NFL International Series: New England Patriots V Tampa Bay Buccaneers
25 Oct 2009
New England Patriots 35 - 7 Tamp Bay Buccaneers
Until crossing the Atlantic at the weekend to play in London, Tom Brady's New England Patriots had not won on the road this season.
That curious statistic was brought to an end by a comfortable display from the Patriots, who never looked back after Brandon Merriweather intercepted for a touchdown on the opening drive of the match.
For Tampa Bay, the 'home side' in the third International Series match at Wembley, the result compounded their worst start to a season in 24 years. Not since 1985 had they lost their first seven matches, suffering the same ignomy in week seven as the Miami Dolphins two years earlier in London.
Brady threw the first of three touchdowns soon after Merriweather's score, finding Wes Welker with a 14 yard pass to take New England 14 points clear at the end of the first quarter.
Brady's highlight came earlier in the second as he tossed the ball 54 yards to the open arms of Sam Aiken and suddenly a scoreline reminiscent of their 59-0thumping of Tennessee was a real possibility.
The Bucs responded with their solitary score a minute later, reducing the arrears as Antonio Bryant recieved Josh Johnson's pass to put points on the board.
It did not go completely to plan for Brady who broke his streak of 184 pass attempts without interception, as the Bucs twice intercepted from the three time Superbowl winner, but with victory assured and impressive stats with 23 of 32 for 308 yards Brady was replaced late in the game by Brian Hoyer. The glitz and glamour of the game remain intact however, and for the third successive season the NFL were able to attract a sell out crowd of 84,254 at Wembley.
Calvin Harris serenaded the fans in the pre-game show, while Katherine Jenkins and Toni Braxton sang the repective national anthems.
A great spectacle, a great match. For New England the spoils on their transatlantic journey home.