This game had all of the makings of being a blow-out in favor of the Patriots. In the end, that is exactly what it was. New England controlled the game from the start of the game and never stepped off the gas even when victory was already guaranteed. While it was expected to be a one-sided affair, it was an even bigger one beyond the points scored.
This game held sentimental meaning in this one, as a victory would guaranteed Tom Brady to win his 201st game, which would be the most all-time of any quarterback in NFL history. In this game, Brady was his efficient self, going for 269 yards and a touchdown on 33 of 46 passing (71.7% completion percentage). Even more importantly, this is the second straight game where he wasn’t sack, which the offensive line deserves a lot of credit for. Considering Brady is dealing with a knee injury, him avoiding as much contact as possible is probably the best route to go. The offensive line has been much better this season as compared to 2015 and they have really stepped it up over the past two games.
The Patriots had a field day overall against the Rams vastly under-performing defense, especially in the run department. New England finished with 133 rushing yards as a team, including 88 from lead back LeGarrette Blount. He ran for a touchdown as well, which gives him the league lead with 13 rushing touchdowns in 13 games. He finished with 18 carries as he looked difficult to bring down all day for Los Angeles. Dion Lewis also contributed with 27 yards on five carries while James White had three carries for 17 yards himself. Brady also had three runs for one yard.
For the receiving game, Malcolm Mitchell and Julian Edelman led the way for the team. Mitchell, who had come in to today with three receiving touchdowns over the past two games, did not disappoint. He would finish with eight receptions for 82 yards on 10 targets. Edelman was even more impressive, with eight receptions for 101 yards on 12 targets. No-one had more than five targets on the team, with White (18 yards) and Lewis (11 yards) finishing with four receptions each. Danny Amendola had three receptions for 30 yards before leaving with an ankle injury. Chris Hogan would snag an impressive back-shoulder throw for a touchdown, finishing with four receptions for 23 yards. Martellus Bennett would again be a non-factor on the stat sheet, reeling in two receptions for four yards.
New England would finish with 402 yards of offense and a commanding 37:57 possession time as well. As a team, they were once again responsible with the ball as they had no turnovers either. Overall, this was a solid showing for a highly-effective Patriots offense against an out-matched opponent.
The Rams could not get anything going on offense from the start. They only had one first down going into half-time and finished with seven altogether. Los Angeles also had a paltry 162 yards of total offense, which a good portion came on a 66-yard reception by Kenny Britt late in the fourth quarter after the game was far from competitive. Because they could not get anything going on offense, they only had an embarrassing 22:03 of offensive possession time.
Jared Goff was coming into this game with only two career starts under his belt and it showed. While he did have two interceptions, one of them was not his fault as he threw a perfect pass to tight end Lance Kendricks, who simply could not hang on to it. But overall, Goff finished with 161 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions on an ugly 14 of 32 passing (43.7% completion percentage). He did deal with frequent drops by his play-makers, but Goff struggled in the pocket all day. He was sacked four times as he simply did not have much pocket awareness nor did he show any real poise as well. Goff also struggled with accuracy as well, missing targets often when they weren’t too busy dropping them.
The run attack of the Rams may be even more embarrassing as once-promising star running back Todd Gurley finished with 38 yards on 11 carries (3.5 yards per carry). Granted, he is working with one of the worst offensive lines in football, but this is a big drop-off from how he did in his rookie season. As a unit, the Rams finished with 36 yards on 13 carries (2.8 yards per carry) as both Goff and Benny Cunningham each had one carry for -1 yards. For a Patriots defense that was pretty much average in regards to their run defense, this is a strong performance.
The receiving core of the Rams struggled all day outside of Britt’s 66 yard catch late in the fourth quarter. Subtracting that play, Los Angeles as a team finished with 13 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown (Britt caught a touchdown on very next play following his 66 yard catch). Brian Quick would finish with 48 yards on five receptions. Both tight ends in Kendricks and Tyler Higbee would finish with 29 yards on four receptions combined while Gurley had nine yards on two catches and Pharoh Cooper had a catch for eight yards. Goff certainly didn’t have his best game, but his receivers did very little to help him all day, as well.
As a defense, this was an extremely strong showing overall for the Patriots. Including only giving 162 yards of total offense all day, they had a good day in almost every other area as well. Malcolm Butler and Kyle Van Noy both finished with an interception while Butler also had three pass break-ups. The team had four sacks as well with Logan Ryan, Shea McClellin, Rob Ninkovich and former Ram Chris Long all had one apiece. Jabaal Sheard had a solid game as well with three pass break-ups and a quarterback hit as the entire team put in a very impressive game.
There isn’t one aspect of this game that didn’t go the Patriots way, including special teams. Stephen Gostkowski converted all four of his field goal attempts and his two extra point opportunities as well. This game wasn’t necessarily expected to turn out any other way than this, but it is still impressive nevertheless. The Patriots have a much tougher opponent next week on Monday Night Football in the 7-5 Baltimore Ravens, who just blew out the Miami Dolphins by way of a 38-7 victory. Both teams will head into this show-down with momentum riding high, making this one worth watching.