2012-10-28T181823Z_1740834931_LR1E8AS1EUCN0_RTRMADP_3_NFL

Week 8 Risers and Fallers: Patriots Take Care of Business Across the Pond

While the trip to London was surely full of fun and games, Sunday was purely a business trip.

The Patriots dominated the Rams at Wembley Stadium, 45-7, moving to 5-3 at the midway point of their season.

Tom Brady put on a vintage performance for the London crowd, throwing four touchdowns and posting a season-high passer rating of 131.1.

Rob Gronkowski marched to the tune of eight receptions for 146 yards and two entertaining touchdowns.

And while the pass defense gave us a scare early on, the Patriots tightened up and completely shut down former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford as well as three-time Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson.

The resounding victory gives the Patriots plenty to be happy about as they head into their bye week and should allow them to get healthier for the home stretch.

Let’s take a look at the risers and fallers from the win versus the Rams.


Risers

1. Tom Brady, QB: New England’s unquestioned leader masterfully executed the offense on a day where he was missing stars Aaron Hernandez and Logan Mankins. All Brady did was throw for 304 yards—the 50th 300-yard game of his career—and four touchdowns in the 45-7 route. Brady took what the defense gave him, completing passes to seven different receivers, including two touchdowns to Brandon Lloyd.

2. Rob Gronkowski, TE: Even without running mate Aaron Hernandez, Gronk simply Gronk’d out. The 6’6”, 265-pounder proved too much to handle for St. Louis’ linebackers and safeties, toasting them for eight catches, 146 yards and two scores. The only things better than his receptions were his flawlessly entertaining celebrations.

3. Stevan Ridley, RB: After getting bottled up against the Jets and the Seahawks, Ridley reminded us of why he is destined for stardom. The second-year back blasted the Rams for 127 yards on just 15 carries (8.7-yard average) and found the end zone for the first time in three weeks.

4. Offensive line: Despite missing its veteran leader in Logan Mankins, this unit did a remarkable job against what some people consider to be one of the league’s best defensive lines. Offensive tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer completed dominated against the Rams’ dynamic duo of Chris Long and Robert Quinn, holding the two to a combined stat line of three tackles and no quarterback hits or sacks. Donald Thomas and the interior of the offensive line also did a great job opening holes in the run game, as the Patriots averaged 5.4 yards per carry and scored two rushing touchdowns.

5. Chandler Jones, DE: If New England’s first-round pick is this good as a rookie, it’s scary to think where he’ll be in a few years. Jones’ unusual length, motor and speed gave the Rams’ offensive tackles problems all day. The box score simply doesn’t reflect his impact. Watch his sack on Sam Bradford and you’ll realize just how special this kid is.

6. Brandon Spikes, LB: While Jerod Mayo is the more reserved tackling machine, Brandon Spikes is the relentless intimidator of this defense. The third-year middle linebacker tied Mayo for the team lead with eight total tackles. Spikes also displayed good instincts in the passing game with two pass deflections and helped limit Steven Jackson to just 23 yards on seven carries.

Fallers

1. Daniel Fells, TE: Hard to find anything to be overly critical of, but the veteran tight end was flagged for two penalties in this game. He did have some great blocks in the run game, however.

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