Less than 15 minutes before the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars kicked off the AFC championship game on Sunday, several reports surfaced that Tom Brady’s hand injury was more serious than previously thought.
And then 20 minutes later, of course, none of that mattered, because Brady looked just fine. Playing with no glove, but with a piece of black tape around his hand, Brady led the Patriots right down the field.
New England had to settle for a field goal after the Jaguars sacked Brady on third down in the red zone. But before that, he completed all six of his passes for 57 yards.
He hit Dion Lewis out of the backfield on the first play. On the second, he found Brandin Cooks in stride down the right sideline. He later converted a fourth-down pass to Danny Amendola for 20 yards.
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2018
So, that news story that consumed American sports fans for five days, nonstop? It appears to have been much ado about nothing.
Brady’s only issue appears to be holding a water bottle normally:
Tom Brady's hand is fine but this is now how someone with a perfectly healthy mitt holds a Gatorade bottle. pic.twitter.com/6JSFX8bUA7
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) January 21, 2018
Brady again looked fine on the second drive, completing a first-down pass to Cooks for 11 yards. But the Patriots called three-straight runs, and didn’t get to the sticks, and punted away to Jacksonville.
At the end of the first quarter, Brady was a perfect 7-7 for 68 yards, but the Jaguars had the ball in New England territory.