FOXBORO — Tom Brady’s knee passed its first big test, his arm was as good as ever and his brain impressed his new top wide receiver.
“Tom’s like a coach out there on the field,” Danny Amendola said. “He knows every intricacy of the offense.”
Brady completed his first 11 passes, six of them to Amendola, then missed on his last one in the New England Patriots’ 25-21 exhibition win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night.
Just two days earlier, it seemed as if Brady might not play in the game — or in several of them — when he departed practice with a left knee injury. But an MRI was negative and it turned out to be just a sprain.
“We’re so far past that,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of the injury. “We’re way beyond that.”
Here are five things we learned from the Patriots’ victory over the Buccaneers:
1. BRADY STILL HAS IT: The two-time league MVP completed 11 of 12 passes for 107 yards just 13 days after his 36th birthday. He connected on all eight of his passes in his first series against Tampa Bay’s first-string defense, capped by a 26-yard touchdown to Amendola. Then he tossed a 2-point conversion to rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld.
He completed three more passes on his other series then failed on a third-down throw to Amendola. It was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect night.
“When you watch the way that guy practices, his being 11 for 11 doesn’t surprise me,” Bucs defensive end Da’Quan Bowers said. “He likes to get things done the right way.”
Brady left without talking to waiting reporters.
2. TEBOW STILL DOESN’T HAVE IT: Patriots third-string quarterback Tim Tebow had a bad throwing night, completing just one of seven passes. He would have gained more yards passing if they were all incomplete since the one that was caught resulted in a 1-yard loss.