by Nicole Belair, Staff Writer
Week eleven was a nostalgic one for Tom Brady, as he finally played in his hometown after seventeen years in the NFL.
The Patriots traveled across the country to face the 49ers on Nov. 20, and got the victory with a final score of 30-17. Brady grew up only forty minutes from San Francisco, and attended 49ers games regularly as a kid.
But, it wasn’t until recently that he had the chance to play his childhood team. Though it wasn’t at Candlestick Park where he used to attend 49ers games, Brady has now defeated the team he grew up watching. After the 49ers chose Giovanni Carmazzi over Brady in the 2000 draft, he and his family went from die-hard 49ers to cheering on the Patriots.
Brady threw for 280 yards and completed twenty-four of his forty passes, throwing for four touchdowns. Just five minutes into the first quarter, Julian Edelman caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Brady for the first score of the game.
Edelman broke away from 49ers cornerback, Keith Reaser, and received the pass in the corner, barely keeping two feet inbounds. The touchdown only put the Patriots ahead by six points after Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point. The rest of the quarter was uneventful scoring-wise until the last three minutes, when 49ers kicker, Phil Dawson, made a 33-yard field goal.
The Patriots kicked off the second quarter with another touchdown. This time, Brady threw another short touchdown pass, hitting James White for a 9-yard touchdown. Gostkowski’s kick was good for the extra point.
The 49ers responded late in the half, when Colin Kaepernick threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald, and Phil Dawson kicked the extra point.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when the scoring picked up again. Brady found Danny Amendola for a 5-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter. Brady then hit Malcom Mitchell four minutes later on a 56-yard score for his fourth touchdown pass of the game.
With six minutes remaining, Gostkowski made a 38-yard field goal for the Patriots, putting them 20 points head of the San Francisco. 49ers running back, Shaun Draughn, caught a 13-yard pass from Kaepernick late in the quarter. But with only two minutes to go, there was not enough time for San Francisco to come back and beat the visitors.
On Nov. 27, the Patriots traveled to New Jersey to face their AFC East rivals, the New York Jets. It was a close game, but New England was able to push past the Jets late in the fourth quarter with a final score of 22-17.
Patriots fans were relieved to hear early on Sunday that both Brady and Rob Gronkowski were confirmed to play, despite their respective injuries.
Both players were considered questionable all week. Gronkowski has missed the last two games following a reported punctured lung that he suffered against the Seattle Seahawks. Brady missed practice last week due to a knee injury; though he was not considered 100 percent recovered for Sunday’s game, he was set to play through it. It’s a good thing he did.
Brady has officially tied Peyton Manning for the most wins by a quarterback in NFL history. Brady got his two-hundredth win by throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell with 1:56 left in the game, leading New England to a 22-17 victory.
The Jets got the scoring going early, though, establishing a 3-point lead with a 51-yard field goal by Nick Folk at 10:29. It was clear throughout the first quarter that Brady’s knee was limiting him, as he only completed one pass out of five for nine yards. He was also unable to complete either of the deep passes he made in the first quarter.
With 4:42 remaining in the first, Gronkowski walked to the locker room with members of the Patriots’ training staff. By the start of the second quarter, the Patriots announced that Gronkowski was questionable to return with a back injury.
Early in the second quarter, the Jets led by two scores, as Brandon Marshall received a 1-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Gostkowski kicked a 28-yard field goal a few minutes later and the Patriots finally got on the board. With 6:29 remaining in the half, Brady found Malcolm Mitchell for a 4-yard pass to the end zone, tying the game at 10.
Gostkowski earned the only points in the third quarter when he kicked a field goal from the 41-yard line. The Patriots held the lead, but the score was too close for comfort.
Five minutes into the final quarter, Jets’ Quincy Enunwa completed a 22-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick, putting New York ahead by four points. New England responded with another 41-yard field goal, closing in on the Jets’ lead. The Patriots were getting discouraged, until Brady miraculously found Mitchell for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 1:56 left. Despite a failed two-point pass from Brady, the Patriots held on to a 22-17 lead.
The Patriots will be back home at Gillette Stadium on Sunday to take on the Los Angeles Rams at 1 p.m.