The long national nightmare known as Deflategate mercifully reached its conclusion Monday. Tom Brady was allowed to return to work after his month-long exile, and a sense of normalcy began to creep back into Gillette Stadium.

What did Brady miss while he was vacationing in Italy, visiting his alma mater and whipping passes to high schoolers? We’re glad you asked.

The New England Patriots went 3-1 without their longtime starting quarterback, winning both of backup Jimmy Garoppolo’s starts and splitting third-stringer Jacoby Brissett’s.

As No. 12 prepares to make his triumphant comeback this Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, relegating Garoppolo and Brissett back to the bench, here are 12 things we learned about the Patriots during their four games without him.

What we learned during Brady’s Deflategate suspension >>

Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images