FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — He re-entered Gillette Stadium a few spirals shy of the NFL’s career passing yardage record. The prevailing hope was, Foxborough’s favorite son would slap a bow on this subplot by the second or third commercial break.
Tom Brady obliged, with a 28-yard toss over the middle to Mike Evans late in the first quarter. On a rainy autumn New England night, the lanky icon who spent two decades delivering in this yard did so again.
That completion gave Brady 80,359 yards for his 21-plus seasons, eclipsing the NFL regular season mark owned by Drew Brees (80,358). He finished 22-of-43 for 269 yards in the tense 19-17 victory, giving him 80,560 by night’s end.
“I’m a firm believer that records are meant to be broken,” Brees, spotted chatting briefly with Brady before the game in the bowels of the stadium, said on a media teleconference earlier in the week.
“And I can’t think of a guy who has invested more into his career, into his preparation and kind of what he’s meant for the game. It’s definitely a special record because it speaks to the longevity that he’s been able to experience and the level that he’s been able to play at.”
The Bucs called a coincidental timeout after the play, but action wasn’t halted otherwise. As the timeout ended, a brief acknowledgement of the feat flashed on the stadium video screens, eliciting a cheer from the audience of more than 65,000.
“I just think it’s an amazing statistic in that so many people can share it with me,” Brady said afterward.
“A quarterback doesn’t throw and catch, a quarterback can just throw it. Passing yards have to be caught, so I just hope that everybody who caught passes from me over the years just had a little smile on their face tonight, just knowing that they contributed to a very cool record.”
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
• • •
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.