Tom Brady and the New England Patriots stuck it to their critics last night as they inflicted a 43-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals – the last undefeated team in the NFL this season.
Given Cincinnati’s impressive undefeated start, which included victories over the Ravens, Falcons and Titans, the Bengals had been tipped to unleash another thrashing on Bill Belichick’s side coming into this week’s match up after suffering their second worst ever defeat of the 62-year-old’s fourteen year reign in Kansas City on Monday.
But New England’s critics probably feel about as embarrassed now as the Patriots did last week as Tom Brady led by example and set the record straight in style by throwing for a total of 292 yards and becoming the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw 50,000 passing yards after a 27-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski.
So far this season the Bengals had only been behind for 48 seconds in their first three games but they found themselves trailing to a Stevan Ridley touchdown just under five minutes into the first quarter.
And that wasn’t the only stat to be blown out of the water in Foxborough. The Bengals had allowed an average of just 11 points per game this season before the Patriots more than doubled their points against tally for the campaign.
About time for the Pats
So understandably the Pats will be the much happier of the two teams to reverse early season form. In their opening four fixtures New England had averaged 20 points a game and had a total yardage of 298.5 – statistics they more than smashed last night.
Brady doubled the Patriots season total in passes alone throwing 292 yards while Ridley ran for 117 of the team’s 221 rushing yards – taking their overall total to 811.5.
Stephen Gostkowski also converted five field goals – beating his personal best in a nine year career.
Unlike recent weeks, the Patriots effective use of possession finally shone through. After only two possessions the Patriots had already scored two touchdowns.
And in general the entire New England outfit looked fired up and ready to step up their game and get back to winning form – and before the first half was even up the crowd was chanting Brady’s name.
"It was a long week. We dug deep. (I'm) proud of everybody," the 37-year-old quarterback said after the game.
The win takes the Patriots (3-2) to second place in the AFC East just behind the Buffalo Bills on divisional record.
After their first defeat of the season, the Bengals are now 3-1 but still lead the AFC North, and understandably head coach Marvin Lewis was unhappy with his team’s performance.
“If you turn the ball over and don't make any third downs, you have a chance to have this happen to you.”
There was a touching moment before the game as New England fans and cheerleaders paid tribute to Leah Still, the daughter of Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, who is currently battling cancer.