BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady returned from his four-game suspension on Sunday, and though the quarterback said he was a bit rusty, you’d be hard-pressed to find Patriots fans who agree with that sentiment.
Brady got off to a torrid start against the lowly Cleveland Browns in New England’s 33-13 win and finished with 406 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Was that Tom Brady’s greatness or the Browns being, well, the Browns? Boomer Esiason of WFAN and CBS’ The NFL Today joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly call into the show on Monday, and said it was a little from column A and a little from column B.
“I think its a little both, but I never thought he would look that good,” said Boomer. “To throw for over 400 yards the first time back on the field, and to do it with seven different receivers and all kinds of passes all over the place; throws on the run, deep passes, short passes, shallow crosses — the full complement of the playbook was open.
“I’m a little surprised it was over 400 yards, but I’m not surprised that they won and I’m not surprised he looked as good as he did,” he added.
It certainly helped that Brady had Rob Gronkowski returning to Rob Gronkowski form. After being dealing with a hamstring injury for most of the preseason and hauling in just one catch in his first two games of the season, Gronk had five receptions for 109 yards against Cleveland. And with him drawing much of the defense attention, it opened things up for fellow tight end Martellus Bennett, who caught all three of Brady’s touchdown passes.
“They’re a formidable group and tough to defend,” Boomer said of the Gronkowski-Bennett tandem. “In two weeks, they play the Steelers, and they do have the firepower to match them. That game, assuming everyone is healthy, will be epic. But they have to get through Cincinnati first, which shouldn’t be too big of a problem, given how Cincinnati has been playing lately.”
Boomer also touched on the 5-0 start of the Minnesota Vikings, who he predicted before the season would be meeting with the Patriots in Super Bowl 51, the surprising start by the Atlanta Falcons and the three-game win streak by the Buffalo Bills: