By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady figured to have a fairly easy job on Saturday, facing a Lions team that’s without most of its defensive coaches and its interim head coach. It took all of three minutes for that estimation to be proven true.

And by halftime, the beatdown was so significant that the performance rivaled anything Brady has ever done in his illustrious 21-year career.

Aided by an offside penalty on Detroit which would have resulted in a three-and-out for Brady and the Bucs on the game’s opening possession, Brady carved up the Lions’ secondary with ease on the opening drive.

READ: Three Reasons Why Tom Brady Obliterating The Lions Was Wildly Impressive

After hitting Chris Godwin for an 8-yard gain on the third-and-4 after the enforcement of that penalty, Brady hit an uncovered Mike Evans for 33 yards up the left seam. And two snaps later, Brady threw a pass up the right seam where only for Rob Gronkowski could catch it.

Despite tight coverage from Tracy Walker, Gronkowski used his five-inch height advantage to go up and haul in the perfectly placed pass. Gronkowski then shed the tackle and rumbled into the end zone with a 33-yard reception.

The touchdown was Brady’s 33rd of the year and the sixth of the season for Gronkowski. (We can’t fact-check this, but it’s a safe bet that this marks the first time in NFL history that a quarterback threw back-to-back 33-yard passes, the second of which being his 33rd touchdown pass of the season. How’s THAT for history, folks?!)

It was also the 96th time that Brady and Gronkowski have hooked up for a score, moving them farther away from Steve Young and Jerry Rice, the duo which Brady and Gronkowski passed earlier this season for second-most TD connections in NFL history.

Brady and Gronkowski, though, remain far behind Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, who connected for 114 times during their time with the Colts.

Brady got right back to work, too. After the Tampa defense forced a Detroit punt, Brady led the Bucs on a lightning-fast 80-yard drive. He hit Godwin for a 47-yard gain on a deep shot over the middle of the field, and two plays later, he lobbed a 27-yard touchdown to Evans.

In doing so, Brady upped his touchdown total to 34, giving him the all-time franchise record for the Buccaneers. Brady passed Jameis Winston in that department, though Winston threw 30 interceptions last year when he threw 33 touchdowns. The touchdown to Evans gave Brady 34 TDs with just 11 interceptions on the year, and the 43-year-old still had seven-and-a-half quarters left in the season to add to the tally.

Brady was 6-for-7 for 146 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions after the first two drives of the game. He also threw his 34th touchdown in a season for just the sixth time of his career and the first time since 2015.

Brady poured it on before halftime, too, leading the Bucs on a 91-yard touchdown drive, highlighted by a 20-yard pass to Tanner Hudson, a 22-yard pass to a wide-open Evans, and then a 7-yard bullet for a touchdown to Godwin, who made an impressive one-handed diving snag to haul in the pass.

The stats kept piling up for Brady, with his 35th touchdown of the season coming on that throw.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Brady kept it rolling with one more scoring drive before halftime. On this one, he actually hit Godwin for a 23-yard touchdown, but it was nullified due to a lineman being downfield. Just two plays later, though, Brady threw a laser to the back of the end zone, hitting Antonio Brown for six.

Earlier in the drive, Brady escaped pressure and connected with Brown for 15 yards on a fourth-and-4.

At halftime, Brady was 22-for-27 for 348 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

That is a fairly productive first half of football. So productive, in fact, that since 1991, it compares to only one other half of football … a half which was also quarterbacked by Tom Brady.

That snowy blowout against the Titans is well-remembered in New England, of course, as Brady finished with the game with 380 yards and six touchdowns.

Unfortunately for Brady fantasy owners, the quarterback didn’t get a chance to match those single-game totals in this one. Coming out of halftime, following a Detroit fumble, backup QB Blaine Gabbert entered the game for Tampa Bay. The Lions then failed to cover Rob Gronkowski, and Gabbert hit the tight end for an easy 25-yard touchdown to give the Bucs a 40-0 lead.

Tampa would go on to win 47-7, giving the Bucs their first postseason berth since 2007.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.