He did, catching the pass in stride and sprinting untouched for the score to complete the longest play in Patriots history.
Brady also threw touchdown passes on consecutive plays. He hit Hernandez for a 31-yard score, and when a replay review determined the receiver was down at the 1, Brady threw to him again for a TD on the next play.
His other scoring passes covered 10 yards to Rob Gronkowski and 2 yards to Welker.
“Some of their scores ended up looking like it was kind of easy,” Miami coach Tony Sparano said.
Said Brady: “I wouldn’t say it was easy at all.”
He was sacked only once, and good protection gave his receivers plenty of time to work their way open.
Newcomer Chad Ochocino was targeted three times and had only one catch for 14 yards. But Welker made eight receptions for 160 yards against his former team, and tight ends Hernandez and Gronkowski combined for 189 yards on 13 catches.
“It wasn’t a one-man band out there,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We had a lot of contributions.”
The Dolphins‘ defense returned virtually intact from last season and was expected to be the team’s strength, but Brady riddled them from the start. He completed his first eight passes for 127 yards on the Patriots‘ first two possessions, and both ended with TDs.
Brady’s first interception since Oct. 17 came early in the third quarter, when he tried to hit Julian Edelman in the flat. Sapp deflected the ball to the 304-pound Odrick, who rumbled 40 yards to the 9. Two plays later, Henne hit Brian Hartline with a 10-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-all.
Brady was so rattled it took him 10 plays to put the Pats ahead to stay.