New England’s superstar quarterback Tom Brady returned to the NFL in vintage style on Sunday, passing for three touchdowns in the Patriots’ 33-13 drubbing of the Browns in Cleveland.
Brady, playing for the first time this season after serving his four-game “Deflategate” suspension, threw for 406 yards, connecting with tight end Martellus Bennett on three TD passes.
The Patriots, who won three of four with Brady absent, improved to 4-1 while the Browns, the only winless team remaining, fell to 0-5.
Even worse, Cleveland saw yet another quarterback go down to injury.
Cody Kessler, the third QB to start for the Browns this season, was knocked out of the game with chest and rib injuries late in the first quarter when he was drilled by Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
Robert Griffin III suffered a broken bone in his left shoulder in the season opener and Josh McCown suffered a broken collarbone in the next game for the Browns.
A week on from their humbling 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots came out firing.
On their first possession they moved the ball 80 yards on eight plays, aided by three runs from LaGarrette Blount that included a one-yard touchdown sprint.
TCody Kesslerhe Browns pulled level on their next possession, but the Pats responded with a drive capped by Brady’s first touchdown pass to Bennett.
After the play on which Kessler was injured resulted in a safety for the Patriots, new England made it 23-7 with a five-yard scoring pass from Brady to Bennett.
The two connected again on the opening drive of the third quarter.
In other early games, the Minnesota Vikings improved to 5-0, seizing an early lead and playing stifling defense in a 31-13 victory over the Houston Texans in Minneapolis.
The Vikings led 24-0 in the second quarter, scoring on three of their first four drives. Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford completed 22 of 30 passes for 271 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In four games with Minnesota he has yet to turn the ball over.
In Detroit, Matt Prater kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:28 remaining as the Lions, who gave away a 14-point lead, rallied to hand the Philadelphia Eagles their first defeat of the season, 24-23.
Prater’s game-winner came after the Eagles’ first turnover of the contest.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger notched a Steelers milestone as his four touchdown passes in a 31-13 victory over the New York Jets took him to 15 through five games — a club best.
Roethlisberger completed 34 of 47 attempts for 380 yards without an interception, hitting 14 straight passes in the second half as the Steelers erased a 13-7 deficit.
In Indianapolis, Andrew Luck’s 35-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton with 3:43 to play proved to be the game-winner in the Colt’s 29-23 win over the Chicago Bears.
Colts running back Frank Gore passed Hall of Famer Jim Brown for ninth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list when a 16-yard run in the first quarter took him past Brown’s 12,293 career yards.
© 2016 AFP
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