Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into Gillette Stadium as seven-point favorites, but the idea that this game would be a blowout quickly flew out the door. The Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones was sharp all game and their defense tightened up every time Brady and the Bucs got close to scoring.
In the end, the rookie gave his team a chance to win on a 56-yard field goal, but Nick Folk just missed, as the ball slammed into the left goal post, leaving the Buccaneers 19-17 winners.
Brady and company didn’t have much trouble moving the ball, even in constant rain. They ended up attempting five field goals, with Ryan Succop hitting four of them and accounting for 12 of the Bucs’ 19 points, including the game winner.
Brady broke Drew Brees’ all-time passing yardage record in the first quarter, but couldn’t find the end zone on any of his passes. Facing Bill Belichick, the rain, and a hostile crowd might not have been the easiest of homecomings, but Brady did grind out the win, and led his team down the field for a game-winning field goal. These are the kind of wins the Buccaneers need, especially as their secondary has been greatly impacted by injuries.
But on the other side of the ball, Jones proved he can play in big spots and stay cool under pressure. He’s not Tom Brady, but he has some of the characteristics that made Brady who he is today. And having Belichick to guide his way gives him a great chance of making it in this league.