New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady showed no ill effects of a sprained knee suffered earlier this week, carving up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-team defense in a 25-21 preseason win Friday in Foxborough.
Brady was near-perfect, completing 11 of 12 passes for 107 passing yards and a touchdown to wide receiver Danny Amendola, while the Patriots defense pressured Josh Freeman heavily, sacking the Bucs quarterback three times.
Amendola caught 6 of 7 targets for 71 yards receiving and a touchdown. It came on a 26-yard deep pass over the middle from Brady, putting the Pats up 7-0. Brady opted to go for two after the play, with tight end Zach Sudfeld making the catch.
Sudfeld, an undrafted free agent rookie out of Nevada, caught 2 passes for 32 receiving yards and a touchdown — a 22-yard throw from Ryan Mallett.
Mallett stepped in to relieve Brady after two offensive series, with the Patriots backup completing 11 of 20 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s first-unit offense struggled in the absence of Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks, who was scheduled to make his preseason debut but was scratched, and Davin Joseph, who continues to rehabilitate a knee injury from last year.
Freeman never saw daylight, with a sea of navy-blue in his face all night long. He completed 2 of 3 passes for 8 yards passing, zero touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Second-year running back Doug Martin left the game in the first quarter with a head injury. Coming out of the backfield, Martin lowered his body to cut defensive end Chandler Jones in pass protection, taking a knee to the helmet. He did not return to action.
On that very same drive, Jones sacked Freeman for a 4-yard loss, helping lead a Patriots’ pass rush that finished the night with four quarterback takedowns, including two from former Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes.
On the first play of Tampa Bay’s opening possession, Spikes took advantage of a miscue between Freeman and Martin in which the two collided. Then on third-and-10 of the Bucs’ second possession, Spikes sacked Freeman for a 7-yard loss.
In the absence of Martin and Brian Leonard, who did not suit up, Mike James and Peyton Hillis both saw a heavy workload.
James, a sixth-round draft pick out of Miami, rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries. He caught three passes for 23 yards receiving.
Hillis, who suffered a hyperextended knee in last week’s game but made a quick recovery, had 73 rushing yards on 18 touches.
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon completed 12 of 22 passes for 121 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Glennon’s first touchdown came in the second quarter on a 13-yard strike to Kevin Ogletree, who found a crease up the middle between cornerbacks Marquice Cole and Logan Ryan.
In the fourth quarter, Glennon found wide receiver David Douglas in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown, set up by a fourth-down holding call on safety Tavon Wilson.
The Bucs opted to go for the two-point conversion after, with James rushing it up the gut.
In the fourth quarter with 11:27 remaining, cornerback Mason Robinson picked off Patriots third-string quarterback Tim Tebow, returning it 21 yards to the New England 29. Kicker Derek Dimke capped things off with a 23-yard field goal.
Dimke made both field goal attempts (that’s five this preseason) and his PAT.
Glennon’s interception — a 53-yard pick-6 by rookie linebacker Logan Ryan — came on third-and-4 on a short pass intended for Derek Hagan.
Second-year running back Michael Smith had a 63-yard kickoff return in the first quarter.
For the second-straight game, the Buccaneer defensive line failed to register any sacks.
Rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence recorded a tackle for a loss on Shane Vereen on the Patriots’ opening drive.