For the Patriots organization it’s hard to imagine how Tom Brady’s return to competitive football could have gone much better. Tom played four series throughout the first half last night and was an impressive 10-15, for 100 yards, 2 TD, and 1 INT. In Brady’s first series he made a quick completion to rookie Justin Edelman on a bubble screen for six yards. On the subsequent third down play it appeared that Brady missed hitting his receiver perfectly in stride. On the replay you could see a little reluctance by Brady to plant off his foot. As far as I could tell Brady was more comfortable in the pocket after the first series, which was to be expected.
On Brady’s second series it was business as usual. On the first play he delivered a beautiful ball to Moss on a play action pass for 14 yards. As if to answer his critics on the next play Brady looked deep to Randy, throwing a perfect 56-yard bomb to the receiver, only a late grab by former Patriot Asante Samuel prevented the completion. After the pass interference call the Patriots found themselves in the red zone, which has been a focus this year in camp. With trips to his right Brady found newcomer tight end Chris Baker in the end zone with a perfect ball off Baker’s cut at the goal line.
As expected the Patriots came out in a 4-3 defense, reminiscent of Super Bowl 39 when the Patriots surprised the Eagles. However this season the Patriots are expected to use a lot more 4-3 defense, in large part to their depth of quality lineman. While Donovan McNabb wasn’t that sharp last night the Patriots defense still got the chance to show off some of their rookies. Myron Pryor, out of the University of Kentucky, got the start on the defensive line and was quite successful. He was able to sack McNabb and make two other tackles. All the while you could see Vince Wilfork giving him tips. That’s the Patriot Way at it’s finest. Pryor was hardly the only rookie to show up last night, Darius Butler was in on several pass breakups in the first half, and Patrick Chung successfully tipped a field goal late in second half. Also off the defenses spectacular job Justin Edelman, out of Kent State, returned a punt 75-yards for a touchdown.
As for Brady his one noticeable mistake came in another deep throw to Moss that was picked off. Tom was visibly upset on the bench afterwards. But he responded quite nicely in his last drive of the half. During a ten play drive Brady sidestepped pressure and delivered some picture perfect throws including a beautiful 35-yarder to Randy Moss. Brady also quarterback sneaked for a gain of four yards, which I think showed the Patriots and Tom’s belief that he is fine. At the end of the Patriots 10-play drive Brady found Baker once again in the end zone to pace the Pats to a 21-6 halftime lead, a far cry from some of their awful preseason performances last season.
After the Patriots closed out their 27-25 win Brady talked about his performance, “We’re on a mission this year. This is the first step, it's a small step, but it's a step in the right direction.” It is just week one of the preseason but all signs point to Brady and the Patriots being healthy and quite determined this season. The NFL and fantasy owners should take notice.
About the Author
Written by Nich Hall