NFL

Brady starts for Pats, throws TD on 1st drive

08/17 7:02 AM

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady started in the team's 25-21 preseason win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night, two days after he left practice with a left knee injury.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady started in the team's 25-21 preseason win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night, two days after he left practice with a left knee injury.

The Patriots won the opening coin toss and elected to receive, putting Brady on the field from the outset. He led the Patriots to a touchdown on the opening drive, hitting Danny Amendola with a 26-yard scoring pass and then finding Zach Sudfeld with a two-point conversion pass. Brady was 8 of 8 for 72 yards on the drive.

Brady was pulled after two first-quarter drives. He finished 11 of 12 for 107 yards, the one touchdown and a 131.6 quarterback rating.

The Buccaneers, for their part, were impressed.

"When you watch the way that guy practices, him being 11 for [12] doesn't surprise me," Tampa Bay defensive end Da'Quan Bowers. "He's a competitor. He likes to get things done the right way. He's the leader of that offense, and once he gets going, the rest of those guys get going and they are hard to stop."

Added Bucs safety Dashon Goldson: "Oh man, Brady is Brady. Phenomenal."

Ryan Mallett led the Patriots offense on its four drives in the second quarter, completing 12-of-20 passes for 137 yards, including a 22-yard TD to tight end Sudfeld. Tim Tebow played the second half, completing 1-of-7 passes for minus-1 yard with an interception and rushing for 30 yards on six carries.

Brady, as he did in Thursday's walkthrough, was wearing a brace on his left knee.

When Brady first arrived on the field for warmups, he jogged from one end to the other -- part of his regular routine -- and gave a fist pump to Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn. It was Clayborn's bull rush that overpowered Patriots left tackle Nate Solder on the play Brady was injured in Wednesday's joint practice between the teams.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, speaking to reporters for the first time since Tuesday, was asked after the game about his reaction to when Brady injured his left knee Wednesday.

"We're so far past that; we're way beyond that," he said, before saying he'd have to look at the film to evaluate how the QB played.

Brady played two series, a total of 16 snaps, in last week's preseason opener.


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