FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — From the moment the NFL schedule came out with the Buccaneers playing at New England, to the rainy night that concluded with, of course, a victory at Gillette Stadium, Tom Brady knew this would be very different.
He admitted to getting emotional about facing the Patriots on Sunday night in “a great stadium for me.” He mentioned the “Patriots-type weather” and the supportive crowd — for the home team, not for the visiting quarterback. He even recognized how annoying “the foghorn” that rallies the New England defense can be.
Oh yeah, he also cherished a 19-17 victory that was anything but vintage Brady, but was good enough.
“These are people I shared my life with and I’m grateful for everything they contributed to my life,” Brady said. “I feel like I always will be a part of the community.
“It was just emotional moments thinking about coming up here and playing. It’s a tough football environment. The crowd was into it.”
The seven-time Super Bowl champion, six with the Patriots, struggled in the rainy conditions much of the evening. He was booed — often.
Being Brady, he also won.
Brady took Tampa Bay on a 45-yard drive aided by a 31-yard pass interference penalty, and Ryan Succop made a 48-yard field goal for a 19-17 victory. While most of the game was not a classic for the 44-year-old quarterback, the march to victory seemed fitting in a place Brady has won 135 of 158 games.
“That was pretty cool,” Brady said. “It’s been my home for 20 years. I have the best memories. My kids were born here. It’s just a great town, a great city, a great area. I love it up here. I have so many people I have relationships with, but this was about this team coming up here to win. This wasn’t about one player. This was about our entire team going on the road beating a good team.”
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 4, 2021
Brady threw for 269 yards, but the Bucs (3-1) scored only one touchdown, on an 8-yard run by Ronald Jones. With the game in the balance, he watched from an unfamiliar sideline as Nick Folk had a 56-yard field goal hit the left upright in the final minute for New England.
Brady then hugged dozens of his former teammates and coaches at midfield — a quick one with Bill Belichick — as the rain intensified and Gillette Stadium emptied in silence.
“My football journey took me somewhere else,” Brady noted, the ball with which he set the NFL career passing yardage record at his side at a crowded news conference.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 4, 2021
Even when the Buccaneers quarterback got that record on a 28-yard completion to Mike Evans in the first quarter, there was a mixture of cheers and applause along with the jeers. Brady, 44, reached 80,359 yards through the air and then called a timeout before the next play — though no announcement had been made about setting the mark. That came during the timeout.
Succop’s first of four field goals came a few plays later — after Brady misfired on a couple of throws — and gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead. By halftime in a steady rain, Brady looked ordinary in the highly charged atmosphere, and defending champion Tampa Bay trailed 7-6. Brady was 15 for 27 for 182 yards, with a few pinpoint completions and just as many overthrows.
Despite soaring expectations and hype, this was no classic. Indeed, when Brady was sacked by Matt Judon in the second quarter, the crowd went wild.
Brady completed two passes on the Buccaneers’ first drive before they stalled and punted. He stoically headed to the sideline — on the opposite side of the field from where he usually settled as a Patriot — with little reaction to the fans’ jeers. It was that way most of the game.
He took the Bucs into scoring range on their next possession, however, surpassing the passing record of Drew Brees, too.
“A quarterback doesn’t throw and catch the ball,” he said with a smile. “Passing yards have to be caught. I hope everyone who caught passes from me will have a smile on their face.”
Brady now has beaten all 32 NFL teams, equaling an achievement by Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Brees.
During warmups, to chants of “BRADY, BRADY, BRADY!” in a half-filled Gillette Stadium, he knew exactly where he was, of course. He did his customary “Let’s Go,” fist pump after jogging the entire sideline. The crowd responded with its cheer as Brady hugged New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before heading to the other end of the field to warm up.
Belichick came out midway through pregame warmups, but did not approach Brady. They met after the game.
Earlier, there was a lengthy and seemingly warm embrace between Brady and Robert Kraft, with the quarterback towering over the Patriots owner outside the visitor’s locker room.
Brady, who left New England in 2020 after leading the Patriots to those six Super Bowl titles, then won another in his first season with Tampa Bay, even appeared comfortable heading to a dressing room he was totally unfamiliar with.
Not that anything should have seemed close to normal for the most anticipated match of the early NFL season. Brady’s mediocre first half in the wet conditions added to the unusual scene.
The final score was far more typical of Brady in New England.
Astros' Garcia to start Game 6 of ALCS against Red Sox – Sportsnet.ca
Garcia started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. Manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday that Garcia would get the ball for Game 6 and said the Astros are confident the problem is behind Garcia and he’ll be 100% healthy for Friday’s start.
The Astros fell behind 2-1 in the series after two big wins by the Red Sox. But they rode their powerful offence to consecutive victories in the last two games to take the series lead and move within a win of advancing to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.
The Astros won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in the 2019 World Series.
The Red Sox previously announced that Nathan Eovaldi would start Game 6. Eovaldi got the win in a solid Game 2 start but was charged with the loss in Game 4 after giving up the go-ahead runs after coming in with the game tied in the ninth.
The Astros got eight terrific innings from Framber Valdez in a 9-1 win in Game 5. The performance gave Houston’s taxed bullpen a much-needed break after relievers pitched 29 1/3 innings combined through the first four games.
Baker said Jake Odorizzi would be available for long relief Friday if needed. Odorizzi threw 82 pitches in four innings in Game 2 after taking over following the injury to Garcia.
Baker also said rookie center fielder Jake Meyers, who hasn’t played this series after injuring his shoulder in the final game of the ALDS, probably wouldn’t return to the lineup in this series. He said Meyers could pinch-run or pinch-hit but isn’t ready to return to the field. Fellow rookies Chas McCormick and rookie Jose Siri have filled in at center against the Red Sox.
Houston is without ace Lance McCullers Jr. for this series because of a flexor pronator muscle strain in his right arm. Baker said Thursday that McCullers still hasn’t resumed throwing, so it’s unclear if he would be available to return if the Astros were to advance.
If necessary, Game 7 would be Saturday night in Houston.
NFL Prop Picks For Browns vs. Broncos: Bet This Donovan Peoples-Jones Over/Under On Thursday Night Football – The Action Network
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Peoples-Jones #11 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown
Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite player prop for every primetime game throughout the 2021 season. He has a 428-326-6 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.
Broncos-Browns Prop Bet
Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions
Editor’s Note: Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is officially active, Browns player props are off the board at most books.
Peoples-Jones has been on fire over the past two weeks, posting lines of 5/70/0 & 4/101/2 against the Chargers and Cardinals, respectively. However, I believe it’s time to “sell high” on him as he’s due for some regression.
He’s caught a ridiculous 86.7% of his targets this season despite seeing an aDot of 15.7. Players with an aDot that high typically average a catch rate in the 57-60% range.
There are a few other reasons why my projections are lower for him compared to the market:
- Case Keenum is starting in place of Baker Mayfield tonight. Peoples-Jones has shown great chemistry with Mayfield over the past couple of games. The QB change seems like a setback for him.
- Weather could be a factor tonight. Steady winds of approximately 20 mph are expected with the possibility of some occasional rain. That would (in theory) negatively impact a high-aDot player like Peoples-Jones.
- Jarvis Landry is making his return from IR. He should be Keenum’s main target tonight, while the TE group should also see an increase in target share after a season-low five targets as a group last week. I also expect RB/WR Demetric Felton to have an expanded role tonight and he has been heavily targeted (37.5% of routes run) when on the field this season.
I’m projecting DPJ for 2.3 receptions tonight with a median projection of 31.5 receiving yards (market is currently at 38.5) — I’d give this under about a 60% chance of hitting. He’s the type of player who could clear his yardage prop on a couple of deep catches, so the safer play here is to take the under for his receptions, especially since we are getting + money. I would bet this down to -105.
Pick: Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions (+115) at BetMGM
Canadiens fans welcome Kotkaniemi back to Montreal with boos, vulgar chant – Yahoo Canada Sports
The Carolina Hurricanes were in Montreal on Thursday night to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, marking the return of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was at the centre of petty off-season drama after signing an offer sheet with the Canes.
In true hockey fashion, the Bell Centre crowd greeted the 21-year-old with boos and taunting chants.
The Canadiens acknowledged the former third-overall pick by displaying him on the jumbotron, which in turn sparked another wave of disapproval from the near-sellout crowd.
It was Kotkaniemi who got the last laugh, though, tipping in a goal in the third period for his first point with the Hurricanes — much to the delight of Hockey Twitter. Carolina ended up walking away with the 4-1 victory, keeping Montreal winless on the season.
The native of Pori, Finland appeared in 171 games for the Habs over three seasons, scoring 22 goals and notching 40 assists. He also registered 12 points in 29 playoff games, including five goals in Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
Carolina tendered an offer sheet to Kotkaniemi in late August, offering a one-year contract at $6.1 million. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin chose not to match, and Montreal received a first- and third-round pick as compensation.
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