FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots responded in a big way Sunday night.

Facing the prospect of their first 2-3 start since 2001 and amid rumors of inner turmoil including future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady being mad at management, the Patriots hammered the previously undefeated Cincinnati Bengals 43-17.


New England, 41-14 losers to the Chiefs in Kansas City six nights earlier, made quick work of the NFL's last unbeaten team, jumping to a 20-3 halftime lead and cruising to their 32nd consecutive home victory over an AFC opponent.

Brady, ineffective through much of the first four games, threw for a season-high 292 yards and two touchdowns, and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a career-high five field goals in the easy win.

Brady, who heard chants of "Bra-dy, Bra-dy" from the supportive home crowd on four occasions, also became the sixth player in NFL history to throw for 50,000 yards. His touchdown passes went to tight ends Tim Wright and Rob Gronkowski.

Brady finished 23 of 35, and he wasn't intercepted. Before the game, ESPN reported he was unhappy with management decisions that affected the Patriots' offense, and that rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could take over "sooner than later."

Running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 203 of the team's 220 yards on the ground, with Ridley scoring the game's first touchdown, on the opening drive. Ridley ran for 113 yards on 27 carries, his seventh 100-yard game. Vereen gained 90 yards on nine carries.

The Patriots won despite committing 12 penalties for 114 yards.

Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton was 15 of 24 for 204 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked in the third quarter, the first time he was been sacked this season.

The Bengals, who fell to 1-9 in Sunday night road games, went 0-for-7 on third downs in the game. They lost three fumbles, one of them picked up and returned for a touchdown by New England cornerback Kyle Arrington on a kick return.

Brady, not known for his running, had three runs on the opening scoring drive. He ran for 6 yards on a scramble and then had two sneaks, one for a first down. Ridley ran in from a yard out and it was 7-0.

The Bengals, who trailed for a total of 48 seconds in their first three games, settled for a 52-yard field goal try, which kicker Mike Nugent left short. New England took over on its 42 and Brady's 27-yard completion to Gronkowski put him over the 50,000-yards passing mark. That got the ball to the 17, and Brady hit Wright with the touchdown pass to make it 14-0.

The teams traded field goals before Dalton hit wide receiver A.J. Green for 19 yards late in the second quarter. However, Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis stripped the ball, and New England had it back at the Cincinnati 25 before settling for a Gostkowski field goal to make it 20-3 at halftime.

NOTES: Patriots WR Danny Amendola left the game with a head injury on the first play of the second quarter but returned later in the quarter. … The Bengals were again missing LB Vontaze Burfict, who has sustained two concussions this season. They also lost replacement Sean Porter early in the game to a knee injury. … New England was missing LB Don't'a Hightower (knee), S Nate Ebner (finger) and OT Cameron Fleming (finger), while CB Brandon Browner and WR Brian Tyms, both eligible to return from four-game drug suspensions, were not activated. The team has until Monday to activate them after a one-game exemption.

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