The Stage Is Set: Patriots-Colts
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The Patriots rolled up their highest point total in 28 years. Tom Brady threw his career-high 30th touchdown pass. Pretty impressive, and there's still half a season to go. New England's amazing year kept getting better Sunday with a 52-7 rout of Washington. The Redskins entered with the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL and left with the franchise's worst loss since 1961. 'I don't know of a weakness that they have,' Washington coach Joe Gibbs said.Brady threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. Linebacker Mike Vrabel caught a touchdown pass and forced three fumbles by quarterback Jason Campbell that led to 17 points. The Patriots (8-0) have scored at least 34 points in each game and have won each by 17 points or more. They've outscored opponents by an average of 41.3 to 15.9. At this rate, they'll score 662 points, shattering the NFL single-season record of 556 set by Minnesota in 1998. The 52 points were their most since they scored 56 against the New York Jets in 1979. Still, they followed the line of Coach Bill Belichick: dwell on the mistakes so they're not repeated. 'It's a long season,' Brady said. 'It's not even November yet, and we've got a lot of room for improvement left.' Now the first half of the season is over. Bring on the Super Bowl champs, the Colts (7-0), whose winning margin is a mere 32 to 14.6. The Patriots play next Sunday at Indianapolis, where they had their last loss, more than nine months ago in the AFC Championship Game. Let the hype begin. 'You've got to block out the noise,' Patriots defensive end Ty Warren said. 'If you start reading too much into what's going on out there outside this locker room, I think the battle's already lost.' Washington (4-3) avoided a shutout when Campbell threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley with three minutes left. By then, most of the fans had left, many of them likely rushing home to watch the Boston Red Sox try to win the World Series at the Colorado Rockies. The Patriots are playing more like champions every week. 'You can't be perfect, but you want to shoot for that,' wide receiver Donte' Stallworth said. Brady completed 29 of 38 passes for 306 yards and no interceptions. He's been picked off just twice all season, although he did lose a fumble Sunday. He extended his NFL record to eight games at the start of a season with at least three touchdown passes. Washington0007-7New England7171414-52 First Quarter NE-Brady 3 run (Gostkowski kick), 3:44. Second Quarter NE-Vrabel 2 pass from T.Brady (Gostkowski kick), 8:08. NE-FG Gostkowski 36, 5:45. NE-R.Moss 6 pass from T.Brady (Gostkowski kick), :17. Third Quarter NE-T.Brady 2 run (Gostkowski kick), 7:14. NE-Colvin 11 fumble return (Gostkowski kick), 5:47. Fourth Quarter NE-Welker 2 pass from T.Brady (Gostkowski kick), 9:06. NE-Cassel 15 run (Gostkowski kick), 5:53. Was-Cooley 15 pass from J.Campbell (Suisham kick), 3:00. A-68,756. WasNEFirst downs1334Total Net Yards224487Rushes-yards16-4734-153Passing177334Punt Returns0-00-0Kickoff Returns6-1182-19Interceptions Ret.0-01-0Comp-Att-Int21-37-131-41-0Sacked-Yards Lost3-201-0Punts5-37.02-43.0Fumbles-Lost3-31-1Penalties-Yards5-406-40Time of Possession22:1137:49 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Wash., Portis 11-27, Betts 3-9, J.Campbell 1-7, Sellers 1-4. N.E., Maroney 14-75, Faulk 5-32, Evans 5-24, Cassel 1-15, T.Brady 4-14, Eckel 4-2, Gutierrez 2-(minus 10). PASSING-Wash., J.Campbell 21-36-1-197, Randle El 0-1-0-0. N.E., T.Brady 29-38-0-306, Cassel 2-3-0-28. RECEIVING-Wash., S.Moss 6-41, Portis 5-54, Randle El 3-43, Cooley 3-31, Yoder 3-23, Lloyd 1-5. N.E., Welker 9-89, Faulk 7-57, Stallworth 4-44, Gaffney 4-39, R.Moss 3-47, Maroney 2-37, K.Brady 1-19, Vrabel 1-2.