(The Sports Xchange) – Playing quarterback must be like riding a bike for Tom Brady, because he knew exactly what to do when he got back into a National Football League (NFL) game.
Brady, in his first game back from a four-game suspension for so-called Deflategate, passed for 406 yards and three touchdowns to lead the New England Patriots past the Cleveland Browns, 33-13 on Sunday. He did not throw an interception and recorded a 127.7 passer rating.
Of course, the two-time NFL most valuable player was critical of his own performance, but overall he’s thrilled the Patriots are 4-1 and on top of the AFC East.
“I think there was plenty of rust out there,” said the 39-year-old, who on entering the game received an enthusiastic reception from the large contingent of New England fans sprinkled among the Cleveland crowd.
“I could do better in a lot of areas. I think it was a good win today. I thought the team played really well. It was fun to be part of it.
“It’s been a fun week to get ready to play and be back doing what I love to do. I’m just proud of the way our guys played. Our line played so great … We were close to breaking a few runs there, but 4-1 is a great place to be right now.”
Brady is now 6-1 against the Browns.
His performance Sunday was the eighth 400-yard game of his career and second straight against the Browns. He passed for 418 yards against the Browns on Dec. 8, 2013, and threw the winning touchdown pass with 31 seconds to play.
“Our expectation was to come out here, perform as a team and win,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “I’m talking about the whole team. That includes everybody. What else would we come out here for?
“I think Tom works hard. He’s always worked hard. I don’t think there’s any question about that. I think there are a lot of things he needs to work on. There are a lot of things we all need to work on as a football team. There are things we need to improve on. That’s all of us — players, coaches, everybody.”
Now that Deflategate will never bother Brady or the Patriots again, he can get on to the business of pursuing his fifth Super Bowl championship, something no NFL quarterback has ever done.
Brady was suspended after the NFL discovered underinflated footballs were used in the Patriots’ 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts in the January 2015 AFC championship game.
The win propelled the Patriots to Super Bowl XLIX, where they beat the Seattle Seahawks, giving Brady his fourth Super Bowl title.
(Editing by Andrew Both)