The New England Patriots led the Los Angeles Rams 17-0 at halftime. The second half was far less interesting as the Patriots offense struggled with its consistency. The Patriots won 26-10 thanks to four long field goals by Stephen Gostkowski.
The Rams received the opening kickoff for the second half and promptly went 3-and-out. A Johnny Hekker punt sent the Patriots back to their own 16 yard line, and the Patriots responded with a three-and-out of their own. Ryan Allen couldn’t match punts and the Rams started around midfield. Los Angeles picked up 29 yards on 8 plays and had to settle for a field goal, cutting the score to 17-3.
The Patriots opened up the next drive with a gorgeous 32-yard connection between Tom Brady and Julian Edelman to get into Rams territory. Edelman picked up 8 receptions for 101 yards on the day. The offense stalled and Gostkowski knocked home a 48-yard field goal to take a 20-3 lead.
On the very first play of the Rams subsequent drive, Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy dropped back into perfect coverage and intercepted a bad pass by rookie quarterback Jared Goff. Kyle Van Noy, Search and Destroy, was playing after captain Dont’a Hightower suffered an apparent minor leg injury.
Brady found Malcolm Mitchell for 11 yards, but the offense failed to move the ball. Mitchell made 8 receptions for 82 yards on the day. Gostkowski hit a 45-yard field goal to extend the lead to 23-3.
The Rams punted again, and Brady and Mitchell marched down the field to the Rams 26-yard line, but a holding penalty against Martellus Bennett negated a first down run by LeGarrette Blount. The Patriots had to settle for another field goal and Gostkowski connected on another 45-yarder to take a 26-3 lead.
The Rams went 3-and-out for the 6th time, but Hekker hit a ridiculous 76-yard punt to set the Patriots up on their own 5-yard line. The drive was not notable apart from Hekker’s punt. In fact, Hekker was the only thing good about the Rams all day until the Patriots played a hideous final two minutes, allowing an ugly 66-yard pass to Kenny Britt and a goal line touchdown pass to make the final score 26-10.
Tom Brady registered his NFL record 201st victory with an inefficient performance. He went 33/46 (71.7%), but for only 269 yards and 1 touchdown.
LeGarrette Blount picked up 88 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts, bringing his season total to 957 yards and 13 touchdowns. He needs just 33 more total yards to set a new career high in yards from scrimmage, and those 13 rushing touchdowns are tied for the 2nd most in franchise history.
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia finally dialed up the pressure and the Patriots recorded four sacks on the day and 5 other quarterback hits. Cornerback Malcolm Butler had a great game with 3 passes defended and an interception, until he allowed that bad 66-yard pass with seconds left in the game.
The Patriots are now 10-2 on the year. The Dolphins were demolished by the Ravens 38-6 to fall to 7-5, and now the Patriots have a lot of space in the division. The Patriots get the Ravens next week.