FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady completed one of four passes before giving way to Jimmy Garoppolo, and the New England Patriots fell 22-11 to the Green Bay Packers in both teams’ exhibition opener on Thursday night.
A day after appearing before a federal judge hearing the appeal of his “Deflategate” suspension, Brady played just two series — a three-and-out and a four-and-out.
Garoppolo, who would fill in for Brady if any part of the Super Bowl MVP’s four-game suspension is upheld, played three quarters plus one play. He went 20 for 30 for 159 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, and was sacked seven times.
Aaron Rodgers completed 11 of 19 passes for 117 yards for Green Bay. Backup Scott Tolzien was 10 for 16 for 107 yards and a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Janis. Alonzo Harris ran for a 25-yard touchdown for the 2014 NFC North winners.
Brady led the Super Bowl champions onto the field to a loud cheer from the fans that have refused to believe he was involved in a scheme to illegally deflate the footballs used in the AFC championship game. He was suspended four games by the NFL and the team was docked $1 million and two draft picks, but Brady’s suspension is now in the courts.
Patriots fans have never wavered in their support of the three-time Super Bowl MVP, holding “Free Tom Brady” rallies and calling on the team not to raise the championship banner before the Sept. 10 season opener if Brady isn’t there.
Just in case, the Patriots need to get Garoppolo ready.
The second-year second-stringer handed off to Jonas Gray on a 55-yard touchdown run, then pitched it to Gray for the 2-point conversion. In the second half, he was intercepted by LaDarius Gunter, who returned it 28 yards to the Packers 29.
Two plays later, Harris ran it 25 yards for his touchdown.
Rookie Brett Hundley completed a 10-yard pass to John Crockett midway through the fourth quarter to give the Packers a 22-11 lead.
Brady made his first entrance on the field at 6:43 p.m., about an hour before kickoff, drawing a cheer from the few thousand or so fans already in the building. After retreating to the locker room, he led the team onto the field through the tunnel to a huge ovation.
The Patriots started on defense, then took over at their 2 yard-line. Brady’s first pass was badly overthrown, and his second went through Josh Boyce’s hands.