Brady's masterpiece carries Pats over Dolphins

New England Patriots' Tom Brady throws against the Miami Dolphins. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)

New England Patriots' Tom Brady throws against the Miami Dolphins. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)

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, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

MIAMI - Tom Brady started the 2011 campaign right where he left off the 2010 regular season, with an epic, MVP-type performance.

Brady threw for a New England team-record 517 yards in a 38-24 win over the Dolphins.

The no-huddle offense implemented by the Patriots shredded Miami's defense and Brady's offensive line gave him more than ample time. The league's reigning MVP, who connected on 32-of-48 passes with four touchdowns, compiled the fifth-most passing yards in an NFL game.

When Brady connected with Wes Welker on a 99-yard TD pass with 5:44 remaining, it gave him 511 yards on the night, moving him past the team mark of 426 set by Drew Bledsoe on November 13, 1994 in a 26-20 overtime win over the Vikings.

Coming off his second NFL MVP award, Brady also topped his former record for longest pass in team history. That was a 91-yarder from him to David Patten in a contest against Indianapolis on October 21, 2001.

The 99-yard pass to Welker, which came down the left sideline and tied an NFL record, moved the Patriots to a 38-17 lead, just after the Dolphins failed on a fourth-down pass in the end zone.

Welker stiff-armed Dolphins cornerback Bennie Sapp, giving the Patriots a commanding lead, on the way to their eighth straight season-opening win.

"Not the defensive performance that we were hoping for," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "They had almost 700 yards of offense. That's an understatement."

To be exact, New England had 622 yards and Brady had the most single-game passing yardage in Monday Night Football history. The all-time record is 554 yards, set by Norm Van Brocklin of the Los Angeles Rams in a September 28, 1951 contest vs. the New York Yanks.

Welker had eight catches for 160 yards and a pair of scores. Tight end Aaron Hernandez complemented the attack with seven grabs for 103 yards and a TD for the Patriots (1-0), who went a league-best 14-2 last year, but were upset by the Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Dolphins (0-1), coming off their second straight 7-9 campaign, got 416 yards passing from Chad Henne. He threw for a pair of scores on 30-of-49 efficiency with one interception on the game's final play.

Brandon Marshall had 139 yards on seven receptions. Reggie Bush, who was traded from New Orleans to Miami in the offseason, caught a TD pass and ended with nine catches for 56 yards, and 11 rushes for 38 yards.

The result for the Patriots was tempered by the loss of veteran center Dan Koppen, who broke his left ankle in the second quarter.

"We're certainly going to miss him," said Brady. "Some other guys have step in and do the job. That's part of what this game is all about."


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