The NFL's record archivists were kept busy Sunday night as a number of entries needed to be updated, the most notable being all-time career passing yards, a record that now belongs to Tom Brady, who cemented his place in football lore at the expense of his former team and in a stadium he had called home for 20 years.
Brady became the NFL's all-time leading passer and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squeezed past the Patriots 19-17 as New England's favorite son made an emotional return to Foxborough on Sunday night.
Brady was facing his former team for the first time after two decades of dominance in New England which resulted in six Super Bowl championships.
"I am not tearing up," the 44-year-old quarterback said. "I already went through all that. It was my home for 20 years. I have the best memories."
Brady struggled in the rainy conditions much of the evening. He was booed – often.
Being Brady, he also won.
Brady took Tampa Bay on a 45-yard drive aided by a 31-yard pass interference penalty and Ryan Succop made a 48-yard field goal for a 19-17 victory. While most of the game was not a classic for the 44-year-old quarterback, the march to victory seemed fitting in a place Brady has won 135 of 158 games.
“That was pretty cool,” Brady said. “It’s been my home for 20 years. I have the best memories. My kids were born here. It’s just a great town, a great city, a great area. I love it up here. I have so many people I have relationships with, but this was about this team coming up here to win. This wasn’t about one player. This was about our entire team going on the road beating a good team.”
Brady entered the contest needing 68 yards to pass the recently retired Drew Brees. He now has 80,560 total yards compared to Brees' 80,358.
Brady became the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards after completing a 28-yard throw to teammate Mike Evans in the first quarter to pass Brees by 1 yard.
“It's is pretty cool. Nothing in this sports can be accomplished without incredible teammates ... A quarterback doesn't throw and catch the ball,” he said with a smile. “Passing yards have to be caught. I hope everyone who caught passes from me will have a smile on their face.”
Brady now has beaten all 32 NFL teams, equaling an achievement by Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Brees.
He completed 22 of 43 passes for 269 yards against the Patriots and threw no interceptions in the see-saw contest. He got a lot of help from his supporting cast, including running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 91 yards, and kicker Ryan Succop, who booted four field goals.
Brady said earlier in the week that he was in no mood for a stroll down memory lane, but he was able to have a little bit of fun at his father's expense. He also admitted after the game that has been an emotional ride.
"I was just trying to keep my poise," said Brady. "We did get a win on the road. It is a good win here in Foxborough."
Patriots fans clamored for tickets to Sunday's game, splurging up to $13,000 for the chance to pay tribute to Brady, who never had the chance to say his goodbyes.
The Patriots honored Brady with a one-minute video of his highlights before the game. He took the field in the warmup to chants of "Brady! Brady! Brady!" that filled the stadium.
There was a mixture of cheers and jeers from the rain-soaked crowd of 65,800 when he came on for the Buccaneers' first offensive drive of the opening quarter.
The response was more low-key when he set the all-time passing record with six minutes to go in the first quarter. The Patriots chose to not stop the game and honor Brady as play continued as if it was a normal 28-yard pass and run.
Succop kicked a 48-yard field goal with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to make it 19-17.
Nick Folk had a chance to give the Patriots the lead but his 56-yard field goal attempt clanked off the left upright with 55 seconds remaining and sailed harmlessly away. That allowed Brady to just run the clock down to the final buzzer.
Elsewhere, Patrick Mahomes tossed five touchdown passes and Kansas City defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-30 to give Andy Reid his 100th victory as head coach of the Chiefs.
Mahomes completed 24 of 30 passes for 278 yards as the Chiefs improved to 2-2 on the season.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire caught a touchdown pass and ran for 102 yards while Tyreek Hill had 11 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Reid, who guided the Chiefs to a Super Bowl appearance last season, is the first coach in NFL history to win at least 100 games for two different teams and Sunday was a record-setting homecoming for him.
Reid won 140 games, counting playoffs, for the Eagles as their coach from 1999 through 2012. He then shifted to Kansas City, where his record is 100-45 in just over eight seasons.
Reid was hospitalized after last week's game against the Los Angeles Chargers after becoming ill following the loss.
He was treated and released after spending one night in the hospital and there was some question whether he had recovered enough to coach against his former team.
Asked if coming back to Philadelphia made him emotional, the normally unflappable Reid said: "I'm pretty good. You want me to cry up here?"
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