FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Tom Brady was not expected to return to New England to face his former teammate and longtime coach Bill Belick.
For two decades the warm reception before him from the fans melted in the steady rain when he took the field to Bose at Gillette Stadium.
Brady’s former teammates treated him rudely, did not allow him to find his rhythm on the side of the ball and limited him to 269 yard passes and there was no touchdown.
After the game, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Aryans said Brady played “very carefully”.
“He wasn’t going to make any mistakes that were detrimental to our game,” he continued.
In this first and probably only showdown between Brady and Belichick, Brady’s game was good enough to win on field goals, penalty-filled games, drop passes, missed tackles and costly penalties. Despite the outstanding performance of the brokers instead of Bracky, Mac Jones, the Buccaneers went on to win 1-1-17 to go 1-1-1, as they tried to defend their Super Bowl title.
Brady was lucky to leave with a win. He was disappointed by Jones, who showed why the Patriots drafted him in the first round this spring.
Brady looked restless, lost the receiver and was settling for field goals instead of touchdowns. Still, when he completed a 28-yard pass to receiver Mike Evans in the first quarter, Brady became the NFL’s career passing leader, surpassing the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Bryce’s record of 80,358 yards last year, who retired at the end of season E 60 Passed.
The record was noticed on the video screen at New England Stadium and there was excitement but otherwise it was normal business as fans returned to form.
They roared when the Patriots linebacker Matt Judon fired Brady for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter.
Brady, though, has done what he has done so many times: he was alive when the stains were high. With less than two minutes left in the first half -3- Down, Brady quickly completed four passes in the yard to put the Buccaneers in the score position. He then missed three straight passes and the team held on for field goals so that the deficit was 7-6 at half time.
Jones goes beyond any running game to protect the poor pass and keep the Patriots in the game. He completed 31 of 40 passes, including 19 consecutive finishes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Bellick also called for two comedy dramas, one of which was thrown to receiver Jacobi Meyers for a 30-yard gain to receiver Nelson Agholor.
Many of Jones’ passes went to receivers who were defended by Richard Sherman, an all-pro cornback, who signed the Buccaneers as a free agent last week.
The Patriots had a chance to win the game in less than a minute, but Nick Fok’s 56-yard field goal effort hit straight to the left. Brady took a knee and the watch ran to zero.
Brady was expected to return home from the moment the NFL announced his season schedule in the spring.
The game had all the elements of the league’s broadcasters aspirations: a star player, facing his old team led by a longtime coach, who discovered and developed him. Last season, Brady answered the biggest question – whether he could win without Belick – when he brought the Buccaneers a Super Bowl title.
But as details of Brady’s departure surfaced, his allies claimed that Belichick did not respect the input of the quarterback, the game took on the feeling of a boring match.
Both Brady and Belichick played the supposed conflict, and the Buccaneers released a picture of Brady talking warmly to Patriots owner Robert K. Craft before the game. But the offensive play of both the defenders showed that both the teams are eager to win.