LONDON -- Sharing some thoughts at halftime as the Patriots lead the Rams, 28-7:
Offensively, quarterback Tom Brady is on fire -- four drives, four touchdowns, 28 unanswered points. It’s been easy pickings.
From an Xs and Os standpoint, the Patriots are running the majority of their snaps out of the three-WR grouping without tight end Aaron Hernandez, and the Rams are matching with a nickel (five defensive backs). Brady is getting excellent protection up front and the Rams’ secondary has looked overmatched (and the Patriots have benefited from several penalty flags).
The Rams have no answer for tight end Rob Gronkowski. Even though Gronkowski isn't running as well as he has in the past -- a result of injury -- he’s still a force.
Going for it on fourth down from the 1, on the second drive, was an aggressive statement by the Patriots. Shane Vereen and strong blocking made it pay off.
While the offense has scored points on all four of its possessions, the defense settled down after a shaky start, giving up a 50-yard touchdown on a bomb to receiver Chris Givens.
A blitz by linebacker Brandon Spikes produced a stop on the Rams’ second drive, and cornerback Marquice Cole was in coverage on Steve Smith on another third-down stop that was initially ruled a catch and fumble but was overturned on replay to an incomplete pass.
On the Rams’ fourth drive, solid pressure drew a holding penalty to set up a long-yardage situation that ultimately halted the St. Louis march.
Strong play on early downs in both drives helped the Patriots on the critical third down. Yes, that was defensive lineman Vince Wilfork running to the sideline to make an impressive second-down tackle.
Overall, you can’t ask for much more from the Patriots. They wanted to surge into their bye and they’re 30 minutes from doing just that.
The Patriots get the ball to start the second half.