New England got what they came for in London: a win against a struggling-yet-feisty Tampa team that must continue its noble search for victory back in the states. The 35-7 tilt ended up about as ugly as it sounds, with inconsistent play on both sides of the ball.
Credit goes to the Patriots defense for keeping Tampa at bay (so to speak) and to the offense for overcoming mistakes and piling on when it counted.
Some quick observations in the wake of New England’s second straight stress-free win…
We Wish You A Meriweather: Keeping in tune with a few malls’ wicked early Christmas call-ups (may I buy a Halloween card first, please?) good tidings to safety Brandon Meriweather, who scored New England’s first points on a 39-yard interception return during Tampa’s opening drive. Meriweather ended the Buccaneers’ next possession with another interception.
M-M Good: Linebacker Jerod Mayo led the team with eight total tackles. Safety Brandon McGowan tied for second with five. Maybe they got inspired by Meriweather and the whole “Name-starts-with-M” thing.
Okay, probably not.
Banta-Cain Is Banta-Able: Outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain continued to impress, notching five tackles on the day. Two of those came for losses (he helped the defense limit Cadillac Williams to 29 yards on 11 carries), while another happened on an impressive rundown of a screen pass.
I Spy With My Little Guyton: Nice work by linebacker Gary Guyton limiting the rush opportunities of Tampa quarterback Josh Johnson. This season Johnson had enjoyed some success on the ground, but Sunday he had only one run for seven yards, his lowest output of the year.
World Wide Wesley Federation: I guess he’s pretty good on the other side of the Atlantic, too. Ten catches, 107 yards, one touchdown. Just another day on the job for Wes Welker, who has 46 receptions in five games played this season.
Break The Faulk Out: Way back in 1999, New England drafted Kevin Faulk as a starting running back. When that position didn’t suit him, the diminutive dynamo started filling the niche of a third-down specialist. Eleven seasons later, Faulk reeled in catches 399 and 400 on Sunday, adding to his team record for most receptions for a running back.
He’d Been Aiken For A Score: Congratulations to Sam Aiken on the first touchdown of his seven-year career. Carrying the pass 49 of the 54 total yards warrants a link to the hightlight. Savor it, Sam.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org