FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady turned the N.F.L.’s profession passing chief on Sunday in his first recreation again in New England to face his former workforce, the Patriots.
In the primary quarter, Brady accomplished a 28-yard move to receiver Mike Evans to succeed in 80,359 yards and surpass the document of 80,358 yards set final yr by Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback who retired on the finish of the season.
The Patriots flashed the document on the stadium video display screen and introduced it to the gang, which cheered, however they didn’t cease the sport for a ceremony.
Heading into the sport, Brady wanted simply 68 yards to move Brees. Brady will possible maintain onto the document for a number of years. Among lively gamers, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers has the second-most profession yards, however he trails Brady by about 20,000 yards.
Brady’s record-setting throw was simply one in all many highlights in probably the most anticipated common season video games in years, because the Buccaneers sought to enhance on their 2-1 document and the Patriots, at 1-2, struggled to get a foothold of their second season with out Brady as their chief.
Much of the drama earlier than the sport targeted on the showdown between Brady and Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, and who was answerable for Brady’s departure after twenty years, 249 wins and 6 Super Bowl championships collectively.
One fan purchased a billboard not removed from the stadium that every one however blamed Belichick for Brady’s resolution to maneuver to Tampa. Fans tailgating earlier than the sport at Gillette Stadium didn’t begrudge Brady for leaving.
“I’m grateful for everything Tom did, but that’s in the past,” mentioned Randy Greeley, a longtime season ticket holder who wore the jersey of Mac Jones, the workforce’s new quarterback. “My loyalty is to the Pats.”
When the Buccaneers took the field to warm up about 50 minutes earlier than kickoff, followers gave Brady a standing ovation and chanted his identify. Before the sport, the Patriots performed a brief video tribute on the stadium scoreboard that confirmed Brady’s exploits in New England. But when Brady took the sphere for Tampa’s opening drive, he was booed.
Brady has been restrained about his relationship with Belichick and his causes for shifting to Tampa. But his father and coach, interviewed individually, have been extra blunt, claiming that Belichick didn’t worth Brady’s enter and felt, at 44, that his finest days have been over.
When he was in New England, Brady had mentioned he wished to play till he was 45. Tampa gave him a two-year contract. Having led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title final season, and already off to a quick begin this yr, Brady has mused about probably enjoying till he’s 50.
Local tv stations and nationwide networks like NBC’s “Today” present broadcast from the stadium car parking zone days earlier than the sport, whereas one web site listed the highest 10 sports activities homecomings in Boston space historical past earlier than Brady’s return.
Brady’s followers greeted the quarterback on the airport in Providence, R.I., when the Buccaneers’ workforce airplane arrived on Saturday. The workforce now consists of cornerback Richard Sherman, the free agent former 49ers nook whom Brady recruited to the Buccaneers regardless of being mired in authorized bother stemming from an arrest this summer time and 5 misdemeanor expenses, together with two for home violence. The Buccaneers have been with out tight finish Rob Gronkowski, one other former Patriots participant, who has a rib harm.