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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Bucs outlast Pats in Brady’s emotional return

Jamie Taris
The view from the upper deck of Gillette Stadium for the Patriots Sunday night loss to the Buccaneers

For 20 years, Tom Brady commanded the most unprecedented dynasty in NFL history, spoiling Patriots fans with six Super Bowl titles. His departure for Tampa Bay on March 20, 2020 was an emotional day for New England, but it wasn’t as emotional as Sunday night: the night he made his return. 

Brady was welcomed back with open arms by the Foxboro faithful. It was an emotional moment for everyone at Gillette Stadium as a video montage played on the jumbotrons and Brady led his Buccaneers out of the opposing tunnel. 

“It was a crazy emotional feeling,” said Suffolk senior Haik Semerdjian, who was in attendance at the game. “When he came out through the tunnel he did his fist pump after his run and that got the crowd going and I was like, ‘Damn, I really hate this so much.’”

“It was pretty emotional for me,” said Patriots fan Jesse Tocars. “I really thought it was gonna be like just another game, but to see him come out on that field in a whole different uniform was sad.”

As Brady took the field, the crowd chanted “BRA-DY! BRA-DY! BRA-DY,” the familiar chant showing the love that the fans still have for the quarterback.

Despite the warm welcome, the energy in the stadium flipped upon kickoff. Brady received a rain of boos as he took the field for his first drive against his former team. In that moment it was evident the fans still wanted the Patriots to kick his butt. 

“For a lot of Patriots fans it was like ‘We love Brady, but the second he plays against the Patriots, we don’t care who he is. We want the Pats to win,’” said Semerdjian. 

Even though Brady’s Bucs are known for their high-powered offense, the Patriots were able to keep them in check and make the game a defensive battle. The first points didn’t come until the final five minutes of the first quarter, where Tampa was able to manage a field goal. This came on the drive where Brady became the all-time leader in passing yards, surpassing Drew Brees, who was in attendance at the game. 

A couple drives later the Patriot offense went to work. Mac Jones engineered a 74-yard drive that was capped off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry. The Patriots took a 7-3 lead about halfway through the second quarter. 

The Buccaneers were able to kick a field goal right before halftime, but the Patriots held onto a 7-6 lead that lasted until the end of the third quarter.

With three and a half minutes to go in the third quarter, the Buccaneers got into the endzone for the first time to take a 13-7 lead. The Patriots bounced right back, as Jones led the offense down the field and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Jonnu Smith to reclaim the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter. 

For the rest of the fourth quarter the teams traded field goals. With the Patriots receiving the ball with 1:57 to go, the Bucs held a 19-17 lead. It was Mac Jones’ time to have his Brady-esque moment.

Jones led the Patriots to the Tampa Bay 37 yard-line, where he eventually faced a 4th and three. Despite Jones’s solid performance that night, Patriots coach Bill Belichick elected to pull the offense and send out kicker Nick Folk for a 56-yard field goal attempt. Although the kick had the distance, the ball bounced off the upright and was no good, giving Brady the win over Belichick and the Patriots.

“I think another three yards [and Folk would’ve made the kick] because it wrapped right at the last second,” said Semerdjian.

Although the game didn’t go how fans were hoping, the grit the Patriots showed was refreshing to fans, as the team has struggled with consistency in the early weeks of the season.

“It was a tough game, but they fought hard and I’m happy with how they played,” said Joshua, a season ticket holder of 20 years who was in attendance.

Mac Jones’ performance was also extremely encouraging. Jones outplayed Brady, racking up more passing yards, touchdowns, and having a better completion percentage. 

“This was definitely a confidence booster for Mac Jones,” said Patriots fan Jenna Witrell.

While most fans left as soon as the game was over, many continued to brave the rain to watch Brady greet members of the Patriots and do an interview for Sunday Night Football. As the interview concluded and he stood at midfield giving one final wave, the remaining fans in the stands erupted into one more round of Brady chants. Then he walked down the tunnel of Gillette Stadium for what is likely the final time of his career.

Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieTaris

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About the Contributor
Jamie Taris, Managing Editor | he/him
Jamie is a senior broadcast journalism major and public relations minor from Pelham, New Hampshire. He has a deep passion for sports, especially hockey and football, and hopes to make his way into the sports media field after graduation. Outside of the Journal, Jamie is very involved with Suffolk's orientation department, and he's a member of Suffolk's Program Council. When he's not obsessing over the latest sports news, you can usually find Jamie hiking or camping in the White Mountains, or exploring the city with his friends. Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieTaris

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Bucs outlast Pats in Brady’s emotional return