FOXBOROUGH, Mass. Sporting Alert — Tom Brady bounced back from a difficult offseason to help the New England Patriots opened the 2015 NFL season with a 28-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.
Brady finished with 25 of 32 for 288 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Rob Gronkowski, in the dominating victory to start the defense of their Super Bowl title.
All eyes were on the veteran quarterback to see how he would have responded to the off the field situations, and the 38-year-old was very impressive, despite playing without several of his supporting cast, such as center Bryan Stork, who missed out because of a concussion, wide receiver Brandon LaFell (foot) and running back LeGarrette Blount, who was suspended.
“It was a good win,” said Brady. “It’s always fun being out there and getting an opportunity to go play.”
“It was a pretty special night,” he added. “I was excited. Our whole team was excited. We haven’t had one of these games in a long time.”
Tight end Gronkowski also had a superb night for the Patriots after taking five catches on eight targets for 94 yards for his three touchdowns.
Still, he insists the night certainly belong to the team leader, Brady.
“Everything he’s been going through all offseason, he just came out, and he was on fire,” Gronkowski said.
“I don’t know his stats or anything, but he was hitting all of the open guys, reading the defense well, calling the right plays. He’s just unreal.”
Julian Edelman caught 11 of his 12 targets for 97 yards, while Dion Lewis impressed the coaching staff with his performance and took four catches for 51 yards for New England, which tallied 361 yards from 58 plays.
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger went 26 of 38 for 351 yards and one touchdown with an interception for the Steelers, who played without running back Le’Veon Bell and receiver Martavis Bryant, who were both suspended, as well as without injured center Maurkice Pouncey.
Antonio Brown had nine catches for 133 yards and a touchdown, and DeAngelo Williams rushed for 127 yards in the defeat for the Steelers, who host the San Francisco 49ers in their next fixture on Sep. 20.
Brady and Patriots will travel to face the Buffalo Bills in their next NFL fixture.