It was an overall good night for Tom Brady and probably a bittersweet one for Patriots fans as the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers eked out a 19-17 win in Brady's first game back in Foxborough, Massachusetts, since leaving New England in 2020. It was not a dominant win — the Patriots would have won if Nick Folk had made a final 56-yard field goal with 56 seconds left in the game — but it was a victory nonetheless. And Brady also managed to make a little NFL history during the game.
The mood of Patriots fans was summed up before kickoff by a guy named "Schwartzy."
"Brady was welcomed with cheers during the pregame before taking the field to a stream of boos on the Buccaneers' first drive of the night," USA Today reports. "Some cheers returned on their second offensive series of the night when he completed a 28-yard pass to Mike Evans to surpass [Drew] Brees's mark of 80,358 yards to become the NFL's career passing leader in the regular season." Brady also became only the fourth NFL quarterback — along with Brees, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning — to lead his team to victory against all 32 NFL teams.
Brady told NBC afterward that the game had been "pretty surreal," adding that his former teammates, plus rookie Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, "have a really good football team and made us earn it." And that's true, USA Today adds. Brady "was nearly upstaged by a rookie and had his least-efficient game of the season. For just the second time since he joined the Bucs in 2020 as a free agent, Brady didn't throw a touchdown."
Still, he won. And for the first time since 2001 — the year Brady joined Bill Belichick's New England team — the Patriots are 1-3.