UPDATE (4:30 p.m. ET): That was a fast first half of the AFC Championship Game (stream Patriots-Jaguars here, ) and it featured a lot of Tom Brady looking good despite a hand injury that concerned many people throughout the week.
Brady showed a lot of zip early on in the game, whipping passes down the field with tight spirals and finding Danny Amendola for a massive fourth-down conversion that kept the Pats drive alive and resulted in a field goal on their first possession.
Brady would get pressured some during the first half, though, and it was clear he was avoiding putting his hand on the ground/putting pressure on the stitches (more below, he reportedly got 10 of them in his hand) and the black tape he was using to cover the stitches.
All told, Brady had a very nice first half that featured him going 12-for-17 for 124 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Buried in that stat line is 47 yards of penalties on the final drive, which culminated in a James White touchdown. Barry Church was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Rob Gronkowski (status still TBD) and A.J. Bouye was flagged for a very questionable pass interference call in coverage on Brandin Cooks.
UPDATE (2:20 p.m. ET): The Patriots quarterback came out for warmups and he was wearing a black bandage on his hand but NO GLOVE.
The Patriots quarterback was heard yelling "Get the f--- out of the way!" as he took to the practice field and, quite obviously, greeted with a bunch of cheers from Patriots fans.
Jim Nantz reported on "The NFL Today" that Brady will wear a glove during the game.
Brady looked pretty good in warmups -- Tony Romo noted the ball wobbled a little bit on him, but mostly he was throwing strikes out there.
Concerns emerged before the game about Brady potentially suffering an additional injury, as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reported Brady suffered a collateral ligament sprain in his right thumb.
Per sources, Patriots QB Tom Brady suffered a collateral ligament sprain in his right thumb, in addition to the cut. Threw well on Friday, expected to be good to go today. But that's where the concern over his functionality would've been.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 21, 2018
Additionally, Mike Reiss of ESPN reported Brady required more than 10 stitches after the injury on Wednesday.
Some additional context/information: On Tom Brady, he required more than 10 stitches after sustaining a cut on the inside part of his right throwing hand near the thumb Wednesday, per source. Those at practice described a bloody scene.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 21, 2018
There is no bigger story on Championship Weekend Sunday than the status of Tom Brady's hand, an injury so mysterious and so potentially game-altering this past week.
The Jaguars and Patriots play mid Sunday afternoon (stream the AFC Championship Game here on CBSSports.com at 3:05 p.m. ET) and there is so much we still do not know about Brady's injury.
Colleague John Breech broke down a lot of it, and here's the "Clue" version: Rex Burkhead, on a handoff, with a helmet buckle. The Pats running back, , had a mixup on a handoff with Brady in practice this week that resulted in the quarterback's hand being stitched up after a "bloody mess" was caused when a buckle ripped open his hand.
Brady has made it clear,, that he would prefer to be barehand for this game, but might not have a choice. So what would he wear to the stadium? NFL Network had cameras on the Patriots quarterback walking into Gilette Stadium on Sunday morning and, as noted by host Rich Eisen, Brady mostly kept his hands in his pockets.
And, as Eisen pointed out, this is completely different from what Brady usually does -- his regular to-stadium routine involves holding a bag/briefcase in his right hand. Today he was in a large puffy coat, wearing sunglasses and the bag was slung over his left shoulder. His hand? BURIED IN HIS POCKETS.
The quarterback, as you can see in moving picture form below, almost always shows up to work wearing no gloves and carrying his briefcase. Not today.
None of this is to say that Brady will have major issues with his hand by the time the game comes around at 3:05 p.m. ET (and, again, did I mention you can stream the AFC Championship Game on CBSSports.com?). According to a report from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Brady was "ripping it" during practice on Friday.
"A source said he was ripping it during Friday's practice, throwing it extremely well," Rapoport said on NFL Network.
There's no question about the quarterback playing on Sunday, although the glove is TBD for Brady. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Saturday night that Brady will "probably" wear the glove.
Tom Brady, in the words of one source, “probably will wear the glove (Sunday) just to protect the stitches,” though the QB has not indicated whether he has decided to wear it.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 21, 2018
Brady has made it clear, though, he would prefer not to have it on.:
How and when did this happen?
On Wednesday, Brady and Burkhead were going through a handoff situation at practice, when Burkhead's helmet buckle hooked Brady's hand, causing a tear of the skin and what was described as a "bloody mess." Various reports have indicated the injury was on the webbing between Brady's thumb and index finger, but also on a knuckle. Tom Curran of CSN New England reported Brady's thumb was bent back and the ball got jammed in the webbing and caused the cut. Brady reportedly let out a VERY loud yell/shriek when it happened, causing teammates to believe it might be worse than it was.
No one is entirely sure on the severity of the injury, but Brady needed four stitches to take care of the wound.
Fortunately, by all accounts, X-rays taken indicated no structural damage, although Brady's thumb has been described as "bulky."
Were the Patriots forthcoming about the injury?
HAHAHAHAHA. Hilarious question. Of course they weren't. Bradyabout his day at school when he broke down the situation.
, pointing out on Friday that he couldn't know if Brady was a game time decision because "it's Friday." He's not wrong.
Brady, but he would need his hand amputated to keep him from playing in this game.
Will Tom Brady wear a glove during the AFC Championship Game?
This is actually a great question. The logical answer is "yes"just because we've seen Brady either not showing his hands or wearing a glove since Friday. It would be a pretty big upset if he was bare-handed, although it's supposed to be in the mid-40's and high 30's during this game, which is cold if you're in Florida, but pretty balmy for a late January Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Ultimately it's a wait-and-see situation, especially with Brady not coming out onto the field to throw very early.
The guess here is he will wear the glove primarily to protect the stiches.
How will Brady look throwing the ball?
Again, this is a wait-and-see thing. Robert Kraft was asked about the injury on Saturday night and said he FaceTimed with his quarterback and watched him throw some footballs on Friday and "it made me feel a lot better."
But, again, there's no way to know until the bullets start flying. The Jaguars are a dangerous defense and they will be trying to get pressure on Brady out of the gate. Don't be surprised if they make sure to focus on his hand should they get to tackle the quarterback. It happens in the NFL.
Also don't be surprised when Brady shows up and manages to produce a monster stat line despite entering the game with a lot of questions involving his hand injury.