Welcome home, Tommy Football.
On Oct. 16, Tom Brady led his fleet of Patriots out of the tunnel and into Gillette Stadium, where he was welcomed home after his suspension by nearly 70,000 in-house fans.
His first game back was a battle of more than just football; it was the second game in the New England Patriots reunion tour.
The Cincinnati Bengals came out looking for a fight, hoping to dethrone the king of the National Football League (NFL) in his first home game since returning from his suspension.
The first quarter seemed as though that may be the case as the Bengals repeatedly shut down New England’s offense, allowing only a 46-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski, but the Pats’ defense held their own and shutout the Bengals in the first quarter.
The second quarter rolled around and the Bengals were the first to strike with a two-yard rushing touchdown coming from quarterback Andy Dalton, making it a 7-3 game.
Gronk also reached the end zone for the first time all season after a catch from Brady, and you bet your bottom dollar he spiked that football all the way to the earth’s core, giving the Pats a 19-14 lead.
The Bengals would go on to score only three more points in the game, while the Pats would put up another 16 points, including a safety from Dont’a Hightower when he yanked Dalton down like a rag doll.
While Brady and Gronk are like magnets on the field, Brady was showing some obvious emotions towards Gronk’s somewhat heated and distasteful antics on Sunday.
A late game shoving match following a touchdown, which ended in a taunting penalty for Gronkowski was just another piece to this.
Post-game, Gronk admitted he took “full responsibility” for his actions, but I am surprised Head Coach Bill Belichick didn’t rip the tight end off the field right away and make him sit and think about his actions.
However, with the way the game was going, I think Belichick wanted to remind Cincinnati what New England is made of.
Brady is now 2-0 and now the fourth player in NFL history to have 5,000 career completions, joining an elite (maybe not my favorite) group of men Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
Take that, Roger Goodell.
The Patriots went on to win the game 35-17 with a 5-1 record.
We’re on to Pittsburgh.
Mary Curtin can be contacted at Mcurtin@kscequinox.com