November 19, 2017 - 8:34 pm
Updated November 19, 2017 - 9:06 pm
MEXICO CITY — Tom Brady had a few concerns before walking into Estadio Azteca to face the Raiders on Sunday.
Losing his jersey wasn’t one of them.
“I wasn’t worried about it last time, believe me,” said Brady after a reporter asked him if his game jersey was safe.
Brady’s jersey from Super Bowl LI made headlines this year when it was stolen by a member of the Mexican media. It was later recovered.
The five-time Super Bowl champion was more concerned with the reception the Patriots were going to receive on game day.
Brady assumed the Raiders would be the fan favorites after what he saw last year from the Estadio Azteca crowd during the Raiders’ win over the Texans.
Turned out, the Patriots were just as beloved as the Silver and Black.
Chants of “Brady! Brady!” broke out during pregame warm ups. They got louder after each one of Brady’s three touchdowns during the Patriots’ dominant 33-8 victory over the Raiders.
“That was pretty cool,” Brady said of the chants. “I’ve been around for a long time. So if you’re a fan of the NFL, then you’ve probably seen me at some point.
“But it’s still an incredible experience to come here and play football in a different country and see the reception.”
Brady probably wasn’t too concerned with the Raiders’ pass coverage after completing his first 12 passes. Brady went 30 for 37 with 339 passing yards.
The biggest play of the game came during the opening second-half drive for the Patriots. Brady noticed that wide receiver Brandin Cooks had Raiders rookie Obi Melifonwu badly beat and unleashed a perfect strike to Cooks for a 64-yard touchdown.
“The guy (Melifonwu) jumped it, and he (Cooks) was pretty wide open,” Brady said. “I was just trying not to blow it. If I’d have missed that one, that would have sucked.”
It was Melifonwu’s “welcome to the NFL moment.” After battling injury most of the season, it was only Melifonwu’s second career game, and he was lined up at cornerback against Cooks. Melifonwu’s true position is safety.
Cooks torched the Raiders for 149 receiving yards on six receptions.
“I think these trips come down to whether you win or lose,” Brady said. “You remember it when you win.”
Brady won’t be forgetting his Mexico City debut.
Gilbert Manzano covers the NFL for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.