Nick Wright "backlash" Bucs' Tom Brady outlasts Mac Jones, Patriots in return to New England

In Tom Brady’s first game back in New England since leaving the team as a free agent in 2020, he guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 19-17 win against the Patriots in the rain at Foxboro, Mass., while also passing Drew Brees to become the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards.

"I feel like I'll always be a part of this community," Brady said. "It's been an amazing place for me. It still is."

Brady was 22 of 43 for 269 yards passing, and Leonard Fournette rushed for 91 yards for the Bucs. Rookie Mac Jones was 31 of 40 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Patriots (1-3), nearly leading New England to a game-winning drive with under two minutes left. Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal attempt with 59 seconds remaining hit the left upright, giving Brady a win against all 32 NFL franchises in his Hall of Fame career.

“They are a good football team and he’s a great quarterback, and I think that all goes without saying,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

Jones reached 19 consecutive completions on a drive to set up a 27-yard Folk field goal with 4:34 left, which Brady answered with a seven-play drive finished off by a 48-yard Ryan Succop field goal for the go-ahead points.

"He just keeps showing he's got some guts," Patriots offensive lineman David Andrews said of Jones. "We just gotta find a way to win a football game. He battles and, yeah, he's a tough kid."

“He looks like a baby Tom," Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne said of Jones.

The Bucs (3-1) won despite a number of injuries to starters, particularly in the secondary. Cornerback Carlton Davis was ruled out for the second half after being carted off with a quad injury. In his first game since signing with the Bucs last week, cornerback Richard Sherman recovered a fumble in the third quarter, but Jones was able to attack a Bucs’ secondary without Davis, Jamel Dean and safety Sean Murphy-Bunting due to injuries. The Bucs also lost safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (concussion protocol) in the fourth quarter. Tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) also did not play.

In the first quarter, Brady passed Brees’ passing yards mark of 80,358 with a 28-yard pass to Mike Evans.

"I just hope everybody who caught passes from me over the years just had a little smile on their face tonight knowing that they contributed to a very cool record," Brady said.