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(Sunday, October 25th)
Final Score: New England 35, Tampa Bay 7
London, England (Sports Network) - Tom Brady threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns, and the New England Patriots pummeled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 35-7, in the third-ever NFL game at Wembley Stadium.
Brady completed 23-of-32 passes and was intercepted twice for the Patriots (5-2), who have won their last two games by a combined score of 94-7. Brady improved to a perfect 13-0 against the NFC in his career in the regular season. New England has also won 17 straight regular season games overall versus the NFC.
Wes Welker caught 10 passes from Brady for 107 yards and a touchdown, while Laurence Maroney ran for 43 yards and a score in the win. Brandon Meriweather had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
Josh Johnson struggled for the Bucs (0-7), throwing for 156 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-26 efficiency. He was also picked off three times, as Tampa Bay fell to 0-7 for the fifth time in its history and the first time since 1985.
Antonio Bryant caught two passes for 51 yards and the team's lone touchdown.
"We can't keep spotting teams points and playing catch-up," said Tampa Bay wide receiver Sammie Stroughter, who led the team in receiving yards with 63 on three catches. "We like to run the ball and pound the ball, and we're starting off 14-0 in the hole -- it's hard to do that. It's one of those things where we're not getting the breaks."
When the Buccaneers were selected to "host" this game in London on December 1, 2008, the team was 9-3 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. But since that fateful day, Tampa Bay has lost 11 straight games, including the last four of the 2008 season, causing the team to miss out on a playoff berth.
The Bucs faced 3rd-and-4 from their own 35 on the opening drive of the game, and Patriots safety Meriweather stepped in front of Johnson's pass for the interception, then sprinted 39 yards for the touchdown and an early New England lead.
"I think overall pressured them a decent amount in this game," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "We had different people coming -- safeties, corners, linebackers. We tried to mix it up a little bit and keep Johnson in the pocket, which we had some success doing."
The Patriots' advantage doubled before the end of the first quarter. Brady hit Welker on a short pass inside the red zone, and Welker weaved his way through the defense for a 14-yard touchdown to cap a five-play, 67-yard series.
New England extended the margin early in the second quarter on Sam Aiken's 54- yard touchdown reception. Brady avoided several defenders as the pocket broke down and hit Aiken near midfield, and Aiken avoided three tacklers as he ran down the right sideline for the score.
Toward the end of the half, the Buccaneers finally got on the board. Johnson led a 67-yard drive in six plays, finding Bryant for a 33-yard touchdown to make it a 21-7 game at the break. Bryant also caught an 18-yard pass on 3rd- and-14 on the penultimate play of the set.
The Patriots restored their 21-point lead on the opening series of the second half, driving 73 yards in 10 plays. Brady finished the set with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ben Watson nearly six minutes into the third.
Tampa Bay was forced to punt on all three of its possessions in the third quarter, and Maroney capped the first New England series of the fourth with a one-yard rushing touchdown to make it 35-7.
Brady has lost just one career game to the NFC -- Super Bowl XLII against the Giants...The Patriots beat the Titans last week, 59-0...New England leads the all-time series with the Bucs, 5-2...Patriots RB Kevin Faulk became the 26th running back in league history with 400 receptions...Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss had five catches for 69 yards...The 11-game losing streak is the longest for Tampa Bay since it lost 26 straight games at the inception of the franchise in 1976...New Orleans defeated San Diego in the first regular season NFL game at Wembley Stadium in 2007, and the Giants topped Miami last season.
10/25 19:39:24 ET
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