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Patriots vs. Rams: What We Learned from New England's 45-7 Win in London

Let's take a look at what we learned from New England's 45-7 routing over the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium in London.

Scott Heavey

For the first time since Week 1, we saw the New England Patriots play a complete game.

It's rather upsetting that we actually have to sit here and worry about Bill Belichick and the Patriots playing a complete game and totally dominating their opponent—but that's what 2012 has come to for the Patriots.

Granted, the St. Louis Rams are a young and promising team, but there's no reason why the Patriots shouldn't have done what they did Sunday afternoon in London. They did what they had to do and a wins a win—it is what it is.

With the 45-7 victory over the Rams, the Patriots now improve to 5-3 on the season and currently sit atop the AFC East entering their Week 9 bye week.

With that being said, let's take a look at what we learned from New England's 45-7 win at Wembley Stadium in London.

1. New England's defense can actually stop an opposing offense

Who would have thought? The Patriots can play some defense.

Granted, it was against a rather mediocre offensive attack in the St. Louis Rams, but New England's did what they had to do.

The Patriots allowed 326 total yards of offense while forcing two interceptions and holding St. Louis to just three of nine for third-down conversions.

Sunday's game didn't start off exactly on a high note, as safety Tavon Wilson let wide receiver Chris Givens run wild on a 50-yard touchdown reception—but that's all New England's defense coughed up.

I suppose it is promising that the Patriots played pretty well on defense, but we all have to put this into perspective —the Rams aren't that threatening of a group on the offensive side of the ball.

2. Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich continue to be solid pass-rushers

Both Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich racked up one sack each against the Rams and now have combined for 10 sacks on the season.

New England might have only recorded two sacks on the day, but they were able to put consistent pressure on quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens. However, we all need to realize that St. Louis had given up the third most sacks in the NFL entering Week 8—so obviously their offensive line isn't all that great.

3. New England's offensive line held up well

I was wrong on this one as I predicted that Chris Long and Robert Quinn were going to be in Tom Brady's face all game, but New England's offensive line kept Brady off of his back all game.

Without Logan Mankins, the Patriots did a superb job against the Rams pass-rush, which is one of the NFL's more productive groups, so obviously this is very promising heading into New England's bye.

4. Stevan Ridley is back on track

I hate to be like this—but I called this one.

Stevan Ridley was New England's top offensive performer against the Rams.

The second-year pro out of LSU ran for a whopping 127 yards on just 15 carries, which averages out to an incredible 8.5 yards per-carry.

Ridley also added one score to New England's outstanding offensive performance.

5. Brandon Lloyd looked promising

Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd might have only caught two passes, but both ended up being touchdowns.

Lloyd now have three touchdowns on the season with 37 receptions.

I was expecting more out of Lloyd thus far in 2012, but entering the bye week, it's definitely nice to come off of an impressive two touchdown performance.

6. Rob Gronkowski is a genius—just kidding

I'm sure all of you saw Rob Gronkowski's first touchdown celebration of the day, when he marched around like a toy solider and then did his signature spike.

When asked about his touchdown celebration following the game, this is what Gronk had to say:

"That little nutcracker dude that's guarding the house."

I'm speechless.