Patriots beat Redskins, Keep Perfect Record
Even if they wanted to, the Patriots might not be able to stop scoring.
They certainly kept trying on Sunday.
Still throwing the ball with a 45-point lead, New England crushed the Washington Redskins 52-7 and set up a showdown with the NFL's other unbeaten team, the Colts, next Sunday in Indianapolis.
"They're the best until you dethrone them,'' safety Rodney Harrison said. "They're world champs.''
The Colts won the AFC championship game last January, handing New England its last loss.
But no team has been better than the Patriots (8-0) this season. They've scored at least 34 points in each game and never won by fewer than 17. Their average margin of victory is 25.5, and they're on pace to break the NFL's single-season scoring record by more than 100 points.
But after each blowout, they spout the line of coach Bill Belichick: Focus on the weaknesses so they don't cause problems later.
"I don't know of a weakness that they have,'' Washington coach Joe Gibbs said.
Belichick was annoyed that in their previous game the Patriots beat winless Miami by only 49-28 after leading 42-7. So he never let up against Washington (4-3), and some Redskins thought he was running up the score.
"You think?'' center Casey Rabach said. "To the victors go the spoils.''
Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said his team was just doing its job.
"If you hand the ball off to the running back, you're not asking him to take a knee. You're asking him to run the ball,'' Colvin said. "It's their defense's job to stop them.''
Gibbs said, "I have no problem with anything they did.''
His players had plenty of problems.
Like the Patriots previous seven opponents, the Redskins couldn't stop Tom Brady. The quarterback threw for three touchdowns, becoming the only player in NFL history with at least that many in each of his first eight games of a season, and ran for two more.
The Redskins' offensive line couldn't protect quarterback Jason Campbell. Mike Vrabel forced him to fumble three times, setting up 17 Patriots points.
Washington entered with the fifth-ranked defense in the NFL and left with the franchise's most lopsided loss since 1961.
"I still don't believe it happened,'' Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. "Never in my wildest dreams.''
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. His touchdown passes went 2 yards to Vrabel, 6 yards to Randy Moss after he faked spiking the ball and 2 yards to Wes Welker. His scoring runs of 3 and 2 yards gave him five for his career.
But he wouldn't let himself enjoy it for too long.
"It's not even November yet and we've got a lot of room for improvement left,'' Brady said.
Washington avoided a shutout when Campbell threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley with three minutes left for the last touchdown of the game.
By then, most of the fans had left, many of them likely rushing home to watch the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in a sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
The Patriots are playing more like champs every week with a chance to sweep their 16-game regular season.
"They may do it,'' Rabach said. "They may blow out every team they play.''
By the time Brady was replaced by Matt Cassel midway through the fourth quarter, the Patriots had outgained the Redskins 451 yards to 157. Even that change didn't slow them down.
Cassel, who threw an interception for a touchdown against Miami, scored on a 15-yard run for a 52-0 lead with 5:53 remaining.
Then the Patriots finally gave up points on Campbell's touchdown pass. It was his sixth of the season, matching Brady's total in the Miami game alone.
"You can't be perfect but you want to shoot for that,'' Patriots wide receiver Donte' Stallworth said.
They'll have to be closer to perfect next Sunday against the Colts (7-0).
First, they need to ignore the hype that's sure to surround the rematch of last year's AFC title game when the Patriots lost 38-34 after leading 21-3.
"You've got to block out the noise,'' New England 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.''
So far, the Patriots have won every battle this season.
This program aired on October 29, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.