Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) – The narrative leading up to Sunday night’s
game was that the Cincinnati Bengals were the team to beat in the AFC and the
New England Patriots had fallen off.
The message, as always, is never count out Tom Brady.
Brady threw two touchdown passes and the Patriots routed the previously-
unbeaten Bengals, 43-17, at Gillette Stadium.
Coming off an underwhelming triumph over the winless Raiders and a crushing
defeat in Kansas City, the Patriots (3-2) got back on track with a statement
win in front of their home fans. Brady completed 23-of-35 for 292 yards and
New England racked up 220 yards on the ground, with Stevan Ridley and Shane
Vereen running for 113 and 90, respectively.
Cincinnati (3-1) was the last team in the NFL to lose a game after Arizona
fell to the Broncos earlier Sunday.
Andy Dalton passed for 204 yards and two touchdowns, but Cincinnati’s defense
failed to live up to the standards it set in the previous three games. The
Bengals gave up just 33 points in those three wins before coughing up 43 in
Brady had New England’s offense rolling from the opening possession, which saw
the hosts march 10 plays to make a statement TD. Brady hit Brandon LaFell for
20 yards on the first play from scrimmage and connected with Tim Wright for a
30-yard pickup later in the drive. Brady then extended the series with a QB
keeper on 4th-and-1, and Ridley capped the trek with a 1-yard touchdown
Star cornerback Darrelle Revis made a diving interception on the ensuing
Bengals possession, but offsetting penalties negated the pick. Mike Nugent
missed short on a 52-yard field goal later in the drive.
Brady kept the momentum going following the missed kick, leading another
touchdown drive with a little help from his tight ends. Rob Gronkowski’s 27-
yard reception led to Brady’s touchdown pass to Wright, who absorbed a blow
from a defender and fell just over the goal line.
Nugent and Stephen Gostkowski swapped field goals in the second quarter, and
the Patriots were set to take a 17-3 lead at halftime, but a mistake by one of
Cincinnati’s best players led to more New England points.
After Gostkowski hit his 48-yard kick, the Bengals took over at their own 9
just over a minute before halftime. Dalton connected with A.J. Green for a
19-yard catch, but Revis jarred the ball loose as he was bringing Green to
the ground. Jamie Collins recovered the fumble, and New England got the ball
Cincinnati held its ground, but Gostkowski kicked a short field goal to make
Adam Jones returned a punt 47 yards early in the third quarter and on the very
next play, Dalton and Mohamed Sanu connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass that
cut Cincinnati’s deficit in half.
The Patriots struck right back, stealing back momentum with two scores in a
matter of minutes to essentially seal the outcome. Brady hit Gronkowski from
16 yards out to cap an 86-yard touchdown drive and on the ensuing kickoff,
Kyle Arrington recovered former Patriot Brandon Tate’s fumble and flipped over
the goal line to make it 34-10.
Revis, who spent the bulk of his time on the field shadowing Green, left the
field with a minor hamstring injury on the next Bengals drive and Dalton went
right to Green for a 17-yard score.
Gostkowski kicked three more field goals in the fourth to round out the
The Patriots have won 11 straight home games and 32 straight regular season
home games against AFC teams … New England has won five of the last six
meetings … Brady became the sixth quarterback in league history to throw for
50,000 yards midway through the first quarter … Patriots defensive tackle
Chris Jones sacked Dalton early in the fourth quarter. It was the first time
Dalton has been sacked this season.