Then they routinely devoured Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Now they head back to the States after proving what we already knew: as Tom Brady rolls, so rolls the rest of New England's band. And, ready or not, America, Brady is back in rhythm.
"I'm feeling great," he said after New England's win. "I keep rolling."
The Belichicks had a rough start this year, but what can you say about their last two gigs?
You can say that Tennessee and Tampa Bay are the football equivalent of Herman's Hermits, only why insult Herman? The Bucs went down 35-7 at wacky Wembley Stadium, which was at least an improvement over Tennessee's 59-0 pratfall in the Foxborough snow last week.
Next week's bye shapes up as the toughest opponent New England has seen this entire lunar cycle. As pathetic as the competition has been, 94-7 is still an impressive pile of rubble.
So has New England buried all its early-season ghosts in old England?
Not quite. This isn't a great team by Patriots standards, but it has become plenty good by AFC standards. All that was required was Brady being Brady again.
"The greatest player in the history of team sport," the Daily Mail called him Sunday.
Babe Ruth never was big in England. Perhaps he should have married Giselle Bundchen's grandmother.
As for Brady recovering from knee surgery, enjoy this properly British synopsis in the Daily Mail: "Although the 6-foot-4 Californian refused to countenance any reduction in his powers, the Patriots made a faltering start to this season."
Rex Ryan blitzed the Patriots silly in Week 2, then they got caught in Denver 's early-season whirlwind three weeks later. Fingers pointed at a raw secondary and a linebacker corps so gutted that New England re-signed Junior Seau, who was working as a rodeo clown.
But the big bugaboo was Brady. Was he mentally back from his blown ACL? Or at 32, was the Paul McCartney of modern QBs entering his Wings phase?
For that, we turn to Bucs coach Raheem Morris, who is the only coach in NFL history to go winless on two continents.
"He's a great human," Morris said of Brady.
Forgive his gushing, but that's what happens when you stand helplessly by and watch a guy complete 23-of-32 passes for 308 yards and three scores.
It wasn't vintage Brady, not with a goal-line interception that kept the score from getting Tennessee-like. But it certainly wasn't the Brady of six weeks ago, either.
"In the first quarter of the season we weren't really getting any big plays," Patriots receiver Wes Welker said. "I think that's really changing."
So do the Bucs, who think they saw Sam Aiken take a short pass 54 yards for a touchdown, and might have seen Ben Watson catch a 35-yard score. By that point, the crowd of 84,254 at Wembley Stadium figured it just wasn't the home team's day.
Yes, it was officially a Bucs home game. At least they scored, which is more than Manchester United did in Sunday's big match against Liverpool. The Glazers own both franchises the Bucs and Man U., and family members probably did not take part in the third-quarter wave from their skybox.
That bit of mass fan expression became passé years ago in . It went on for about five minutes Sunday.
"They seemed excited," Brady said.
If you think the Brits are confused over proper NFL cheering, you should have been at the restaurant Friday night when Welker and his crew walked in.
"They thought we were a boy band," he said. "That was pretty funny. We had two offensive linemen with us. I don't know where they got that from."
Being confused for 'N Sync on 'roids could have led to a crazy scene, but the Patriots just considered it part of their evolution.
"We have a lot of new players. It's nice to come together and experience something like this," Brady said. "It's a unique bonding experience for all of us."
So are they ready to conquer America?
As long as Brady is out front, the Patriots will countenance nothing less.