CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP)- Tom Brady could prompt every NFL head coach to bench their starting quarterback for the first four games of the season.
Fresh off a four-game suspension for his involvement in “Deflategate,” Brady connected on his first three passes while engineering a touchdown drive on his opening possession in the New England Patriots’ 33-13 rout of winless Cleveland. The two-time NFL Most Valuable Player completed 28 of his 40 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
Brady said afterward that there was definite rust in his game following a five-week layoff. However, his numbers would have been gaudier if his receivers hadn’t dropped three passes, or if he hadn’t been pulled with six minutes left and the Pats up by 17.
Tight end Martellus Bennett grabbed the three TD passes, Chris Hogan had four receptions for 114 yards and Rob Gronkowski caught five passes for 109 yards.
Meanwhile, the Browns lost yet another starting quarterback to injury. Cody Kessler was knocked out in the first half with rib and chest injuries, making Charlie Whitehurst the fifth QB to take a snap for Cleveland in five games.
The Patriots are 4-1 after bouncing back from last Sunday’s 16-0 loss to Buffalo. The Browns are 0-5.