Sunday, September 26, 2010 Updated: September 27, 9:39 AM ET
Brady, Pats keep fans in their seats
By Chris Forsberg ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If the energy level of the crowd at Gillette Stadium is concerning to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, he learned Sunday there's an easy solution to that problem: Give them something to cheer about.
Brady rebounded from a lackluster second-half effort last week against the Jets by completing 21 of 27 passes for 252 yards Sunday with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-30 triumph over the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots scored on six of their first 10 drives, registering three touchdowns on their first four possessions of the second half just one week after Brady and Co. sputtered while allowing the Jets to rally from behind in New York.
"I thought [the crowd was] great, I really did," Brady said. "I thought they were into it. They were really loud. That's a great advantage for us when the crowd is loud.''
While preparing for that Meadowlands visit, Brady drew headlines after expressing displeasure in an early-departing crowd during the team's Week 1 rout of the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.
"I thought [the crowd Sunday was] great, I really did," Brady said after the Bills game. "I thought they were into it. They were really loud. That's a great advantage for us when the crowd is loud. I think they were really into it. There was some musket fire today, so that got it pretty loud."
Indeed, five touchdowns for the home team made for a lively crowd. So did defensive struggles that kept the game close until the final moments. But Brady and the offense negated those defensive difficulties by putting up 38 points for the second time in three weeks.
"As a quarterback, that's a big responsibility that you have; You've got to be consistent," said Brady. "You've got to always be prepared and always into the game. There's no practices off. You [have to] bring the enthusiasm or the energy, something I always try to do."
Despite a run-heavy game plan that generated 200 yards on the ground, Brady connected with wide receiver Randy Moss on a pair of touchdown tosses and threw another to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Yet, no play fired up the crowd more than when the not-so-fleet-of-foot Brady tucked the ball in for a 9-yard scramble and a first-down conversion that helped set up his final touchdown toss in the third quarter.
After sliding, Brady popped up and gave an emphatic fist pump as the crowd roared.
"I was just excited," said Brady. "I'm the slowest guy on the field, so it was probably the last thing they worked on. But I got out and there was nobody there. It was actually a pretty easy first down. They were in man coverage, and I got flushed a little. It turned out to be a good play for us."
Rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez said the offense typically feeds off of a more collected Brady.
"[Brady] just has this good composure and keeps everything calm and doesn't let people panic," he said. "Everyone follows his role. When he's calm, everyone else is calm."
Brady and the offense seemed to find an initial spark late in the first half. Buffalo kicked a field goal with 28 seconds to go in the half to take a 16-14 advantage. Instead of playing it safe, Brady hit Brandon Tate for 29 yards and Aaron Hernandez for 13 more to set up a 43-yard field goal that sent the Patriots into halftime on top, 17-16.
The Patriots stuck with the no-huddle offense coming out of the intermission and put together a five-play, 74-yard scoring trek that culminated with a 35-yard touchdown toss to Moss. Brady connected on 4 of 5 passes in a drive that spanned only 1:49.
Some fans headed toward the aisles after a touchdown run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis put the Patriots out front, 38-23, with 8:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Buffalo made things interesting again.
Despite the strong second-half showing, Brady acknowledged that there's room for improvement with the offense.
"Even with 21 points, it was good but we are still realizing that if we make errors out there, we aren't going to score points," said Brady. "You can't keep overcoming second-and-20s or second-and-30s. If we make mistakes, you're not going to score touchdowns on a consistent basis. ... We had three good touchdown drives in there. Hopefully, there's more where that came from."
Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com and occasionally reports on the Patriots.