Getting his chance
Brady got his first chance for real playing time in the pros because of the misfortune of another player. When Jets linebacker Mo Lewis slammed into Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe in a Week 2 game on Sept. 23, 2001, it looked as if New England's season might be finished. The hit caused the Pro Bowl passer to suffer internal bleeding and miss the majority of the rest of the 2001 season.
Brady did fine in his NFL debut season, completing 264 of 413 passes for 2,843 yards. He threw 18 touchdown passes and had 12 interceptions, and his 63.9 percent completion rate set a Patriots single-season best. Brady set an NFL record for most pass attempts to start a career without throwing an interception with 162. When Bledsoe was ready to return to action, Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a controversial decision to stick with Brady as the starter.