Jones declines any consolation prizes

Sunday’s Bradypalooza went strictly according to … well, not plan. No such hoopla can be precisely scripted.

Let’s say its course meandered within the guardrails as well as could be expected.

Tom Brady Appreciation Day (also known as the 2023 Patriots Opening Day) began with the hero of the hour clanging a bell atop the giant lighthouse, just behind the newly installed giant video-scoreboard.

He waved to the crowd, igniting more full-throated adulation. Then Brady and his kids shared the owners box with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Patriots czar-in-waiting Jonathan Kraft.

The crowd’s buzz faded through the game’s miserable start. The Eagles drove 60 yards for a field goal.

(A positive note: The Pats’ defense kept them from crossing the goalline.)

Mac Jones and the offense pieced together a nice, little drive … until Jones misfired on a third-and-5 from the Eagles 42. Kendrick Bourne graciously tipped the pass to Philly cornerback Darius Slay, who returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.

(A positive note: Jones went on from there to have a pretty good day.)

New England’s next drive began and ended on Ezekiel Elliott’s catch and fumble on the Pats 26. Four plays later, the Eagles were up 16-0.

(A positive note: Eagles kicker Jake Elliott missed the point-after. Maybe the light/shopping mall intimidated him.)

But the Pats pulled a Brady in the second quarter. A 71-yard drive ended with Jones hitting Hunter Henry for a 9-yard touchdown.

Moments later, Jones hit Kendrick Bourne for a 19-yard touchdown pass, making it 16-14 at the half.

And then came the day’s primary attraction.

They called it a celebration of Tom Brady’s Patriots career. And so it was.

Lots of hugs, lots of cheers, lots of wishing that Tom could engage in his battle against time with one more season.

Bob Kraft said Brady will go into the Patriots Hall of Fame on June 12, 2024, setting aside the team’s typical five-year wait after a player retires.

There’s a cute symmetry to that date: 6 for Brady’s six Patriots Super Bowl wins, 23 for Brady’s jersey number, 24 for the year.

And then the game became background noise. The Eagles only managed nine second-half points.

(A positive note: the Pats defense gave the offense a shot at redemption.)

Jones connected with Bourne for a 19-yard touchdown with 3:37 left.

Jones’ pass on a try for two points fell incomplete.

There would be no happy ending to the Pats’ attempt to pull off a Brady with Brady cheering him on. And Jones declined to engage in happy-talk about moral victories

“(We) couldn’t score early,” Jones said. “We just fell behind because of me, and I put it on myself.”

(A positive note: Jones can at least think like Brady.)

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