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(Reuters) - Tom Brady notched his 50,000th passing yard in a virtuoso display to silence his critics and drive the New England Patriots to a dominant 43-17 victory over previously unbeaten Cincinnati on Sunday. Brady and the Patriots came under fire after last week's 41-14 defeat to Kansas City, with pundits questioning whether it was the beginning of the end for the 37-year-old quarterback.
However, the veteran signal-caller responded with 292 yards and two touchdowns, as the Gillette Stadium home crowd showered him with chants of "Brady". "Coming off a tough loss like we did last week, a lot of guys dug deep," Brady told reporters. "We executed better, a lot of guys made great plays. It was a great opportunity for us."
Brady became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to surpass 50,000 career passing yards and New England's (3-2) offense looked reborn and collected 505 total yards.
Running back Stevan Ridley rushed for 113 yards and kicker Stephen Gostkowski booted five field goals on the night. Ridley opened the scoring with a one-yard rush in the first quarter, in which Brady added a 17-yard strike to Tim Wright. Trailing the Patriots 20-3 at halftime, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton found Mohamed Sanu for a 37-yard touchdown to pull Cincinnati within 20-10 early in the third but it was mostly downhill from there on for the visitors.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski added a 16-yard touchdown reception in the third and Kyle Arrington had a nine-yard fumble recovery score to help the home team pile on the misery.
Cincinnati (3-1) had three turnovers on the night and became the final team in the NFL to suffer a loss. Dalton threw for 204 yards and two scores and top target A.J. Green had five catches and 81 yards. Green was shadowed by New England cornerback Darrelle Revis but managed to record a score while Revis was briefly sidelined with injury. "(Green) is a great player. I studied film and just tried to be aggressive with him," Revis said. "This team has a lot of heart and we played with a lot of heart tonight. We responded well."
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien