New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick aren’t expecting another blowout when their team faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.
The Patriots (4-2) crushed the Tennessee Titans 59-0 in the snow last Sunday, and they’ll play a team this weekend that is 0-6 so far this season.
“Last week was one of those games where a lot of things went right for us,” Belichick said at The Oval cricket stadium, where the Patriots practiced Friday. “(It’s) very unusual to have a game like that. I’ll be lucky if I’ll see another one of those in my entire career.
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“We don’t really care about last week anymore. We’re on to trying to defend and move the ball against Tampa and handle their kicking game.”
Brady missed almost all of last season with a knee injury, but he is back this season and threw six touchdown passes last Sunday against the Titans.
“I like we’re our team’s at. Keep practicing hard and keep making improvements,” Brady said. “Whatever we did last week, you take the good from it, you understand the things you did well.”
The NFL is playing a regular-season game in the British capital for the third straight year, and commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday he expects the league to start playing multiple regular-season games in Britain in the next few years.
The Patriots arrived in London early Friday morning, giving them only one full day in London on Saturday before the game at Wembley, the home of England’s national football team and host stadium for the 1948 Olympics.
“It’s one of the best known stadiums in Europe,” said Patriots linebacker Sebastian Vollmer, who is from Germany and noted that England won the 1966 World Cup final at the iconic venue. “Germany lost, but I think it’s going to be good. Really good.”
Last year, the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers spent almost a week in London getting acclimated to the time change, but the Patriots and Buccaneers left it late – much like the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins did two years ago.
“What we tried to do was to get all our work done in New England, all our preparation,” Belichick said of the late arrival. “We tried to cram three days … into 2 1/2 (before arriving).”
Now that they’re in Britain, the team’s schedule will be easy until game time, with only a light practice at The Oval on Friday afternoon and a walkthrough at Wembley on Saturday. That will give the players some free time, if they want it.
Patriots linebacker Junior Seau said he wanted to go see “something that’s within a mile. Then I’m going to go back and take a nap.”
Seau said it was his first time in London, and he wasn’t at all upset that the fans back in the United States wouldn’t get to see the Patriots and Buccaneers play there this Sunday. Tampa Bay gave up a home game to play at Wembley.
“They’ve seen enough of us live,” Seau said. “It’s time for us to come to London.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who called himself an Anglophile and said he is a regular at Wimbledon’s tennis tournament, was also happy with the decision to send his team to London for a game.
“When you get to Wimbledon and the have an opportunity to own a team that’s going to play at Wembley, that’s pretty cool,” Kraft said. “I’m looking forward to that.”
American football is not nearly as popular in London as the English version, but Wembley has still been packing in the NFL fans over the last few years. Many will be there this year to see Brady, one of the greatest to ever play the game. But despite being relatively anonymous in London, he still doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Americans, they recognize me,” Brady said with a smile.