How notable ex-Patriots fared in Week 1 of 2021 season across NFL


Tom Brady and -- to a slightly lesser extent -- Rob Gronkowski are the two most prominent former members of the New England Patriots still active elsewhere in the NFL.

Throw in Antonio Brown and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are far and away the most interesting team in the league when it comes to ex-Pats. After raising their Super Bowl LV banner Thursday, the Bucs rallied for a 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys, with Brady throwing four touchdown passes -- two to Gronk, one to Brown.

Several other former New Englanders of note were in action Sunday, nearly all of whom played massive roles in wins for their new teams. Here's a look at how they fared:

Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals

The 2012 first-round draft choice of the Patriots began his sixth year in the desert in style Sunday, racking up an astounding five sacks in Arizona's 38-13 romp of the Tennessee Titans while making history in the process.

Jones, 31, quickly made up for lost time after recording just one sack in five games for the Cardinals in 2020. He's up to 97 sacks for his career, third among active players and on the verge of becoming the 42nd player since sacks became official in 1982 to surpass 100 for his career.

WATCH: Mac Jones throws first NFL touchdown pass

For good measure, Jones forced two Tennessee fumbles Sunday as well.

Joe Thuney, Kansas City Chiefs

One of the players the Patriots drafted as part of the return they got for Chandler Jones in 2016, Thuney cashed in with the Chiefs in free agency this offseason. 


The 28-year-old ironman, who never missed a game over five years in New England, started at left guard for Kansas City Sunday, getting flagged once for holding in a 33-29 win over the Cleveland Browns. 

Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor relied heavily on the former Patriots in his Houston debut, completing five passes for 132 yards to Cooks and five more for 34 yards and a touchdown to Amendola, who just signed with the Texans last week.

With an assist from a Houston defense that picked off rookie Trevor Lawrence three times, Cooks and Amendola were among the biggest reasons for the Texans' 37-21 upset win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

After the Patriots drafted Mac Jones -- who looked good on Sunday -- the door has in all likelihood slammed shut on a reunion with Jimmy G. 

That said, it'll never get old checking in on the first quarterback who was once seriously thought of as Tom Brady's heir apparent. And he looked pretty good in a 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions, completing 17 of 25 passes for 314 yards and a touchdown in his return after missing 10 games in 2020.

Jason McCourty, Miami Dolphins

Following three years and a Super Bowl LIII victory with the Patriots while playing with his twin brother, Devin, Jason McCourty flew south for the Dolphins this offseason and holds the early lead against his former employer following Miami's 17-16 victory.

Jason McCourty started at free safety for the 'Fins rather than his customary cornerback position, where he contributed five tackles and a pass defensed. Starting alongside McCourty at strong safety for Miami was former Patriot Eric Rowe, who forced the Damien Harris fumble that clinched the game for the Dolphins, as well as linebacker Elandon Roberts.

No word on if Jason was able to sneak any Dolphins gear into Devin's house.

Chris Hogan, New Orleans Saints

The former professional lacrosse player, who also won two Super Bowls with the Patriots, caught just one pass for 10 yards in his Saints debut, but it went for a touchdown in one of the most surprising results of Week 1, a 38-3 blowout win for New Orleans over the Green Bay Packers.

Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams

Say what you want about Michel following three mostly underwhelming years in New England, but he hadn't lost a fumble for the team since Week 2 of the 2019 season. The Patriots could've used some sure hands like that Sunday.

That's about all there is to say for Michel, however, as he mustered a single carry in the fourth quarter for 2 yards in his Rams debut, though his team won 34-14 over the Chicago Bears. Michel was traded to Los Angeles last month for a pair of 2022 draft picks.