New England Patriots Tom Brady (12) leads his team onto the field for an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. AP NEWSWIRE

New England Patriots Tom Brady (12) leads his team onto the field for an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. AP NEWSWIRE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots kicked their 2017 season off at Gillette Stadium on Thursday evening against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The visitors, who practiced with the team in training camp this week, took a quick start to take the 31-24 win to kick off the 2017 preseason.

Jacksonville took a 17-3 lead early in the first half, getting a 97-yard touchdown from Corey Grant on a pass from backup quarterback Chad Henne.

New England answered back, getting touchdown receptions from Austin Carr and K.J. Maye to cut the deficit.

The teams battled in the second half, and New England finished the game in the Jacksonville zone in the final seconds but could not tie the score.

Jimmy Garoppolo has a strong game, playing three quarters and going 22-for-28 passing, racking up 235 yards and two touchdowns. Jacob Hollister had an impressive night for New England, getting seven receptions for 116 yards.

Goodell returns

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is watching the Patriots’ exhibition opener.

It’s his first game in New England since suspending quarterback Tom Brady in the scandal that came to be known as “Deflategate.”

Goodell was in Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s luxury suite as the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars started, according to a photograph posted on Twitter by The Boston Globe. Patriots spokesman Stacey James confirmed to The Associated Press that Goodell was at the game.

Goodell suspended Brady four games after an NFL investigation concluded that he conspired to use illegally underinflated footballs in the 2015 AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

New England fans rallied to their quarterback’s defense and lashed out at Goodell for the harsh penalty that was based on dubious evidence. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl anyway — Brady’s fifth.


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