Oct 5, 2014 10:19 PM
Patriots open 20-3 halftime lead over Bengals
The Associated Press
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 50,000 yards, hitting Rob Gronkowski on a 27-yard pass against Cincinnati on Sunday night and the New England Patriots led the Bengals 20-3 at halftime.
Brady then connected with Tim Wright for a 17-yard touchdown strike that gave the Patriots a 14-0 lead through one quarter, prompting fans to chant the 37-year-old quarterback's name. Stevan Ridley also had a 1-yard touchdown run, and New England added a pair of field goals in the second quarter to extend its lead.
Entering the game needing 60 yards to reach the milestone, Brady completed 11 of 19 passes for 153 yards in the first half while leading New England to touchdowns on its first two possessions.
The Patriots scored on Stephen Gostkowski's 48-yard field goal with 1:17 left in the half, then took advantage after Darrelle Revis forced A.J. Green's fumble deep in Bengals' territory. Brady led New England to the Cincinnati 1, and Gostkowski's field goal made it 20-3.
Wright, who was acquired from Tampa Bay for six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Logan Mankins, had four catches for 60 yards, and Gronkowski had three for 60.
The Patriots lost 41-14 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, leading to a week of questions about whether their aging quarterback's skills had diminished. But Brady again looked like a three-time Super Bowl champion, leading New England easily to its first two touchdowns.
Brady was 2 for 2 for 50 yards on the opening possession, and he also ran the ball three times, gaining 4 yards on a fourth-and-1 at the 5. He then tried again for no gain before Ridley ran it in the final yard to make it 7-0.
The Bengals, the only remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, moved to the New England 34 on the ensuing possession but Mike Nugent was short on a 52-yard field goal attempt. Brady took the Patriots in, hitting Gronkowski for the milestone and then Wright for the score on the next play.
The second period was sloppier, with the teams combining for eight penalties for 91 yards. New England was penalized eight times for 84 yards in the first half.