Tom Brady shows no rust in return from Deflategate suspension

CLEVELAND — Tom Brady’s much-anticipated Deflategate Revenge Tour got off to a near-perfect start on Sunday, but the only perfect ending will come in February if Roger Goodell is forced to hand him the Super Bowl MVP trophy.

Brady made his season debut against the pitiful Browns — trust me, that’s being kind — and showed zero rust following his four-week suspension. In fact, spending his time away visiting Ann Arbor and being an honorary captain for his alma mater Michigan, relaxing for a weekend sunbathing in Italy with his supermodel wife Gisele and throwing footballs to her in their Brookline backyard actually seems to have kept him pretty sharp.

How’s this for making a first impression in his 17th season? Brady completed 28-of-40 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns before Bill Belichick took him out with six minutes remaining. In Brady’s mind, every defensive player must have looked like Roger Goodell or Ted Wells.

Tom Brady is clearly motivated to receive another Super Bowl MVP trophy from the hands of Roger Goodell.

Tom Brady is clearly motivated to receive another Super Bowl MVP trophy from the hands of Roger Goodell.

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Forget rust. Brady came out on fire in the Patriots’ easy 33-13 victory over the Browns.

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He is 39 years old and keeps himself in great shape and is a workout and nutrition nut. Even so, not being subjected to the hits of the first four weeks can work to his advantage in January. Of course, there is no way to overstate how incensed Brady is about how Goodell handled Deflategate, the insinuations without proof produced by the $5 million, 243-page Wells Report, how Goodell suspended him, dragged him through the courts and questioned his integrity.

But now he’s back and Patriots Nation can start thinking about another championship.

Brady is super motivated and that’s not a good thing for the rest of the league. Last year, after he had his suspension overturned one week before the season, he got the Patriots off to a 10-0 start with 25 TDs and four INTs.

Brady threw for 406 yards in the Patriots' Week 5 victory.

Brady threw for 406 yards in the Patriots’ Week 5 victory.

(Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports)

Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett handed the team back to Brady with a 3-1 record. He will take it from here. By halftime Sunday, he had thrown for 271 yards and two touchdowns. By the end of the third quarter, he was up to 339 yards and three TDs.

Tom Brady’s back for Patriots and hears huge cheers in Cleveland

On his first series of the season, Brady completed passes of 10 yards to Julian Edelman and 19 yards to Rob Gronkowski on his first two attempts. Gronk later took a short pass, broke three tackles on a wild 34-yard to the two-yard line, where LaGarrette Blount took it in.

Patriots fans can breathe easy with Brady's return.

Patriots fans can breathe easy with Brady’s return.

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Browns tied it up, but then it was all New England. A 36-yard catch and run by James White set up the first of Brady’s three touchdown passes to former Giants tight end Martellus Bennett.

Brady has always been an extremely accurate passer, but his timing on the deep ball was surprising if only because he had just a few days of practice after being away for a month. He hit a nice 43-yard pass down the right sideline to Chris Hogan, setting up a five-yard TD to Bennett. He also had a 63-yard completion down the right sideline to Hogan, who beat cornerback Joe Haden, although the Patriots were later stopped on a fourth and goal from the one. In the third quarter, he later completed a 37-yard TD to Bennett, again down the right sideline. In the fourth quarter, he lofted a 37-yarder to Gronk that hit him in stride.

The Browns, who are now 0-5, are perhaps on their way to an 0-16 season. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, Cleveland’s third starting QB of the season, suffered chest and rib injuries in the first quarter as he was throwing a backwards pass that resulted in a safety. He was replaced by Charlie Whitehurst, who was not even on the roster until mid-September.

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The Deflategate Revenge Tour is going to be fun for Brady and the Patriots, especially if Goodell has to hand over the trophy.

Tags:
tom brady
new england patriots
nfl
cleveland browns
deflategate
martellus bennett
rob gronkowski

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