Iconic quarterback Brady secured three first-half touchdowns for the Patriots to lead 24-3 at half-time at Gillette Stadium, although one was for rushing – his first since the 2015 playoffs.
He threw for touchdowns to Cordarrelle Patterson and James White while, despite Julian Edelman’s return, spread his passes with seven different Patriots players catching passes in the first 30 minutes.
His performance dropped in the second half, throwing for two interceptions, but he finally reached the illustrious 500-landmark by throwing to Josh Gordon in the fourth quarter, joining esteemed company in Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Colts icon Manning, who also spent three seasons with the Denver Broncos, threw a league-record 539 passes while Brady is close to surpassing Green Bay Packers legend Favre, who recorded 508.
Brady is the first player in history to make 500 passing touchdowns with one team having spent his entire career with the Patriots since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 draft.
His pass to Gordon also broke another major record, becoming the outright leader for most regular season touchdown targets by overtaking Vinny Tastaverde.
Wide receiver Gordon became the 71st different player to benefit from Brady’s brilliance on a 39-yard pass with 9:19 left of the final quarter.
And in another record – albeit a lesser one – Brady’s return meant he surpassed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for the most regular-season touchdown passes in a single stadium.
He now has 238 at Gillette Stadium, two more than Brees’ 236 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, while Favre is third on 214 at the Packers’ Lambeau Field.
After his one-yard rushing touchdown, Brady is also just 17 yards short of reaching 1,000 rushing yards for his 19-season career.
Including the playoffs – which are not taken into account in NFL records – Brady now has 571 touchdown passes, with Manning boasting 579.
His 500th pass followed a recent claim from NFL expert Neil Reynolds that coach Bill Belichick could be ready to axe the 41-year-old sooner than expected.
“Belichick is cold enough to move on from Brady,” Reynolds told Express Sport this week.
“But Robert Kraft absolutely loves Brady and has already said he will get to call his terms and call when he wants to leave.
“I think Belichick would move on from Brady before Brady was willing to go.
“But I say that they leave together – I’ll get on the fence.
“There’s too much… the owner would get involved and keep Brady around.
“They probably do end up riding off into the sunset together.”