By Nigel Hunt
LONDON (Reuters) - Quarterback Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes as the New England Patriots ensured they remained on top of the AFC East with a 45-7 rout of the St. Louis Rams at London's Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
The Rams briefly led in the first quarter when quarterback Sam Bradford threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Chris Givens but from then on it was all New England.
The Patriots' offense scored touchdowns on each of their four first-half drives to build a 28-7 lead with Brady hooking up with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and tight end Rob Gronkowski while running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley both powered into the end zone from the one-yard line.
Brady remained unstoppable early in the third quarter, connecting on a nine-yard touchdown pass to Lloyd to extend the lead to a 35-7.
His fourth touchdown pass came in the final quarter as he hooked up for a second time with Gronkowski.
"It was a fun day. Offensively we played pretty well in the first half and made some plays and then in the third and fourth quarters we put it away," Brady told reporters.
The Patriots quarterback ended the game with 23 completions on 35 attempts for 304 yards.
The win takes the Patriots to 5-3 while the Rams at 3-5 remain rooted at the bottom of the NFC West with a third consecutive loss. Both teams now have a bye week.
"We've got a long way to go. We've only played eight games. We've certainly not played our best football," Brady said. "The coach always says the football season doesn't start until after Thanksgiving. It is not even Halloween yet."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was proud of his team's performance.
"We took care of business and played a good solid football game. It is great to come out of here with a good win against the Rams," he said.
The game, which attracted a capacity crowd of 84,000, was the sixth regular season National Football League contest played at Wembley and the first to feature the Rams.
The Patriots, who have a large fan base in England, also played in the 2009 game when they comfortably defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-7.
(Additional reporting by Justin Palmer; Editing by Gene Cherry)