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Patriots starters drub Bucs in first half

Tom Brady, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) smiles as he talks to teammates Rob Gronkowski (87) and Sebastian Vollmer (76) in the huddle during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)


Tom Brady and the Patriots starters didn’t play at all last week. They made up for it on Thursday night in Tampa.

Brady and the starting unit played the entire first half while racking up a 28-0 lead against the Bucs. Tampa’s backups entered in the second quarter and actually slowed down the New England offense a little better. It was 21-0 after only one quarter.

Chad Ochocinco was on the field for most snaps in his Patriots debut, catching two short passes, including an eight-yard score. He also was on the receiving end of a brutal hit by Bucs linebacker Mason Foster that may cost Foster some money later this week. Ochocinco got up right away.

New England’s line play dominated both sides of the ball. Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson were hit repeatedly, with linebacker Jerod Mayo rushing the passer more than usual. The Patriots ran for 129 yards in the half to only 11 for Tampa.

Brady was very sharp, throwing for 119 yards and two scores on 18 attempts. His primary weapons (Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and BenJarvus Green Ellis) all looked to be in midseason form.