Patriots defense sparks 35-7 romp in London

October, 25, 2009
10/25/09
1:14
PM ET

LONDON -- Sparked by safety Brandon Meriweather's 39-yard interception return for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, the Patriots romped past the Buccaneers, 35-7, at Wembley Stadium Sunday.


Meriweather's return for a score was the Patriots' first since Dec. 16, 2007, when Eugene Wilson took one back. Meriweather added a second interception later in the first quarter, becoming the first Patriot with two picks in a game since Asante Samuel on Nov. 25, 2007.


The defense set the tone against erratic Buccaneers quarterback Josh Johnson, giving the offense -- which sputtered at times in the first half -- enough margin for error.

The Patriots led 21-7 at the half, and raced away with a decisive touchdown march at the start of the third quarter.

For the second week in a row, quarterback Tom Brady exited the game with the outcome well in hand.

The Patriots now enter their bye week at 5-2. Although this wasn't their crispest effort, they can head home Monday knowing they've put themselves in position to be a top threat in the AFC race.

Sights and sounds from the locker room to come.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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