CLEVELAND -- The New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick have a simple philosophy when it comes to the game of football, and that is, “Do your job!”
And do his job Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did in a 33-13 win over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday, which served as his return from a four-game, league-mandated suspension after allegedly deflating footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts two years ago.
In his return to action, Brady completed 28 of his 40 throws for 406 yards with three touchdowns on the way to the 20-point win for the Patriots (4-1) over the Browns (0-5). It marked the eighth time in his 17-year career that Brady threw for 400 yards in a game, and all three of those touchdown passes went to tight end Martellus Bennett.
“I was trying to focus on my job and what I had to do,” Brady said. “It felt like a normal week for me once I got into it. It’s fun to come out and play and come out and win.
“This isn’t the time for me to reflect. I’m just happy we won and I’m happy when we win anytime we play. I have a job to do and there is no point in looking back at anything, whether we won Super Bowls or lost championship games. The last four weeks, none of it matters.”
Two of Brady’s targets, wide receiver Chris Hogan and tight end Rob Gronkowski, eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Despite being evaluated for a concussion early in the second half, Hogan turned four catches into 114 yards, while Gronkowski tallied 109 yards.
“I think there was plenty of rust out there,” Brady said. “I could do better in a lot of areas. I think it was a good win. It was one game, and like I said, 4-1 is a good point to be at for us. We have a long road ahead, so we have to stay focused.”
Several times throughout the game, Patriots fans at FirstEnergy Stadium drowned out the noise from Browns fans and started chants in support of Brady.
After a month away from the game he has played professionally for 17 years, Brady appreciated the cheers, and looks forward to the remainder of the season, starting with Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We have amazing fans and so much support,” Brady said. “For a long time, we’ve been at rallies where there are millions of people, training camp where there are 27,000 people at practices. I think we have the best fans in the world. They showed up and it was great to hear them. Hopefully, they’ll be with us for the rest of the year.
“I want to do the best job I can for the city, for all of New England and for my team base and my family. With all of these players, you put a lot into it, and there’s a lot that goes in. You have to make certain choices in your life in order to play this game. You need a lot of support from your family and friends to do that.
“I love running out in front of 70,000 people that are cheering for us. I love running out to 20,000 fans that are cheering for us and 50,000 are against us. We’re just going to run out and play. If I have a chance to run out and play, I’m going to do it.”