EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — See you again in five weeks, Tom Brady.
With a four-game suspension for his role in the “Deflategate” scandal beginning in just a few days, Brady had an NFL going-away party Thursday night, playing the first half in the New England Patriots’ preseason finale against the New York Giants.
Brady completed 16 of 26 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown and an interception as the Patriots (3-1) missed out a perfect preseason in a 17-9 loss to the Giants (2-2).
Brady showed flashes in his second preseason game of the season. He completed five passes between 16 and 38 yards, but only one drive resulted in a score, a 7-yard TD toss to Keshawn Martin. Two others, including one in the red zone, were ended by lost fumbles. His sixth and final series was a knee at the half.
The two-time NFL MVP begins a four-game suspension Saturday for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the 2014 AFC championship game. He won’t be eligible to rejoin the active roster until Oct. 3, leaving the team in the hands of Jimmy Garoppolo.
New England opens the season on Sept. 11 at Arizona. The Giants are at Dallas.
Brady’s absence will mark the first regular-season games he’s missed since 2008, when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the season opener.
Ryan Nassib threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King for the Giants and set up Randy Bullock’s 25-yard field goal. Logan Thomas tossed a 17-yard fourth quarter TD to Roger Lewis Jr. after New England got a 32-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski earlier in the quarter, cutting the lead to 10-9.
A three-time Super Bowl MVP, Brady was sharpest on his fourth series, leading the team on a nine-play, 77-yard drive. He hit 6 of 7 passes and scrambled for 10 yards on the march, but had to throw the ball away on a 2-point conversion pass.
Brady had New England at the Giants 19 on the next series before running back D.J. Foster fumbled a screen pass.
Unlike many of the players, Brady had nothing to prove in this game. He spent the final half sitting on the bench.
The last time Brady played in a preseason finale was 2014, when he held for an extra point just to see if he can do it. His last start in a preseason finale was in 2011, a year the Patriots went to the Super Bowl — and lost to the Giants.
Brady is not allowed to have contact with the Patriots or utilize team facilities during his suspension.
Patriots: Garoppolo, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola.
Giants: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, Johnathan Hankins, Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Weston Richburg.
Patriots: Third-round draft pick Joe Thuney started all four preseason game at left guard.
Giants: Free-agent defensive end Romeo Okwara sacked Brady in the first half.
Patriots: Jacoby Brissett was 11 of 18 for 123 yards in the second half.
Giants: Nassib was 16 of 29 for 210 yards, including his third TD toss to King in the last two weeks, and one interception. Thomas was 3 of 5 for 39 yards and a touchdown.
Patriots: Recently acquired LB Barkevious Mingo was active in his Patriots debut, making five tackles and two quarterback hurries.
Giants: King, who was on the practice squad last year, should have a roster spot locked up after catching four passes for 80 yards and his third TD of the preseason.
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