FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Playing as a visitor at Gillette Stadium wasn’t the only big change for Tom Brady on Sunday night. He also was booed. Often.
And when Brady was sacked by Matt Judon in the second quarter, the crowd went wild.
Even when the Buccaneers quarterback set the record for yards passing in a career on a 28-yard completion to Mike Evans in the first quarter, there was a mixture of cheers and applause along with the jeers. Brady, 44, reached 80,359 yards through the air and then called a timeout before the next play — though no announcement had been made about setting the mark. That came during the timeout.
Ryan Succop’s field goal a few plays later — after Brady misfired on a couple of throws — gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead. By halftime in a steady rain, the six-time Super Bowl champion looked ordinary in the highly charged atmosphere, and defending champion Tampa Bay trailed 7-6. Brady was 15 for 27 for 182 yards, with a few pinpoint completions and just as many overthrows.
After a friendly greeting for the quarterback during pregame warmups, the fans were in no mood to offer him a welcome when the game began.
Brady completed two passes on the Buccaneers first drive before they stalled and punted. He stoically headed to the sideline — on the opposite side of the field from where he usually settled as a Patriot — with little reaction to the fans’ jeers.
He took the Bucs into scoring range on their next possession, however, surpassing the passing record of Drew Brees, too.
During warmups, to chants of “BRADY, BRADY, BRADY in a half-filled Gillette Stadium, the returning hero knew exactly where he was, of course. He did his customary “Let’s Go,” fist pump after jogging the entire sideline. The crowd responded with its cheer as Brady hugged New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before heading to the other end of the field to warm up.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick came out midway through pregame warmups but did not approach Brady.
Earlier, there was a lengthy and seemingly warm embrace between Brady and Robert Kraft, with the quarterback towering over the Patriots owner outside the visitor’s locker room.