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New England at Tennessee

Patriots open with blowout of Titans

CBSSports.com wire reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tom Brady might have a broken nose, about the only damage inflicted by the Tennessee Titans against the New England Patriots who simply don't lose season openers.

Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the defending AFC champion Patriots routed the Titans 34-13 for their ninth straight season-opening win Sunday. It's the longest current streak in the league.

"I need some scars," Brady said, joking about the white bandage covering his nose and marring his usual look.

Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley hurt Brady in the second quarter when he got Tennessee's only sack of the game. Brady said that was the only good hit he took all day and complimented his revised offensive line featuring a new left tackle in Nate Solder, new center in Dan Connolly and right guard in Donald Thomas.

"It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but it's always fun to win," Brady said. "It's a good feeling."

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The Patriots ruined Jake Locker's debut as Tennessee's starter, sacking him twice and forcing two turnovers. New England rookie Dont'a Hightower returned Locker's fumble 6 yards for a TD in his own debut, and Stevan Ridley ran for 125 yards and a TD.

New England even knocked Locker out of the game in the fourth quarter and held Chris Johnson to 4 yards on 11 carries.

"This is something that can be a backbone for us," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. " To hold a great back to only 4 yards that was good defense."

Locker hurt his left shoulder tackling safety Patrick Chung on a fumble return officials should have whistled dead as an incomplete pass to Titans receiver Nate Washington, who also was hurt on the play. Matt Hasselbeck replaced Locker, who was kept on the sideline as a precaution.

The eighth pick overall in 2011 tried to talk his way back onto the field after being examined. Locker said he was sore but expects to play next week at San Diego. And he won't shy away from tackling in the future.

"I know I'm playing offense," Locker said. "I'm not going to let a guy run into the end zone."

The Titans weren't happy at the failure of the replacement officials on three different passes into the end zone they thought deserved flags for pass interference. Coach Mike Munchak said there always will be calls they believe are missed by officials.

The first came on the opening drive when Devin McCourty helped break up a pass to Damian Williams in the end zone. The second wound up an interception by Patriots rookie Tavon Wilson on a pass to Washington. The third came with Chung defending Jared Cook in the fourth quarter that left the Titans tight end pleading his case to an official.

Williams had an opinion on the lack of a flag, but refused to criticize the officials, who also needed replay to overturn the on-field ruling of an interception by McCourty in the third quarter that squirted out when he hit the ground.

The Titans even had former Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt on hand, not that she could help them stop or even slow Brady -- despite spending the offseason prepping for the teams' first meeting since being routed 59-0 in New England in October 2009.

Brady threw five TD passes in one quarter that day. He didn't match that Sunday, but didn't need to with Ridley providing plenty of help on the ground as the Patriots outgained Tennessee 390-284.

"They're going to make their share of plays, which we knew," Munchak said. "We just couldn't help them, and unfortunately along the way, we helped them."

The Titans couldn't match Brady's efficiency and had to settle twice for field goals of 28 and 24 yards by Rob Bironas. Locker did find Washington on a 29-yard TD in the third quarter even with Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones grabbing the quarterback.

Brady missed connecting with Brandon Lloyd for a would-be TD on the opening drive. That was among his few misses.

He put the Patriots up 7-3 with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez late in the first quarter, capping a 67-yard drive. It was Brady's 301st career pass, surpassing John Elway for fifth in TD passes in NFL history. It also marked his 33rd straight game with a TD pass. He found Rob Gronkowski on a 2-yard TD pass just before halftime for a 21-3 lead.

The Patriots' work boosting their defense through the draft showed early dividends. Jones sacked Locker and forced a fumble that Hightower ran in for a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.


  • Patriots coach Bill Belichick got his 193rd career victory, tying him for eighth all-time with Chuck Knox.
  • Brady became the 14th player with 40,000 yards passing in his career. He has 40,215 yards, just shy of Johnny Unitas (40,239) for 13th.
  • Brady now has sole possession of fifth for career wins by a quarterback with 125.
  • Brady is 5-1 against Tennessee and has 10 TDs with no interceptions in those games.
  • Titans LB Colin McCarthy had a walking boot on his right foot but said he'll be OK.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Stevan Ridley comes up big in his debut as the Patriots' top back, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown.  (US Presswire)
Stevan Ridley comes up big in his debut as the Patriots' top back, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown. (US Presswire)


Related Video

Sun. Sept. 9Final
Pass: T. Brady (23-31, 236) J. Locker (23-32, 229)
Rush: S. Ridley (21-125) J. Locker (2-11)
Rec: B. Lloyd (5-69) J. Cook (4-64)
Scoring Summary
FGRob Bironas makes a 28 yard kick. Drive: 12 plays, 70 yards in 6:17.
TDAaron Hernandez catches a 23 yard pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good). Drive: 5 plays, 67 yards in 2:06.
TDDont'a Hightower makes a 6 yard fumble return (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good).
TDRob Gronkowski catches a 2 yard pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good). Drive: 12 plays, 67 yards in 5:17.
TDNate Washington catches a 29 yard pass from Jake Locker (Rob Bironas kick is good). Drive: 4 plays, 80 yards in 1:30.
TDStevan Ridley runs for 1 yard (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good). Drive: 6 plays, 48 yards in 2:25.
FGRob Bironas makes a 24 yard kick. Drive: 16 plays, 73 yards in 6:47.
FGStephen Gostkowski makes a 25 yard kick. Drive: 12 plays, 76 yards in 5:02.
FGStephen Gostkowski makes a 31 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 11 yards in 3:12.
Players of the Game

S. Ridley
Rush 21
Yds 125
Avg 6.0
TD 1
New England

T. Brady
Att 31
Comp 23
Yds 236
TD 2
New England
T. Brady23/3123620
S. Ridley21125117
D. Woodhead62006
B. Bolden51109
A. Hernandez1505
T. Brady2102
B. Lloyd569027
R. Gronkowski660128
A. Hernandez659123
S. Ridley227020
W. Welker31408
J. Edelman1707
J. Locker23/3222911
M. Hasselbeck6/114300
J. Locker21109
C. Johnson11405
J. Harper1303
D. Reynaud2202
J. Cook464035
N. Washington253129
C. Johnson647016
K. Wright537017
D. Williams533012
D. Reynaud31707
L. Hawkins2806
J. Harper1808
C. Stevens1505
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
DAL 24 Final
NYG 17
IND 21 Final
CHI 41
PHI 17 Final
CLE 16
STL 23 Final
DET 27
MIA 10 Final
HOU 30
ATL 40 Final
KC 24
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MIN 26
WAS 40 Final
NO 32
BUF 28 Final
NYJ 48
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ARI 20
SF 30 Final
GB 22
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TB 16
PIT 19 Final
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CIN 13 Final
BAL 44
SD 22 Final
OAK 14