'Rusty' Tom Brady nails return; hammers Browns with 406 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
That's the headline that came to mind this morning that I wish I had thought of on Monday after the 33-13 win. Not quite as clever or telling as The Plain Dealer's, which simply stated, "Welcome Mats". Brutal, but accurate. Who knew all Tom Brady needed to ease his way back into game-shape was the Browns?
The warm welcome raised the Patriots in the rankings a bit too. Frank Schwab has been getting grief from his followers for keeping the Patriots at No. 1 throughout Brady's suspension. He feels they are the better team all-around and confident they will be even better with Brady's return - an idea that frankly is not too far fetched. As Lorenzo Reyes put it, "Tom Brady walked into lineup and produced first 400-yard passing day in his last 16 starts. Just wait 'til he shakes the rust off.."
It might be the homer inside me talking, but it's loudly predicting the rust shakes all the way off this Sunday, at home, against the Bengals. What better place than Gillette Stadium to relive the infamous "On to Cincinnati" game, with another memorable performance? Lets GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Around the AFC East:
Buffalo (3-2) vs. San Francisco (1-4)
NY Jets (1-4) at Arizona (1-4)
Miami (1-4) vs. Pittsburgh (4-1)
Denver (4-1) at San Diego (1-4)
Oakland (4-1) vs. Kansas City (2-2)
Baltimore (3-2) at NY Giants (2-3)
Houston (3-2) vs. Indianapolis (2-3)
Tennessee (2-3) vs Cleveland (0-5)
Jacksonville (1-3) at Chicago (1-4)
1st - Mark Maske (Washington Post): The offense is really, really versatile and really, really good with Tom Brady back at QB. The Patriots didn’t even need the running of LeGarrette Blount against the Browns, and Brady made sure to get TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Chris Hogan involved in the passing game, in addition to throwing three TD passes to TE Martellus Bennett. WRs Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola also will have their moments. There are tougher tests to come with the Steelers, Seahawks and Broncos left on the schedule.
1st - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): Trading for Martellus Bennett a prototypical Patriots move. The Bears had tired of him, so they unloaded him and a sixth-round pick for the Patriots’ fourth-round pick. Everyone immediately knew the Patriots were going to use Bennett in creative ways and he’d form an unstoppable duo with Rob Gronkowski. And what do you know, in Brady’s first game back (and Gronkowski’s first game in which he looked healthy), Bennett was open all game and scored three times. And they got him for very little cost. And we wonder why the rest of the NFL has been chasing the Patriots for so long?
1st - Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today): Tom Brady walked into lineup and produced first 400-yard passing day in his last 16 starts. Just wait 'til he shakes the rust off...
1st - Rick Wakely (Portland Press Herald): The offense is really, really versatile and really, really good with Tom Brady back at QB. The Patriots didn’t even need the running of LeGarrette Blount against the Browns, and Brady made sure to get TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Chris Hogan involved in the passing game, in addition to throwing three TD passes to TE Martellus Bennett. WRs Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola also will have their moments. There are tougher tests to come with the Steelers, Seahawks and Broncos left on the schedule.
2nd - Jenny Vrentas (The MMQB): All you need to know is that by halftime, Tom Brady already had 271 passing yards. That was more than both Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning had in four quarters.
2nd - Chris Burke (SI): The questions about Tom Brady’s rustiness coming off of his suspension turned out to be like asking if Daniel Day Lewis would be able to get in character for his next movie. Brady threw for 406 yards Sunday. In the history of the NFL, that is the second-highest total for a QB age 39 or older, 40 yards back of what 41-year-old jeans salesman Brett Favre pulled off in 2010.
2nd - Experts (ESPN): Coach Bill Belichick went 3-1 without Tom Brady this season, so now that the duo is reunited, the rest of the NFL should watch out. Belichick and Brady are 173-51 overall (.772) since joining forces, and 5-1 against the Bengals, their Week 6 opponent.
2nd - Elliot Harrison (NFL.com): Tom Brady was so rusty Sunday. He missed on two of his first 10 passes! He even overthrew Julian Edelman on a potential touchdown!! Gimme a break. In 2053, when we've mastered the arts of cloning and reanimation, I want us to put Brady and Don Coryell on the same sideline. Let 'em air it out. The future deserves this. With Brady in the lineup, anticipate both tight ends being threats (Gronk eclipsed 100 yards receiving Sunday, while Martellus Bennett snagged three touchdown passes), James White being more involved, and guys like Chris Hogan having the occasional 100-yard half.
2nd - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): Tom Brady comes back. Tom Brady is the same Tom Brady. Did we expect anything different?
2nd - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): They’re done with their penance for doing something shady, just in time to welcome back Tom Brady. It’s also good to see them go back to full Gronk, all the way back to their old AFC bonk. This week: vs. Bengals, Sunday.
2nd - Adam Stites (SB Nation): The return of Tom Brady gives the New England Patriots a strong case as the No. 1 team in the league, but a destruction of the Cleveland Browns isn’t quite as impressive as a destruction of the Houston Texans — a flawed team, but not the NFL’s worst.
2nd - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): If #Tommy throws for 406 yards when he’s rusty, what will he do when he’s not?
3rd - Manish Mehta (NY Daily News): The Tom Brady F.U. Tour got off to a predictably roaring start with his three-touchdown masterpiece in the Patriots' laugher over the hapless Browns. Brady says he's better at 39 than 29… and I actually believe it.
5th - Luke Miller (Metro): Welcome back, Tom Brady. In his first game with new toy Martellus Bennett, Brady found Bennett for each of his three touchdown passes. The Patriots two tight end set was back in force, as Gronk piled up a 100-yard day against Cleveland in the rare complementary performance. This may have been the easiest opponent Brady could return against, and a tougher matchup looms in the form of Cincinnati next weekend.