The Associated PressFOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — On a night when he reached 500 career touchdown passes, Tom Brady welcomed back a buddy with one of his three scoring tosses Thursday, then connected with a newcomer who could help him reach more milestones.
Brady also sneaked in for a rushing touchdown and the New England Patriots put together their second straight win after a mediocre start to the season, beating Indianapolis 38-24.
Brady’s 500th went to Josh Gordon, recently acquired from Cleveland, where he basically was unavailable through NFL suspensions for all but five games over the past three seasons. But, as he often does, Brady spread the wealth, hitting running back James White 10 times for 77 yards, and greeting the return of buddy Julian Edelman by completing seven for 57 yards to him.
“We wanted to get him the ball and he made some great plays,” Brady said about Edelman. “Just good to have him out there. We all want it to be perfect when we go out and it was great to have him out there ... healthy and having fun.”
As for 500 TD passes, third on the career list behind Peyton Manning (539) and Brett Favre (508), Brady called it a collective mark.
“I think all these things like that, milestones, there are so many people that contribute, all the people that have really worked hard,” he said. “A quarterback doesn’t throw to himself.
“These are all great team awards, pretty cool.”
The five-time NFL champion also tied Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, a former teammate, for most victories with 226. Brady finished 34 for 44 for 341 yards.
As everyone in Gillette Stadium except, apparently, the Colts knew, Brady started off with a pass to Edelman, who was wide open for 9 yards. That drew the first of many loud cheers for the 10th-year veteran receiver in his first game since the 2017 preseason, when he tore up a knee. Edelman was suspended for the first four games this year for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancers.
“During the rehab you are just sitting there and waiting to get back on the field,” Edelman said. “It felt great to be out there with the guys.”
That was the first of three receptions for 28 yards for Edelman on the opening 75-yard touchdown drive Brady capped with a 1-yard toss to Cordarrelle Patterson .
From there, even though the Colts (1-4) had a drive deep into New England (3-2) territory, usually reliable Adam Vinatieri missed a 38-yard field goal.
Luck did extend his string of games with a touchdown pass by hitting Eric Ebron on a 14-yarder in the third quarter. Showing a strong arm all night — remember, Luck missed all of 2017 with shoulder issues — he has a TD throw in 28 successive games, tops of any current quarterback.
“We’re not going to win consistently until we learn how to get out of our own way,” Luck said. “That’s not taking anything away from New England. They were the better team today. Anybody who watched it or played in it knows it. It was self-evident.”