New England quarterback Tony Eason passed for 291 yards and four touchdowns -- three to Derrick Ramsey -- as the Patriots cruised to a 50-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts today.

The touchdown passes to Ramsey helped the Patriots to a 26-10 lead at halftime. A 12-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan iced the game in the third quarter.

New England (8-4) is in second place in the American Football Conference East. Indianapolis, which is fourth, fell to 4-8.

Eason completed a club record 29 of 42 passes, breaking the mark of 28 he set earlier this season.

He gave New England a 7-0 lead with a four-yard scoring pass midway through the first quarter, then threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ramsey late in the period. In between, New England got a safety when Frank Middleton was tackled in the end zone by Roland James.

Ramsey's third touchdown catch, tying a team record for scoring receptions in a game, was a 26-yarder three minutes before halftime. He finished with 108 receiving yards.

For the Colts, quarterback Art Schlichter, in his first career start, ran 13 yards into the end zone in the second quarter. He also had a 13-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Henry in the final quarter.

Schlichter, who completed 16 of 32 passes for 188 yards, was the third starting quarterback in three weeks for Indianapolis.