After two decades, Tom Brady’s run with the Patriots has come to an end. But even though he’s now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it doesn’t take away from the heaps of memories he created with New England.
Each day over the next few weeks, we’ll look back on one of Brady’s best moments, counting down from No. 20 to No. 1. Now, let’s relive his No. 19 moment: Pounding Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in his first career NFL start (2001).
You have to start somewhere, good or bad.
When a 24-year-old named Tom Brady stepped onto the field for the Patriots to replace then-franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe, there was fear in the hearts of New England fans everywhere.
And it wasn’t necessarily success from the onset, as Brady completed less than 50 percent of his passes immediately after filling in for Bledsoe as the Patriots fell to 0-2 in the 2001 season.
But in Week 3, Brady got his first career start. While his personal stat line was not overly impressive, Brady guided the Pats to a 44-13 win over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
Little did fans know, this would be the start of one of the greatest rivalries between two players in NFL history.
Brady helped lead the Patriots to victory, even without throwing his first career touchdown pass. He executed what head coach Bill Belichick asked of him, as running backs Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk did much of the offensive heavy lifting. The defense, led by Ty Law, picked off Manning three times and returned all three interceptions for touchdowns.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images