The Patriots enter the final quarter of their Week 8 game against the Rams with a massive 38-7 lead. Passing along notes and observations from the third quarter.
1. Deja vu to start second half. As they say, if some is good, more is better, as quarterback Tom Brady found receiver Brandon Lloyd for an opening-drive touchdown to start the second half, just as he did in the first half. Strong response from Lloyd after really struggling in Week 7 against the Jets. His two touchdowns mark his first multi-score effort since Nov. 28, 2010, when he was a member of the Broncos. The opponent that day? The St. Louis Rams.
2. Big crowd at Wembley. The attendance count for today's game was announced, and an amazing 84,004 fans are on hand to see these two teams play. Whether an NFL team ever is placed in London remains to be seen, but the NFL certainly has had its share of success in hosting these annual games "across the pond." With two more games scheduled in London next season, the NFL has lined up additional opportunities for exposure going forward. The popularity of football is bound to grow internationally.
3. Ridley the man in the third. Running back Stevan Ridley was in the business of setting and re-setting a career-high longest rush in the third quarter, as he followed a 30-yard scamper with a 41-yarder later in the quarter. He has surpassed the 100-yard rushing barrier for the fourth time this season, and now has 119 yards on the ground through three quarters. The Patriots were balanced at running back during the first half, with Ridley splitting snaps with both Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen. In the third quarter, however, Ridley became the go-to guy.
4. High marks for offensive tackles. We highlighted the pass-rushing abilities of the Rams leading up to the game, led by defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Through three quarters, the two have combined for two tackles and no sacks. Credit is due to the entire Patriots' offensive line, in particular tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer. The duo has been outstanding today, and solid throughout the season, standing toe-to-toe against a number of feared pass-rushing pairs.
5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were called for penalties during the third quarter: cornerback Sterling Moore (holding), offensive tackle Nate Solder (holding; penalty was declined), and defensive end Chandler Jones (offsides).