Tom Brady became the NFL’s all-time leading passer and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squeezed past Brady’s former team 19-17 as New England’s favorite son made an emotional return to Foxborough on Sunday night.
Brady was facing the Patriots for the first time after two decades of dominance in New England that included six Super Bowl titles.
“I am not tearing up,” the 44-year-old quarterback said. “I already went through all that. It was my home for 20 years. I have the best memories.”
Playing in a steady rain, Brady became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards after completing a 28-yard throw to 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, who was on the sideline as part of the broadcast team for NBC. He now has 80,560 total yards compared to Brees’ 80,358.
“I can throw a little bit and I am glad I have had some great guys to catch it,” Brady said.
“It’s is pretty cool. Nothing in this sport can be accomplished without incredible teammates. Guys did a great job catching the ball for 22 years.”
Brady completed 22 of 43 passes for 269 yards against the Patriots and threw no interceptions in a back-and-forth contest. He got a lot of help from his supporting cast, including running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 91 yards, and kicker Ryan Succop, who booted four field goals.
Brady said earlier in the week that he was in no mood for a stroll down memory lane, but after the game he admitted it has been an emotional ride.
“I was just trying to keep my poise,” Brady said. “We did get a win on the road. It is a good win here in Foxborough.”
Patriots fans clamored for tickets to Sunday’s game, splurging up to $13,000 for the chance to pay tribute to Brady, who never had the chance to say his goodbyes.
The Patriots honored him with a one-minute video of his highlights before the game. He took the field during warmups as chants of “Brady! Brady! Brady!” filled the stadium.
There was a mixture of cheers and jeers from the rain-soaked crowd of 65,800 when he came in for the Buccaneers’ first offensive drive of the first quarter.
The response was more low key when he set the passing record with six minutes to go in the first quarter. The Patriots chose to not stop the game and honor Brady as play continued as if it was a normal 28-yard pass play.
Succop kicked a 48-yard field goal with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to make it 19-17.
Nick Folk had a chance to give the Patriots the lead but his 56-yard field goal attempt clanked off the left upright with 55 seconds remaining and sailed harmlessly away. That allowed Brady to just run the clock down to the final buzzer.
Elsewhere, Patrick Mahomes tossed five touchdown passes and Kansas City defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-30 to give Andy Reid his 100th victory as head coach of the Chiefs.
Mahomes completed 24 of 30 passes for 278 yards as the Chiefs improved to 2-2 on the 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, like it was for Brady, Sunday was a record-setting homecoming for him.
Reid won 140 games, counting playoffs, as the Eagles’ head 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 becoming ill following the loss. He was treated and released after one night in hospital and there was some question whether he had recovered enough to coach against his former team.
Asked if coming back to Philadelphia made him emotional, the normally unflappable Reid said: “I’m pretty good. You want me to cry up here?”
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