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Thanksgiving a milestone day for Pats

Posted by Albert Breer  March 18, 2010 09:23 AM

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The Patriots have played on Thanksgiving three times, losing the first two (to Dallas in 1984 and to Detroit in 2000) and winning the last one (over the Lions in 2002).

The Cowboys game featured a furious fourth-quarter comeback by New England, with Tony Eason closing a 17-3 deficit and tying the game late, before the Patriots fell 20-17. The most recent Thanksgiving game, in 2002, was the first one at Ford Field.

But from the Patriots' perspective, there probably couldn't be a bigger Turkey Day milestone than this one: In the 2000 game, Tom Brady got his first regular season action as a professional. Look it up. Just 45 minutes off the Michigan campus at which he starred the two years previous, the greatest quarterback the New England franchise has ever had, and one of the best in league history, period, entered an NFL game for the first time.

Brady played in mop-up duty as the Detroit Lions -- led, interestingly enough, by interim coach Gary Moeller, one of the men responsible for recruiting Brady to Michigan -- blew the Patriots out 34-9. He came in after Drew Bledsoe threw a back-breaking interception to Bryant Westbrook for a 100-yard pick-six, and completed one of his three passing attempts for 6 yards.

That one completion, to J.R. Redmond, was his only completion of the 2000 season. Yet somehow, 14 months later, he'd be raising the Lombardi Trophy. So many years later, all of that's pretty amazing.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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