WEMBLEY, England – It all started so well for the St. Louis Rams on their first trip to the famous Wembley Stadium. It all ended so badly.
Sam Bradford led the Rams (3-5) to a 7-0 lead on their first possession, but Tom Brady and the Patriots (5-3) took over from there Sunday and won 45-7 in the NFL’s sixth regular-season game in London.
“We just got beat in every phase of the game. We got dominated,” Bradford said. “I don’t think there’s any other way to put it.”
The Patriots elected to kick off after winning the opening toss. Once they did, Bradford went to work.
After a New England penalty on the first play, Bradford completed a 14-yard pass to Steven Jackson. Then came a 5-yard pass to Austin Pettis.
After a pair of short runs by Jackson to bring up third-and-2, Bradford sent Chris Givens deep and connected on a 50-yard touchdown pass.
Eighty yards on five plays.
“You can’t ask for a better start to the game. First time we touched the ball we go down and score,” Bradford said. “It just all fell apart from there.”
Bradford ended up 23 of 31 for 205 yards, but the Rams offense just couldn’t put anything else together, while the defense couldn’t stop the Patriots.
“What is required to beat a team that well on both sides of the ball is a near perfect game, and obviously we were unable to do that today,” Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said. “Tom got a hot hand and had a good sense, and those guys made a lot of plays for him.”
The Rams played as the home team, but much of the 80,004 fans at rainy Wembley — the home of England’s national soccer team — were cheering for New England every step of the way.
Brady led four straight touchdown drives to give New England a commanding 28-7 lead by halftime, 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.
“I know the game got out of hand today, but that’s the Patriots,” Brady said.
The Rams also have a bye next week, giving them a chance to regroup and get ready to face the 49ers in San Francisco in two weeks.
“Our bye comes at a good time. Obviously, we’ve had a rough stretch the last couple of weeks,” Bradford said.
JETS: Fighting back tears and surrounded by some of his former teammates, Dennis Byrd walked to the middle of the MetLife Stadium field as his No. 90 jersey was retired by the New York Jets.
Byrd, briefly paralyzed 20 years ago in a game against Kansas City, became the fifth former Jets player to receive the honor Sunday — joining Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Joe Klecko and Curtis Martin.
“What an amazing honor,” Byrd told the fans, nearly all of them standing. “Thank you so much.”