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September 09, 2002

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FOXBORO, MA -- Still think he's a one year wonder?

Quarterback Tom Brady made his first regular season opening day start on Monday night against the Steelers and likely erased any doubts from anyone who may have wondered if he'd be able to pick up from where he left off last season.

Brady's 29-of-43 for 294 yards and three touchdowns was a big part of the Patriots 30-14 victory over the Steelers on Monday night.  Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis threw a wrinkle at the Steelers when New England went to the no huddle early in the game, and he let the 25-year old quarterback go out and fire away.  At one point Brady attempted 25-consecutive passes as the Patriots racked up 343 total yards on offense.

He had his way with the Steeler defense, selling out his play fakes and making the necessary throws, with a total of eight different receivers who caught passes in the game.  They got great production from the tight end position, with Cam Cleeland catching 6-balls for 40-yards, while Christian Fauria had 2 catches for 11-yards including  a touchdown.  Rookie Daniel Graham had one pass thrown his way, but was held without a reception.

With another quarterback rating of 110 Brady showed no signs of assuming the title of "one-year wonder" as his team steamrolled over the Steelers.  Now the question will still remain can he do it over a sustained period of time?

That's still obviously isn't known for sure, but a national audience may have seen enough evidence in New England's win to possibly be convinced.

Brady has received a fair amount of criticism from those who feel he doesn't throw the deep ball well. Granted the Patriots aren't likely to resemble the St. Louis Rams any time soon, yet the Patriots are showing signs of success when he throws the ball down the field, including another big completion to David Patten on Monday night.  He threw the pass with plenty of arc, allowing wide receiver David Patten to get underneath it and catch the ball in stride.

If this type of improvement continues, so will the team's success.

For now fans can feel good about the man who will be leading their team for the immediate future.  It's still too early to put him into the category of Joe Montana, but he's off to a good start.


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