FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — He ran out of the tunnel and into Gillette Stadium to his usual music, Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement.”

But there was something different about Tom Brady on this night.

Instead of stopping at midfield to begin his warm-ups, Brady kept running into the South end zone. And with the cheers of the crowd smothering him, Brady began pumping his arms, his fists, screaming with them.

Tom Brady had an edge to him in the NFL opener Thursday night.

“It was a special night. I was excited. It’s always fun to be out there with a chance to play,” he said.

After eight months of having his integrity questioned by the NFL – and pretty much everyone outside New England – he came out with a focus and intensity that belied all the trouble he went through in the offseason.

With the crowd of over 67,000 cheering his every move, chanting his name – “Brady, Brady, Brady” – throughout, Brady led the Patriots to a convincing 28-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He threw for four touchdowns. He completed a franchise-record 19 straight passes. He again showed why he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks you or I will ever see.

His final numbers were impressive: 25 completions in 32 attempts, 288 yards, the four touchdowns and no interceptions. The victory was Brady’s 161st, setting an NFL record for most wins with one team.

That Brady did so well shouldn’t be entirely surprising. He’s now 12-2 in openers. And he has owned the Steelers when the teams play at Gillette Stadium. In four games against Pittsburgh here, all wins, he’s completed 109 of 154 passes for 1,413 yards and 15 touchdowns – with no interceptions.

Yes, he had help Thursday, especially from his big players. Three touchdown passes went to Rob Gronkowski, who caught five passes for 94 yards. And 11 completions went to Julian Edelman for 97 yards.

But this was about Brady.

Fans and media members wondered how he would react after the fight with the NFL to clear his name and reputation. He had been suspended for four games by the NFL for failure to cooperate during the Deflategate investigation, the penalty only vacated by a federal judge within the last two weeks.

Would he be distracted? Hardly.

Mentally drained? Nope.

Fiesty? You bet.

He completed his first three passes but the drive ended with two incompletions. He wouldn’t throw another incompletion until the fourth quarter.

He picked the Steelers apart underneath, hitting Edelman or running back Dion Lewis, the surprise starter who rushed for a team-high 69 yards and caught four passes for 51 more.

He found Gronkowski when he was open, which was more than the Steelers wanted to allow. Gronkowski’s first touchdown catch, a 16-yarder, came when the Steelers inexplicably didn’t cover him when he split to the right. He caught the ball, shook off one defender and went in.

Brady and Gronkowski made it 14-0 with a lob to the back of the end zone. Then Brady threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Scott Chandler early in the third to make it 21-3. The game was over, really, at that point.

There was no way Brady was going to let the Patriots lose. Not on a night when the Patriots were raising their Super Bowl championship banner. Not on a night when Ty Law, Troy Brown, Willie McGinest and owner Robert Kraft paraded the team’s four Super Bowl trophies onto midfield.

This was a celebration and Brady wasn’t going to let the Patriots down.

When Pittsburgh got within 21-14, he responded with a seven-play, 79-yard touchdown drive. The first play was a 52-yard pass to Gronkowski (again, somehow, open) and the last was a 1-yard pass to Gronkowski in the left corner of the end zone.

The cheers rained down again. And Brady smiled.

Life was good again.