Dan Anderson Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Bree after the game.

Brady and the Patriots bounce back with a vengeance

The Super Bowl champion bounced back from a season-opening defeat with a 36-20 rout of the Saints in New Orleans tonight.

THE NEW ENGLAND Patriots’ early-season struggles didn’t last long.

Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 302 of his 447 passing yards in a 30-point first-half burst and the Super Bowl champion Patriots bounced back from a season-opening defeat with a 36-20 rout of the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday.

Brady, who had completed just 16 passes in a 42-27 loss to Kansas City last week, connected on 19 of 25 with three touchdowns in the first half alone.

It was the first time in the 40-year-old superstar’s career that he completed three TD passes in the first quarter.

Brady hit Rex Burkhead for a 19-yard TD, connected with Rob Gronkowski on a 53-yard score and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan.

The Patriots led 30-13 at halftime and handed a Saints team led by prolific quarterback Drew Brees their second defeat in as many games this season.

The Patriots finished with 555 yards in total offense and averaged 7.7 yards per play.

It wasn’t all good news for New England.

Gronkowski, limited to eight games last season because of injury, appeared to have shaken off the rust as he caught six passes for 116 yards, but he departed the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent groin injury.

Hogan was limping in the second half and receiver Phillip Dorsett left late with a knee injury.

The Patriots’ final three scoring drives ended infield goals by Stephen Gostkowski.

Coming off their big season-opening win over the Patriots, the Chiefs got off to a slow start but came alive in the second half for a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kareem Hunt got loose for a 53-yard touchdown run with 1:20 left in the third quarter to put the Chiefs up 13-10.

Philadelphia tied the game with 11:57 seconds left in the fourth quarters with a 40-yard field goal from rookie Jake Elliott.

But the Chiefs took the lead for good with a 15-yard TD pass from Alex Smith to tight end Travis Kelce before Hunt plunged over for another touchdown from two yards out.

The Chiefs’ six sacks of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz included three by defensive lineman Chris Jones.

Among other early results, the Arizona Cardinals erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to post a 16-13 overtime victory over the Colts in Indianapolis.

Phil Dawson, who missed a potential game-winning field goal from 42 yards on the final play of regulation, booted a 30-yard field goal with 8:02 left in the extra period to win it.

He got the chance after Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett at the Indianapolis 22 yard line on the first play of overtime.

In Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers parlayed ferocious defense and three field goals from Graham Gano into a 9-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

The Pittsburgh Steelers notched their second win of the season, a 26-9 triumph over a Minnesota Vikings team with reserve quarterback Case Keenum at the helm. Keenum was standing in for Sam Bradford, who was ruled out with swelling in one knee.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, both in the first half.

– © AFP 2017

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