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Tom Brady Shines in Patriots' Win over Saints, Rob Gronkowski Injures Groin

Tom Brady Shines in Patriots' Win over Saints, Rob Gronkowski Injures Groin

Sunday September 17th, 2017 - New England Patriots Tickets

Message to the NFL: The New England Patriots are still the New England Patriots.

Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter and Rob Gronkowski had over 100 yards receiving as the Patriots earned a 36-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Brady threw for 447 yards and showed none of the rust he had in Week 1 despite being without underneath favorites Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. He completed 30 of his 39 passes, and running backs James White and Rex Burkhead became his new targets on intermediate throws. Brady's three first-quarter scores marked the first time he'd done that in his career.

Gronkowski, Burkhead and Chris Hogan hauled in a touchdown apiece from Brady. Gronkowski's was the 69th of his career, which led to the requisite #niceties:

Gronkowski finished with 116 yards on six receptions. Suffice it to say the handwringing after his less-than-stellar season debut against the Kansas City Chiefs was a little overblown. Of course, that's all dependent on health. The oft-injured tight end left in the third quarter with a groin injury.

Burkhead also left the game with a rib injury and did not return.

Mike Gillislee continued his strong start to his Patriots career, rushing for 69 yards and a score on 18 attempts. The former Buffalo Bill has scored four times through his first two games in New England, and it appears he's established himself in the role formerly held by LeGarrette Blount.

Even more promising was the performance by the Patriots defense, which looked shellshocked as the Chiefs beat it continually over the top last week. Drew Brees—who has yet to throw an interception this season in 82 attempts—met his standard with 356 yards and two touchdowns, but much of that came after the Patriots had built a multiscore lead. Nine different New Orleans players caught at least one pass as New England employed a bend-but-don't-break philosophy.

For the second straight contest, the Saints' three-headed rushing attack mounted little headway. Adrian Peterson avoided another sideline outburst but finished with just 26 yards on eight carries. Mark Ingram finished with the most touches (12) and total yards (76) in the group, and Alvin Kamara had three receptions for 51 yards. Through two games, Peterson has looked much more like a 32-year-old running back than a future Hall of Famer.

Kamara's 38-yard catch was part of a second-quarter touchdown drive that helped New Orleans cut a 17-point deficit to 20-10.

But the Saints got no closer than 20-13 and are 0-2 for the fourth straight season. They began the 2015 and 2016 campaigns 0-3 and haven't made the playoffs since 2013.

The Patriots, who last week lost their regular-season opener for the first time since 2014, have not started 0-2 since 2001.

 

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