FOXBORO, Mass. — Think the First Energy Stadium crowd was loud for Tom Brady’s regular-season debut? Just wait until this weekend.
The New England Patriots host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. It’ll be Brady’s first home game since New England’s divisional-round win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 16, and if the sky-high ticket prices are any indication, a rousing welcome awaits the Patriots quarterback.
“I’m very excited,” Brady said Wednesday. “It’ll be a great game. They’re a very good team we’re playing, so I think the crowd will be into it, and I’m sure we’ll be ready to go, too.”
After sitting out the Patriots’ first four games while he served his Deflategate suspension — and being inactive for New England’s two home preseason games — Brady was phenomenal in his return to action, throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns as New England blew out the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Thousands of Patriots fans made the voyage to northeast Ohio for the occasion, and Brady expects a similarly raucous crowd this Sunday in Foxboro.
“I look forward to playing every week, and certainly, this will be a fun game,” Brady said. “It’s always pretty fun to be out there. We’ve got a great crowd, and hopefully we give them lots of reasons to cheer. We’ve always had such great support here. It’s just a great place to play, so hopefully we can make enough plays and keep them loud all game.”
The Patriots blew out the Bengals when the teams last met in Week 5 of the 2014 season, winning 43-17 in what most Pats fans know as the “On to Cincinnati” game.
NFL teams can change a considerable amount over the course of two years, but Cincinnati’s roster from that 2014 contest remains largely intact, with most of the key names on offense (Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill) and defense (Geno Atkins, Vontaze Burfict, Adam Jones, Carlos Dunlap) still kicking around.
“That was a long time ago,” Brady said of the teams’ most recent meeting. “At the end of the day we played good. That’s what matters most — our ability to focus on that particular team, game and opponent. That’s what we did a great job of that week, and that’s what we’re going to have to do this week, too. ”
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images