Tom Brady finds rhythm late before exiting after two quarters

ByMike Reiss ESPN logo
Friday, September 2, 2016

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady played the entire first half of the team's preseason finale against the New York Giants on Thursday night, totaling 39 offensive snaps and going 16-of-26 for 166 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Brady's final snap of the half was a kneel-down at the end of the second quarter, and barring an unexpected return later in the game, it marked his last action until his return from a four-game suspension for Deflategate on Oct. 9 against the Cleveland Browns.

The suspension begins Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

On Thursday, Brady started slowly, completing just one of his first five passes, before finding more of his rhythm. One clear point of emphasis was having him play with receivers Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman, as well as tight end Martellus Bennett. Those players were all on the field for the first 14 snaps of the game as the Patriots favored a pass-heavy plan.

This marked just the third preseason finale in which Brady has played quarterback snaps since 2004, as he's usually kept out of the game in preparation for the regular season.

This year is obviously different, and that's why Jimmy Garoppolo, who will start the regular-season opener Sept. 11 at the Arizona Cardinals, was kept on the sidelines Thursday.