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3 things we learned about the Patriots

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It was a milestone Sunday for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Tom Brady, tying the franchise record by appearing in his 212th game, became the fourth quarterback to throw 400 touchdown passes and kicker Stephen Gostkowski set the NFL record for consecutive extra points as the unbeaten Patriots cruised to a 51-17 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I’ve been a part of so many great teams and played with so many great players,” said Brady, who also added touchdown pass No. 401 in his team’s third straight win. “I’ve always said I don’t care whether we run it in or throw it in as long as we score points, and we’re and winning it makes it fun for me.”

Gostkowski, who kicked three field goals, broke Matt Stover’s league record when he nailed his 423rd consecutive PAT for New England’s 37th point.

The Patriots (3-0) tied a franchise record with 35 first downs, scored all nine times they had the ball (before running out the clock late) and registered the most points ever scored against the Jaguars while piling up 471 yards of offense.

Running back LeGarrette Blount scored a career-high three touchdowns, all on 1-yard runs.

Brady, with his 66th 300-yard passing game, finished 33 of 42 for 358 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

The banged-up Jaguars (1-2) were as close as 10-3 in the second quarter but then got blown away in every department. Quarterback Blake Bortles finished 17 of 33 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

What we learned about the Patriots:

1. This is nothing really new, but the Patriots have so many ways to beat you. On Sunday, they scored 51 points and tight end Rob Gronkowski didn’t score a touchdown. If you pay attention to Gronk, then Tom Brady has his two diminutive receivers — Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola — to throw to. If you play the pass, the running game hits you with Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount.

2. The question now? Who beats this team? The Patriots are 3-0 heading into a bye week and then have what should be tough road games at Dallas and Indianapolis. But no Tony Romo for the Cowboys and the Colts just showed their first signs of life this season. Then it’s the Jets, Miami and Washington at home.

3. They could probably move the extra point back as far as they would like, and Stephen Gostkowski still probably won’t miss. He broke the NFL record with his 423rd straight extra point on Sunday and clearly hasn’t been affected by the new snap from the 15. Oh, and he kicked three field goals and is 7 of 7 on the season.

Etc.:

–TE Rob Gronkowski didn’t catch a touchdown pass on Sunday, meaning the big fella didn’t have a single one of his team’s 51 points. But he did have four catches for 101 yards and drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. It was his 17th 100-yard receiving game, extending his own NFL record. Not catching a TD pass kept him from becoming the sixth tight end in NFL history with 60.

–RB LeGarrette Blount rejoined the attack on Sunday. After serving a one-game drug suspension in the opener and then being used sparingly at Buffalo in Game 2, he ran for 78 yards and three touchdowns — all from a yard out — on 18 carries Sunday. “You always want to play,” Blount said. “You always want to go out there and be with your guys; go out there and perform. It’s always nice to be able to go out, play with those guys, be able to get into that rhythm, and score some points.”

–QB Tom Brady’s stats keep piling up. On Sunday he became the fourth quarterback ever to throw 400 touchdown passes, and also tied Bruce Armstrong’s club record of 212 games played. Since his four-game suspension was overturned just before the start of the regular season, Brady has nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions in the first three games. “Great day out there for football,” he said.


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