Officially, Tom Brady has a "sore shoulder," the result of being crushed to the turf by massive Albert Haynesworth. It caused enough discomfort for him to spend quite a while on the bench flexing and rotating his throwing arm, trying to work out whatever kinks where there.
It could be nothing. It could be something. Actually, anything that involves Tom Brady is always something, especially in a season in which he's trying to come back from a major knee injury.
Brady hurt his shoulder in the New England Patriots' 27-24 victory over the Washington Redskins on Friday night. It was late in the first half when he was pressed to the ground by All-Pro defensive tackle Haynesworth after a third down incomplete pass.
"Anytime someone 350 pounds falls on him, it's going to hurt him," New England right tackle Matt Light said. "You just know it's part of the game, and Tom's been through it before and you know he can take it."
Brady went to the bench, where he stretched his arm repeatedly as the half came to a close and again after returning from the locker room after halftime.
Brady did not play in the second half, even though most of the first-team offense returned for the first drive of the third quarter. He then left the sideline and returned to the locker room.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots announced Brady's injury as a sore shoulder, a diagnosis that gave coach Bill Belichick a twitch in his both of his shoulders. The Patriots coach was his classic self, displaying the annoyed shrug so familiar when anyone asks him about an injury. Despite the team's announcement, Belichick said Brady had only "some bumps and bruises, just like everybody else who played in the game." He also said that he had not planned for Brady to play any of the second half.
Brady did not speak to reporters after the game.
If one assumes Brady is fine, he has to feel good about his performance. He and counterpart Jason Campbell put on a regular season show in preseason, combining for 359 yards, six scoring drives and no interceptions.
In the game that traditionally serves as the dress rehearsal for the real stuff that begins in two weeks, Brady went 12 for 19 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Randy Moss had his way with the Redskins secondary, catching six passes for 90 yards and both of Brady's TDs.
Campbell had been feeling the heat after a 4-for-13 start to the preseason, including 1 for 7 last week, with no touchdowns in either game from the first-team offense. On Friday, he played the first half and first drive of the second half, finishing a hot-and-cold 13 for 22 for 209 yards.
Asked if he'd answered his critics, Campbell said: "It's never enough. It will be something. Next week it will be that he didn't hit the big ball to Santana (Moss)."
He paused for a beat, laughed and said: "Nah, I was just joking. It really doesn't bother me at all."
Campbell went 4 for 4 on the opening drive, then had three straight three-and-outs before another scoring drive that featured a 73-yard completion to tight end Chris Cooley, who kept his balance along the sideline to take the ball inside the 10. Campbell finished the drive with a 4-yard run after a nice move that faked out linebacker Paris Lenon.
"I was very pleased," coach Jim Zorn said. "He was very much into the game. He was competing hard and doing the things that you want. We missed on a couple of long ones, but he came back and was running the show."
Brady and Campbell played to a 17-17 draw. Then came the backups _ and a trio of interceptions _ before the game was decided by Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining.
New England's Kevin O'Connell, contending for the No. 2 job, was intercepted twice. Washington's Colt Brennan, trying to stay on the roster, was picked off for the third straight game, this one returned 99 yards for a touchdown by Jonathan Wilhite. Brennan helped redeem himself with a 33-yard touchdown pass to rookie Marko Mitchell, who moved closer to securing a roster spot as the No. 5 receiver.
NOTES: An unsightly breach of patriotic etiquette: Redskins FB Mike Sellers, carrying the American flag onto the field during pregame introductions, flung the Stars and Stripes onto the ground near the 50-yard line. After a few seconds, LB Robert Hanson walked over and rescued the flag off the turf. ... Redskins injuries: S Kareem Moore (hamstring) and RB Marcus Mason (bruised rib). CB Carlos Rogers (calf), KR-RB Rock Cartwright and T Mike Williams (ankle) did not dress. ... Notable inactives for the Patriots: CB Shawn Springs, WR Wes Welker and DE Richard Seymour and RBs Faulk and Morris. CB Darius Butler was helped off the field in the first half.