a score as the Patriots put themselves atop the AFC East heading into their off week.

The Rams, who also will be off, are now last in the NFC West after losing two in a row.

New England had at least 350 yards of total offense for the 17th straight game -- breaking an NFL record set by the Rams in 1999-2000, back when Kurt Warner was leading "The Greatest Show on Turf."

This, perhaps, was the greatest show put on by a team in London since the NFL started staging regular-season games here in 2007 -- or at least the most dominating, as New England gave the British crowd a first-hand look at the league's top-ranked offense.

After the Rams took the lead, Brady led a 78-yard drive to tie the scores with a 19-yard pass to Brandon Lloyd. On their next drive, coach Bill Belichick opted to go for it on fourth down at the one-yard line, and Shane Vereen broke into the end zone for the score.

It was the only fourth down the Rams forced until the middle of the third quarter, when the Patriots had to settle for a 26-yard field goal to make it 38-7.

In between, Brady hit Gronkowski on a 7-yard touchdown pass and Ridley had another one-yard run into the end zone for the Patriots 10 seconds before halftime.

St. Louis only had one other scoring opportunity in the first half, but botched the snap on a 52-yard field goal attempt right after the two-minute warning and holder Johnny Hekker was tackled for a 9-yard loss.

By then, though, it was clear that field goals wouldn't do much good either for the Rams, who again failed to cope with a high-powered offense after losing to Green Bay at home last weekend.

Already without leading receiver Danny Amendola, the Rams offense sputtered after Givens left the game temporarily with a toe injury late in the first quarter.

Givens' touchdown gave him a reception of at least 50 yards for the fifth straight game, a rookie record, but he only managed two more catches after returning and finished with 63 yards. Running back Steven Jackson was also largely shut down, finishing with 23 yards on seven carries. Bradford was 23 of 31 for 205 yards and added an interception in the fourth quarter before being replaced by backup Kellen Clemens near the end.

Brady, meanwhile, made full use of his multitude of weapons -- and got some help by the Rams defense along the way. St. Louis was called for pass interference on third down three times in the first half -- including twice on the final drive.

New England became the first team to win two games in London, having beaten Tampa Bay here in 2009. As expected, the Patriots also had the majority of crowd support from the 84,004 fans at Wembley, despite the Rams being the designated home team.

That, however, didn't stop backup quarterback Ryan Mallett from getting booed when taking knee to run out the clock -- one of the few aspects of the American version of football that the British crowd didn't seem to appreciate.

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