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FOXBORO (CBS) – The question heading into Friday night’s preseason game was “Will Tom Brady play?”
The question by the midpoint of the first quarter was “Will Tom Brady throw an incompletion?”
The 36-year-old quarterback looked as sharp as ever in his one quarter of work, going a perfect 8-for-8 on the opening 80-yard scoring drive and completing three of his four passes on his second and final drive of the night. Seemingly only for good measure, he delivered a strike to Zach Sudfeld on a two-point conversion after the touchdown drive. It was arguably Brady’s best pass of the night, fit perfectly into a tight window, but it didn’t even show up in the box score.
With that, Brady’s night was over, but not before he officially and finally killed any chance of Wednesday’s injury scare to remain a lingering story line.
Of particular note in the 25-21 Patriots win was Brady’s work with Danny Amendola, who figures to be the most important receiver in the New England offense, at least until Rob Gronkowski makes his eventual return. Brady and Amendola were clearly clicking in their short amount of time together on Friday night. The two connected on the second play of the game when Amendola ran a crisp out route to the sideline and showed some good hands to haul in the 6-yard gain.
Later in the drive, on a third-and-11 from near midfield, Amendola ran an option route in the middle of the field. Brady waited patiently for Amendola to break out of his route before hitting the receiver perfectly in stride, right in the hands, allowing him to run for a gain of 13 to keep the drive alive. Four plays later, Brady threw another perfect pass to Amendola, this one on a post route, and this one resulting in six points for the home team.
“I thought we got some good work in,” Amendola said. “We wanted to start fast, that was our goal. I felt like we made some plays early, and it was good that we got on the board early too.
Brady’s one incompletion did come on a pass to Amendola, but the two connected six times for 71 yards and the score in just 26 snaps for Brady. That’s an awfully impressive showing in not a lot of time.
“Oh man,” an impressed Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson said after the game, “Brady is Brady. He is a good quarterback, phenomenal.”
Brady himself did not speak after the game, as at this point in his career he’s probably not overly impressed with anything he does in August. Nevertheless, through two preseason games, Brady has exactly two incompletions.
The Patriots play again Thursday night at Detroit, and with it being the third preseason game, it will in all likelihood means Brady plays for at least the first two quarters and possibly into the third quarter. The only topic of debate this week is whether he’ll throw more than three incompletions. Considering he’s looked as sharp as he ever has in his brilliant career, betting the under on that one may be the safe route.