Brady, a two-time Most Valuable Player, tied a league record with a 99-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and finished 37 passing yards shy of Norm Van Brocklin’s single-game mark of 554. His total is the highest since 1996, when Boomer Esiason threw for 522 yards in a game for Arizona.
Brady’s record-setting day carried the Patriots, the preseason Super Bowl favorites of oddsmakers, to an eighth straight season-opening victory.
“It was a good night,” Brady, 34, said in a televised interview. “We were opportunistic at times. We made plenty of mistakes too, as you would expect in the first game, but it’s great to come down here and get a tough win.”
The Oakland Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 23-20 in last night’s second game to cap the NFL’s Week 1 schedule.
The Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski kicked three field goals, including a 63-yarder at the end of the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. It matched the longest in NFL history, a record set by Tom Dempsey for New Orleans in 1970 and tied by Jason Elam with Denver in 1998.
The Broncos had won their previous 11 home openers, while the Raiders ended an eight-year streak of Week 1 losses.
Brady, who has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles, threw two touchdown passes to Wes Welker, including the 99- yarder, and one each to tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Fellow University of Michigan quarterback Chad Henne threw for 416 yards and two touchdowns for the Dolphins.
Their 937 combined passing yards is a NFL record.
The Patriots held a four-point lead late in the third quarter when Brady tossed his third touchdown pass of the game, a 1-yarder to Hernandez. After Stephen Gostkowski’s 20-yard field goal pushed New England’s advantage to 31-17, the Patriots defense stopped Miami on a fourth-down play from inside their 1- yard line with 5:57 remaining.
On the next play, Brady dropped back into his end zone and threw deep to Welker, who caught the pass, stiff-armed a defender and raced into the NFL record book. Brady is the 12th quarterback to throw a 99-yard touchdown pass and the first since Gus Frerotte for Minnesota on Nov. 30, 2008.
‘No One-Man Band’
“Tom threw it well, the receivers caught it and we pass- protected,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters. “It was no one-man band out there. We had a lot of contributions from everybody and that’s what a good offensive team should do. We should be good across the board.”
The Patriots, who lost starting center Dan Koppen to a left leg injury, have won five of their past six games against the division-rival Dolphins.
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