Tom Brady played full-speed football for the first time in 215 days Friday night, and he looked … well, he looked a lot like Tom Brady.
After not suiting up for either of the New England Patriots’ first two preseason games, Brady entered early in the second quarter of New England’s exhibition matchup with the Carolina Panthers and immediately made his presence felt.
Brady found Aaron Dobson for a 37-yard gain on his first throw of the night, and after consecutive drops forced the Patriots to settle for a field goal, he dropped his next pass into the outstretched arms of Patriots newcomer Chris Hogan for a 33-yard touchdown.
Brady played four consecutive series before relinquishing the reins to Jimmy Garoppolo, who started for the Patriots on Friday and is expected to do the same for the first four weeks of the regular season while Brady serves his Deflategate suspension.
“It’s great to see (Brady) on the field,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a post-halftime interview with WBZ’s Steve Burton. “It’s great to see everybody out there. We’re competing hard tonight, and that’s what we need to do.”
The 39-year-old’s precision waned as his outing drew to a close, and his fourth and final drive was by far his worst. During it, Brady had one pass batted now, nearly had another intercepted and took a sack on third down as the Patriots went three-and-out.
All told, Brady finished the night 3-for-9 for 76 yards with one touchdown.
Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images