Tom Brady finally made his long-awaited return to Foxborough during Sunday Night Football when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the New England Patriots in a thriller that came down to a missed field goal in the final minute of the game.
Although the Patriots failed to get their revenge on Brady for leaving them in the dust to win a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers, the game was still chock full of excitement as Brady took on Belichick's new protege, rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
So in the biggest regular-season game of the year, which quarterback performed better?
Did Mac Jones keep the pace with Tom Brady?
Surprisingly enough, even with the Patriots currently holding a 1-3 record, they gave the Buccaneers an almighty scare all night long.
Mac Jones played like a seasoned veteran and also threw 19 straight completions at one point during the 3rd and 4th quarter. Jones looked poised and in control of his offense, often throwing darts at receivers in traffic.
His play was on par with what Brady would have done in that situation. Although Jones was sacked four times, he still had an impressive showing. He threw for 275 yards on 40 attempts with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. His passer rating was a very respectable 101.6.
Conversely, Brady threw for 269 yards on 43 attempts. His 22 completions on those attempts were good for a 70.8 passer rating.
Just by numbers alone, Mac Jones beat out Tom Brady.
This game was one of defensive stature. Both the Patriots and Buccaneers defenses were responsible for stopping redzone drives that resulted in six field goals.
Patriots kicker Nick Folk attempted to win the game with a 56-yard field goal, but his kick hit the left upright pole off the goal post, crushing their hopes of winning the game.
Folk had previously scored 36 straight field goals before last night's kick, one that he will likely not live down for quite some time.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady embraced one another at the end of the game, but their body language contained some meaningful information. Belichick and Brady hugged very quickly in a show of sportsmanship. The awkward exchange was seemingly handled in a post-game conversation.
Regardless of how Belichick might feel about Brady having left his side after 20 years, Brady was still the primary reason Belichick now proudly boasts six Super Bowl rings.
Belichick can sleep a lot easier knowing that his quarterback situation is in good hands for the future. Although the 1-3 record isn't ideal for the Patriots, Mac Jones still looks as capable as ever in his performances last night and throughout this season so far.
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In his current game, Jones is a middle-of-the-pack type quarterback, but this is his rookie season. He will have no issues fine-tuning his game for the future ahead. The Patriots will need to build more weaponry for the young QB, but he has what it takes to battle the likes of Tom Brady.
Q. Can Mac Jones replicate Tom Brady at the Patriots?