FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots are perfect after three games for the first time since 2007.
With Tom Brady throwing two touchdown passes to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins and the defense continually turning back Tampa Bay threats, the Patriots defeated the Buccaneers 23-3 at Gillette Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Patriots trailed 3-0 after one uninspiring first quarter, then turned the game around in the second.
The defense made a stand on a fourth-and-5 at the Patriots’ 34, then Brady drove the Patriots in for the go-ahead score, a 16-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Thompkins, who made the catch at the 12 and turned upfield untouched. Stephen Gostkowski made it 7-0 with the kick.
The Buccaneers (0-3) drove to the Patriots’ 38 to face a fourth-and-1. This time running back Doug Martin was stopped for no gain. Mixing the run and pass, Brady moved the Patriots in for their second touchdown, a 5-yard pass to Thompkins with 47 seconds left in the first half.
Aqib Talib then intercepted Josh Freeman at Tampa Bay’s 43 with 11 seconds left.
A short completion to Brandon Bolden and a 5-yard Brady sneak got the Patriots closer and Gostkowski kicked a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it 17-3.
The Patriots defense stopped Tampa Bay on fourth-down plays four times in the game.