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St Louis Rams 7-45 New England Patriots

Updated: Sunday, 28 Oct 2012 22:51

Stevan Ridley gaining yards for the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium
Stevan Ridley gaining yards for the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been one of the more vocal supporters of the NFL's annual trip to London and now we know why.

Three years after their 35-7 demolition of Tampa Bay, his team enjoyed another Wembley rout as they brushed aside the self-destructing St Louis Rams 45-7 behind an outstanding display from star quarterback Tom Brady.

Before the game, Kraft lent his support to the notion of London one day becoming the permanent home to a league franchise, but until that day comes perhaps he ought to schedule in a few more trips to old England for his Patriots.

His opposite number - Rams and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke - will instead be happy his team backed out of plans to come here again in 2013 and 2014.

Theoretically this was a 'home' game for the Rams, who gave up a contest in St Louis to be here, but it was played in front of a sell-out crowd dominated by Patriots jerseys and they were treated to a vintage display from the on-fire Brady.

The 35-year-old completed his first eight passes and eventually piled up 304 yards and four touchdown passes.

The Rams, whose glory days in the late 90s were effectively ended by Brady and Patriots in 2002's Super Bowl XXXVI, arrived in London determined to show they were on the way back under new coach Jeff Fisher.

But instead a young team contributed to their own downfall with a string of mistakes.

It all began so well with Sam Bradford's 50-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens lighting up Wembley only two minutes into the contest.

But then Givens left injured and everything began to unravel. St Louis would not score again.

Instead, Brady marched back down field and found Brandon Lloyd for a touchdown that tied it up, and with the first play of the second quarter, Shane Vereen punched in a second with a one-yard run.

St Louis could not get going, and they were their own worst enemies, fumbling a snap when going for a field goal and then committing costly penalties that only made Brady's job easier.

And easy was how it looked as he threw another touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski - who treated the London crowd to special 'changing of the guard' celebration in the end zone - before Stevan Ridley scored one more on the ground to make it 28-7 at half-time.

Any hopes of St Louis making a contest of it in the second half were ended before many of the 84,004 crowd had re-taken their seats, Brady throwing to Lloyd in the end zone again.

Brady threw his fourth touchdown pass of the evening to Gronkowski early in the fourth quarter before taking an early exit, job done.

The lop-sided nature of the game did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, the second-largest in the six-year history of the NFL's International Series at Wembley, and an immediate return to sell-out status after last year's crowd of 77,000 - a number affected by the league's labour lockout that had threatened the game going ahead at all.

That will come as welcome news to NFL UK as they prepare for 2013, when Wembley will host two games in the space of a month - a more serious test of the fan base loyalty this side of the Atlantic.

If they can pass that test, the idea of a London franchise will come closer to reality. Perhaps Kraft will be the first to make an offer.