FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady grew to become the N.F.L.’s profession passing chief on Sunday in his first recreation again in New England to face his former group, the Patriots.
Within the first quarter, Brady accomplished a 28-yard cross to receiver Mike Evans to attain 80,359 yards and surpass the report of 80,358 yards set final yr by Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback who retired on the finish of the season.
The Patriots flashed the report on the stadium video display and introduced it to the gang, which cheered, however they didn’t cease the sport for a ceremony.
Heading into the sport, Brady wanted simply 68 yards to cross Brees. Brady will seemingly maintain onto the report for a number of years. Amongst energetic gamers, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers has the second-most career yards, however he trails Brady by about 20,000 yards.
Brady’s record-setting throw was simply considered one of many highlights in probably the most anticipated common season video games in years, because the Buccaneers sought to enhance on their 2-1 report and the Patriots, at 1-2, struggled to get a foothold in their second season with out Brady as their chief.
A lot of the drama earlier than the sport targeted on the showdown between Brady and Patriots Coach Invoice Belichick, and who was chargeable for Brady’s departure after 20 years, 249 wins and 6 Tremendous Bowl championships collectively.
One fan purchased a billboard not far from the stadium that each one however blamed Belichick for Brady’s resolution to transfer to Tampa. Followers tailgating earlier than the sport at Gillette Stadium didn’t begrudge Brady for leaving.
“I’m grateful for the whole lot Tom did, however that’s in the previous,” mentioned Randy Greeley, a longtime season ticket holder who wore the jersey of Mac Jones, the group’s new quarterback. “My loyalty is to the Pats.”
When the Buccaneers took the field to warm up about 50 minutes earlier than kickoff, followers gave Brady a standing ovation and chanted his title. Earlier than the sport, the Patriots performed a brief video tribute on the stadium scoreboard that confirmed Brady’s exploits in New England. However when Brady took the sector for Tampa’s opening drive, he was booed.
Brady has been restrained about his relationship with Belichick and his causes for transferring to Tampa. However his father and coach, interviewed individually, have been extra blunt, claiming that Belichick did not value Brady’s input and felt, at 44, that his best days were over.
When he was in New England, Brady had mentioned he wished to play till he was 45. Tampa gave him a two-year contract. Having led the Buccaneers to a Tremendous Bowl title final season, and already off to a quick begin this yr, Brady has mused about doubtlessly enjoying till he’s 50.
Native tv stations and nationwide networks like NBC’s “Right now” present broadcast from the stadium parking zone days earlier than the sport, whereas one website listed the top 10 sports homecomings in Boston space historical past earlier than Brady’s return.
Brady’s followers greeted the quarterback at the airport in Windfall, R.I., when the Buccaneers’ group airplane arrived on Saturday. The group now contains cornerback Richard Sherman, the free agent former 49ers nook whom Brady recruited to the Buccaneers regardless of being mired in authorized bother stemming from an arrest this summer season and 5 misdemeanor expenses, together with two for home violence. The Buccaneers have been with out tight finish Rob Gronkowski, one other former Patriots participant, who has a rib harm.