Tom Brady became the NFL’s all-time leading passer and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers passed the Patriots 19-17 as New England’s favorite son made an emotional return to Foxborough on Sunday night.
Brady faced his former team for the first time after two decades of dominance in New England that culminated in six Super Bowl championships.
“I’m not crying,” said the 44-year-old quarterback. “I’ve been through all of this. It was my home for 20 years. I have fondest memories of it.”
Playing in steady rain, Brady became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards after throwing a 28-yard throw to teammate Mike Evans in the first quarter to pass Drew Brees by one yard.
Brady entered the contest needing 68 yards to pass the recently retired Brees. He now has 80,560 total yards versus 80,358 for Brees.
“I can throw a bit and I’m glad I had some good guys to catch him,” Brady said.
“It’s pretty cool. Nothing in this sport can be accomplished without some amazing teammates. The guys have done a great job catching the ball for 22 years.”
Brady completed 22 of 43 passes for 269 yards against the Patriots and didn’t throw any interceptions in the seesaw contest. He received a lot of help from his supporting cast, including running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 91 yards, and kicker Ryan Succop, who scored four field goals.
Brady said earlier in the week that he’s not in the mood for a walk in the past, but after the game he admitted it had been an emotional race.
“I was just trying to keep my cool,” Brady said. “We had a win on the road. It’s a good win here at Foxborough.”
Patriots fans have been clamoring for tickets to Sunday’s game, spending up to $ 13,000 for the chance to pay tribute to Brady, who never got a chance to say goodbye.
The Patriots honored Brady with a one-minute video of his pre-game highlights. He took the field during the warm-up to chants of “Brady! Brady! Brady!” which filled the stadium.
There was a mix of cheers and taunts from the rain-soaked crowd of 65,800 when he came on for the Buccaneers’ first offensive practice in the first quarter.
The response was more subdued when he set the all-time record with six minutes left in the first quarter. The Patriots opted not to stop the game and honor Brady as play continued as if it was a normal 28-yard pass and run.
Succop kicked off a 48-yard field goal with just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter to make it 19-17.
Nick Folk had the chance to put the Patriots ahead, but his 56-yard field goal scrambled left upright with 55 seconds left and moved away harmlessly. This allowed Brady to just run to the final ring.
– ‘You want me to cry? –
Elsewhere, Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes and Kansas City beat the Philadelphia Eagles 42-30 to give Andy Reid his 100th victory as Chiefs head coach.
Mahomes completed 24 of 30 passes for 278 yards as the Chiefs improved to 2-2 this season.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire caught a touchdown pass and ran for 102 yards while Tyreek Hill had 11 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Reid, who guided the Chiefs to a Super Bowl appearance last season, is the first coach in NFL history to win at least 100 games for two different teams and Sunday was a record-breaking homecoming for him.
Reid won 140 games, including the playoffs, for the Eagles as a coach from 1999 to 2012. He then moved to Kansas City, where his record is 100-45 in just over eight seasons.
Reid was hospitalized after last week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers after falling ill from the loss.
He was treated and released after spending a night in hospital and it was questioned if he had recovered enough to train against his old team.
When asked if his return to Philadelphia had made him emotional, the normally unfazed Reid replied, “I’m pretty well. You want me to cry here?”
Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns and the Dallas Cowboys pulled away in a productive third quarter for a 36-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Ezekiel Elliott has run for 143 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown as the Cowboys have improved to 3-1 this season.