Cloudy
67°
Cloudy
Hi 72° | Lo 56°
New England Patriots

Brady clicks with rookies; Patriots beat Bucs, 23-3

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes while pursued by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes while pursued by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks for a receiver against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks for a receiver against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) passes over New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) to Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) passes over New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) to Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) passes over New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) passes over New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

  • New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

    New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams, left, can't catch a pass from quarterback Josh Freeman, as New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) defends in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. Arrington was penalized for pass interference on the play. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams, left, can't catch a pass from quarterback Josh Freeman, as New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) defends in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. Arrington was penalized for pass interference on the play. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) catches a pass in front of New England Patriots outside linebacker Jerod Mayo (51) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) catches a pass in front of New England Patriots outside linebacker Jerod Mayo (51) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) breaks up a pass intended for New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden (38) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) breaks up a pass intended for New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden (38) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster, left, tackles New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson, right, after a catch in the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster, left, tackles New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson, right, after a catch in the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85)in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85)in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) breaks up a pass intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson (17) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) breaks up a pass intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson (17) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson (29) congratulates strong safety Mark Barron (23) on his interception of a pass by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson (29) congratulates strong safety Mark Barron (23) on his interception of a pass by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts after throwing an interception to Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts after throwing an interception to Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (3) watches his field goal in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. Gostkowski kicked three field goals in the game and the Patriots won 23-3. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (3) watches his field goal in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. Gostkowski kicked three field goals in the game and the Patriots won 23-3. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) tackles New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) tackles New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85) runs past Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) for a touchdown after catching a Tom Brady pass the in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85) runs past Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) for a touchdown after catching a Tom Brady pass the in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes while pursued by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks for a receiver against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) passes over New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) to Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) passes over New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
  • New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams, left, can't catch a pass from quarterback Josh Freeman, as New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) defends in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. Arrington was penalized for pass interference on the play. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) catches a pass in front of New England Patriots outside linebacker Jerod Mayo (51) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) breaks up a pass intended for New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden (38) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster, left, tackles New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson, right, after a catch in the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85)in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks (27) breaks up a pass intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson (17) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Leonard Johnson (29) congratulates strong safety Mark Barron (23) on his interception of a pass by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts after throwing an interception to Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (3) watches his field goal in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. Gostkowski kicked three field goals in the game and the Patriots won 23-3. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) tackles New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85) runs past Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron (23) for a touchdown after catching a Tom Brady pass the in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Tom Brady’s rookie receivers are starting to catch on.

And the New England Patriots are 3-0 for the first time in six seasons.

After slow starts to their NFL careers, Kenbrell Thompkins caught two touchdown passes and Aaron Dobson had seven receptions as the Patriots beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-3, yesterday.

“They’re doing a great job,” Brady said. “They’ve worked really hard to understand what we’re trying to do on a weekly basis.”

That effort didn’t pay off in the first two games when Thompkins and Dobson, who missed the opener with a hamstring injury, combined for just nine catches and several drops.

But on yesterday, Thompkins, an undrafted free agent, scored on plays of 16 and 5 yards in the first half.

And Dobson, a second-round draft pick, led the Patriots with his seven catches and 52 yards receiving.

“I feel good. 3-0. You can’t ask for anything better,” Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “We know our offense, sooner or later, they’re going to start clicking.”

On his fourth possession, Brady completed passes of 15 and 6 yards to Dobson then got the ball to the Bucs 16 on a 4-yard completion to Julian Edelman.

Then Thompkins caught a pass over the middle and ran it in for his 16-yard touchdown, the first of his career.

“That’s a play that we work on every day in practice,” Thompkins said. “For me to be open and to have Tom trust me to throw me the ball felt good.”

The Patriots led 17-3 at halftime as the Buccaneers (0-3) wasted several opportunities.

They turned the ball over twice on downs, Rian Lindell missed a 38-yard field goal attempt before making a 30-yarder and Josh Freeman threw an interception to former Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib with 11 seconds left in the first half.

Three plays later, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

“We did some things at times offensively, but then were unable to finish drives,” Bucs Coach Greg Schiano said. “You’re not going to win in this league that way.”

The Patriots (3-0) have allowed just 34 points this season but haven’t played a top quarterback.

They faced rookies EJ Manuel of the Buffalo Bills and Geno Smith of the New York Jets before going against Freeman, who entered the game with a completion rate of 45.3 percent, the worst in the NFL.

He had another bad game yesterday, completing 19 of 41 passes for 236 yards. But Schiano said Freeman still gives the Bucs the best chance of winning.

“It’s a rough start, obviously, but we played three quality football teams,” Freeman said.

The Patriots held Doug Martin to 88 yards on 20 runs one week after he gained 144.

And Vincent Jackson had three catches before leaving the game in the third quarter with a rib injury. There was no update on his condition.

The Bucs lost their first two games by a total of three points on a field goal with two seconds left and another as time expired.

They were out of yesterday’s game much earlier.

New England punted on its first three series as it continued to struggle without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who hasn’t played this season while recovering from forearm and back surgery, and wide receiver Danny Amendola, out the past two games with a groin injury.

“We were playing good defense,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis, who had played the Patriots 11 times before being traded to the Bucs before this season. “Then they up-tempoed us a little bit, and they executed on their plays.”

The first touchdown to Thompkins stretched Brady’s streak to 51 games with at least one scoring pass. The only longer streak in NFL history, 54 games by Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, ended last year.

The Patriots got the ball back after the Bucs failed to gain the 1 yard they needed on third and fourth downs. Brady started a 62-yard drive with a 9-yard pass to Dobson and ended it with a throw to Thompkins in the end zone as the Patriots went ahead 14-3.

Brady had his best game of the year with 25 completions in 36 attempts for 225 yards as part of a balanced offense that gained 156 yards rushing.

Gostkowski added two field goals in the second half, a 46-yarder in the third quarter and a 33-yarder in the fourth.

NOTES

∎ The Bucs had only four penalties after entering the game tied for the NFL lead with 23 in two games.

∎ LeGarrette Blount, traded by the Bucs in the offseason, led the Patriots with 65 yards rushing.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.