Patriots blitz Bengals to remain unbeaten
The New England Patriots scored 38 points in each of their first three games — all wins — but 34 points were more than enough to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes as the visiting Patriots breezed to a 34-13 victory over the Bengals before a crowd of 66,113 at Paul Brown Stadium.
New England is the first team since the Buffalo All-Americans in 1920 to win their first four outings by more than 20 points.
Brady completed 25 of 32 pass attempts for 231 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
By completing 75 per cent of his passes for the fourth consecutive week, he equalled the NFL record shared by Kurt Warner and Bengals pivot Carson Palmer.
Randy Moss hauled in two TD passes and Mike Vrabel had the other as the Patriots (4-0) remained one of four unbeaten teams in the NFL.
Moss finished with nine receptions worth 102 yards, including TD catches of seven and 14 yards — his sixth and seventh of the season.
"It is a pretty good connection," Brady said. "He was a great player before he got here and he is still a great player."
Running back Sammy Morris filled in admirably for injured Laurence Maroney, rushing 21 times for 117 yards and one touchdown.
"We go into the game and see what is working," Morris said. "We were able to grind it out, so we kept at it.
"I think we're doing more as an offence. We just want to keep it going."
"Sammy is a good player," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "He does a lot of things well.
"He can run, he can play in the passing game, play on fourth down. He has done a good job."
Three straight losses
Palmer completed 21 of 35 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions for the Bengals (1-3), who have dropped three straight games.
Palmer also got into a heated exchange with wide receiver Chad Johnson moments after being intercepted by Asante Samuels late in the first half.
"I made the mistake," Palmer said. "We're both passionate players.
"And in the heat of things, sometimes you lose your cool and I lost my cool. I threw a ball I shouldn't have thrown."
T.J. Houshmandzadeh was Palmer's favourite target, making 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Bengals running back Kenny Watson was limited to 55 yards on 13 carries.
Cincinnati's performance drew the wrath of head coach Marvin Lewis, who was heard yelling at his players behind closed doors.
"If you don't want to be on this team, please don't show up!" Lewis fumed. "You don't call the offence and you don't call the plays — you just play.
"Nowhere in the NFL do guys act like this. We have got to figure this out."
With files from the Associated Press