Tom Brady and the starters came out strong, leading the New England Patriots to a 31-14 win over the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason on Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.
Brady completed 11-of-19 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Pats. Brady's first touchdown came on a 16-yard strike to aw wide open Aaron Hernandez with 11:51 left in the first quarter. His second touchdown was an eight-yard pass with 6:55 left in the first to veteran Chad Ochocinco, who finished with 14 receiving yards and a TD in his debut.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the game's other star, racking up 51 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Green-Ellis' first touchdown, a one-yard scamper, came with 12 seconds left in the first quarter, giving the Pats a 21-0 lead. Green-Ellis scored again on another one-yard touchdown run with 5:56 left in the second quarter.
Elbert Mack put the Buccaneers on the scoreboard when he intercepted a pass from Patriots' backup quarterback Ryan Mallett and returned it 69 yards for the score, trimming the Patriots' lead to 28-7 with 12:12 to go in the third.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 44-yard field goal to account for the first points of the second half for the Patriots, who took a 31-7 lead after the field goal with 3:22 to go in the third quarter.
Allen Bradford scored the second touchdown for the Buccaneers on a two-yard dash into the end zone with 9:34 remaining in the game, but the Bucs were unable to cut into the lead any further.
Brian Hoyer and Mallett backed up Brady, with Hoyer completing 1-of-4 passes for six yards and Mallett throwing for 71 yards on and an interception on 9-of-14 passing. Stevan Ridley shined in garbage time, rushing for 84 yards on 14 carries.
New England faces the Detroit Lions in the always important third preseason game on Thursday, August 27 at 8:00 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS.