FOXBOROUGH, Mass. Tom Brady and the peerless Patriots keep getting better. Really.
Brady threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores Sunday as New England crushed the Washington Redskins 52-7 in an easy tuneup for its battle of unbeatens at Indianapolis.
Linebacker Mike Vrabel was a force on both sides of the ball in the biggest rout in a season filled with them. He caught a touchdown pass and forced three fumbles by quarterback Jason Campbell that led to 17 points.
The first half of the season is over. Bring on the Super Bowl champs.
The Patriots (8-0) and the Colts (7-0) both have perfect records going into next Sunday's game. That's where New England lost last, more than nine months ago in the AFC championship game.
No one has been able to stay close to the Patriots since then.
Halfway into the season, Brady already has a career-high 30 scoring passes. He extended his NFL record to eight games at the start of a season with at least three touchdown passes.
By the time he was replaced by Matt Cassel midway through the fourth quarter, the Patriots had outgained the Redskins 451 yards to 157.
Washington (4-3) avoided a shutout on Campbell's 15-yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley with three minutes left.
COLTS 31, PANTHERS 7: At Charlotte, N.C.. a slow start and a short week couldn't stop Peyton Manning and Indianapolis from another 7-0 start. Manning threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns and broke Johnny Unitas' team record for career scoring passes as the Colts dominated the second half against the Panthers (4-3). Joseph Addai rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns and caught a TD pass from Manning, who was outplayed early by 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde. But when Testaverde was lost at halftime with an ankle injury, the defense shut down David Carr the rest of the way as the Colts became the first team since the 1929-31 Green Bay Packers to win their first seven games three straight seasons.
Manning completed just 14 of 30 passes. His second TD, a perfectly thrown 59-yard pass to Reggie Wayne late in the third quarter was the 288th of his career, one more than Unitas.
CHARGERS 35, TEXANS 10: At San Diego, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger flipped the coin, thanked the firefighters and yelled, "Go, Chargers, go!" Did they ever, helping bring a sense of normalcy to a region that's been ravaged by deadly wildfires. Two days after the last evacuees left Qualcomm Stadium, the tailgaters and the NFL were back. The Chargers routed the Texans 35-10 behind Philip Rivers' three touchdown passes two went to All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates and a monster game by cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie recovered a fumble for a touchdown and had two interceptions, one of which he returned 70 yards for another TD. San Diego (4-3) won its third straight game. Houston (3-5) lost its third straight.
STEELERS 24, BENGALS 13: At Cincinnati, with a chance to make a statement, the Cincinnati Bengals backed down and went for a field goal. Hines Ward caught a pair of touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers turned Marvin Lewis' conservative coaching decision into a pivotal moment for their seventh straight win in Cincinnati. The Steelers (5-2) solidified their hold on first place in the AFC North and pushed the last-place Bengals to the precipice. The Bengals are 2-5 for the first time since 2004, Carson Palmer's first season as the starting quarterback.
LIONS 16, BEARS 7: At Chicago. Jon Kitna passed for 268 yards, Kevin Jones ran for 105 yards and a touchdown, and the Lions showed they're serious contenders in the NFC. Detroit is 5-2 for the first time since 2000 and making a strong bid for its first playoff appearance since 1999. The Lions have endured six straight seasons with at least 10 losses and won just three games last year, coach Rod Marinelli's first. Kitna completed 24-of-35 without an interception. Roy Williams caught eight passes for 77 yards, and Shaun McDonald added six catches for 64 yards.
TITANS 13, RAIDERS 9: At Nashville, Tenn., LenDale White ran for a career-high 133 yards, Rob Bironas added two field goals and Chris Henry scored a touchdown. The Titans (5-2), starting a three-game homestand, saw their defense carry most of the load. Tennessee came up with five sacks and two turnovers, the last an interception by Chris Hope with 2:35 left. Oakland (2-5) lost its third consecutive game.
BROWNS 27, RAMS 20: At St. Louis, Derek Anderson threw three touchdown passes, two to Braylon Edwards, and the Browns erased an early 14-point deficit for their first road win. Browns safety Sean Jones stopped Brian Leonard for no gain on 4th-and-1 from the 16 in the final two minutes and Leigh Bodden picked off Marc Bulger at the Cleveland 28 with 38 seconds left. The long-struggling Browns (4-3) matched their win total from last season and have won consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 5 and 6 of the 2003 season, a span of 46 games.
EAGLES 23, VIKINGS 16: At Minneapolis, Donovan McNabb threw for 333 yards and a touchdown and showed plenty of the mobility he appeared to have lost after major knee surgery. The five-time Pro Bowler looked more like the guy who led the Eagles to the Super Bowl three years ago than the tentative veteran who had been hearing calls from those notoriously restless Philly fans to start Kevin Kolb. McNabb took advantage of the league's worst pass defense, completing 23 of 36 passes and buying plenty of time with his legs to get his Eagles (3-5) back on track. Adrian Peterson gained 70 yards on 20 carries for the Vikings (2-5), but was bottled up for most of the day by Philadelphia's sure-tackling, hard-charging defense.
BILLS 13, JETS 3: At East Rutherford, N.J., J.P. Losman came on in relief of an injured Trent Edwards and connected with Lee Evans on an 85-yard touchdown pass with 3:38 remaining. With the Bills on the Jets 15 and leading 6-3, Losman threw a long pass to Evans down the right sideline. Rookie cornerback Darrelle Revis appeared to get his hands on the ball, but Evans wrestled it away and streaked down the sideline untouched for a touchdown. Rian Lindell kicked two field goals, including a 40-yarder with 10:06 left that gave Buffalo a 6-3 lead.
SAINTS 31, 49ERS 10: At San Francisco, Drew Brees passed for 336 yards and hit Marques Colston with three of his four touchdown throws as the Saints (3-4) won their third straight. The 49ers (2-5) lost their fifth in a row. Reggie Bush had 113 total yards for the Saints, who jumped to a 24-point halftime lead. Former Ute Alex Smith and running back Frank Gore both struggled and the San Francisco defense couldn't keep the league's worst offense in it this time. Smith, back in the lineup after separating his right shoulder four weeks ago, went 22-of-43 for 190 yards. Gore twisted his ankle again in the second half, finishing with 41 yards rushing.