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Brady throws for team-record 517 yards and 4 TDs to lead Patriots past Dolphins 38-24
MIAMI (AP) ' Tom Brady threw his first interception since October, so he wasn't perfect in the New England Patriots' opener.
He was close, though.
Brady threw for a team-record 517 yards and four touchdowns, including a 99-yarder to Wes Welker, and the reigning AFC East champions started with a victory for the eighth consecutive season Monday night by beating the Miami Dolphins 38-24.
Defensive end Jared Odrick picked off a deflected pass to set up a Miami touchdown and end Brady's NFL-record streak of 358 passes without an interception. Otherwise Brady and the Patriots picked up where they left off last season, when he threw for 36 TDs and his team led the league in scoring.
New England totaled 622 yards, the most in franchise history and the most allowed by Miami.
Brady, who went 32 for 48, became the 11th quarterback to throw for at least 500 yards. Norm Van Brocklin set the record of 554 yards in 1951.
The capper came with 5:44 left and the Patriots leading 31-17. After they stopped Miami on downs at the 1-foot line, Brady lined up in the shotgun on first down and threw from his end zone to Welker, who had slipped behind Benny Sapp near the 30-yard line. Welker caught the pass in stride and sprinted untouched for the score to complete the longest play in Patriots history.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
MIAMI (AP) ' Tom Brady saw his NFL record streak of consecutive regular-season passes without an interception end. His streak of games with a touchdown pass is still going strong.
Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes after getting picked off, giving him three in the game, and the New England Patriots built a 28-17 lead over the Miami Dolphins after three quarters of the teams' opener Monday night.
Early in the fourth quarter, Brady was up to 412 yards passing. His career high had been 410, set against Kansas City on Sept. 22, 2002.
Brady had thrown 358 consecutive passes without an interception, a streak that ended with 13:13 left in the third quarter when Miami's Jared Odrick grabbed a deflected ball and rumbled 40 yards down to the New England 9.
The Dolphins wasted little time cashing in the mistake, tying the game at 14-14 two plays later when Chad Henne connected with Brian Hartline for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
The reigning NFL MVP did not seem the least bit rattled.
Brady found Wes Welker with a 2-yard touchdown toss with 8:23 left in the third, then pushed New England's lead to 11 by waiting in the pocket and flicking the ball to Aaron Hernandez for a 1-yard score with 10 seconds remaining in the period.
Henne's 9-yard scoring run capped the Dolphins' first season-opening drive for a touchdown in 11 years, giving Miami the early lead. New England answered quickly, Brady's 46-yard pass to Matthew Slater setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
New England took the lead 51 seconds into the second quarter, Brady finding Rob Gronkowski with a 10-yard touchdown pass ' the 262nd of the Patriots quarterback's career, moving him past Dave Krieg into 10th on the NFL list.
Brady got all 50 votes in last season's balloting for The Associated Press MVP award, the first person to be selected unanimously since media members began choosing the winner.
Henne ' like Brady a former Michigan starter ' was 16 for 22, good for 233 yards through three quarters.
Monday's winner would keep pace with Buffalo and the New York Jets in the AFC East. Both opened with victories Sunday.
The Patriots lost center Dan Koppen with 1:18 left in the half with an injured left ankle. Koppen was carted off the field and taken for X-rays.
The Dolphins had a star-studded series of pregame ceremonies, including orange-carpet arrivals for the likes of Fergie ' a limited partner with the organization ' and Hank Williams Jr. A statue of original Dolphins owner Joe Robbie was rededicated outside the stadium he built, and a flag was hoisted in honor of former Miami tight end and radio commentator Jim Mandich, who died of complications from cancer earlier this year.
And like in every stadium that hosted NFL games Sunday, the night was tinged with patriotism.
One day after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, each fan was handed an American flag upon entering the stadium. For the national anthem, 400 police officers and firefighters were invited onto the field to be recognized ' their standing formation was in the shape of the letters U-S-A ' followed by the flyover of a stealth bomber.
So on the field, there was stars and stripes power.
In the stands, there was considerable star power. Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade was in a suite, flanked by actor Will Smith, rapper Pitbull and singer Marc Anthony, another Dolphins limited partner.
The crowd stood and cheered when Miami converted a fourth-and-1 from the New England 21 on the opening drive, one capped by Henne getting just the second touchdown rushing of his career on a quarterback draw. A spectacular one-handed catch by tight end Anthony Fasano helped set up the Miami score.
But Brady, as always, was precise ' and had a quick answer.
He completed his first eight passes Monday, and the touchdown to Gronkowski marked his 17th straight game with a scoring pass, two shy of his team record. Also chasing a piece of Patriots history is Welker, who now has catches in 62 straight regular-season games, one away from the team mark owned by former tight end Ben Coates.
The Patriots beat the Dolphins twice, both easily, last season: 41-14 in Miami, then 38-7 in Foxborough.