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Tom Brady enjoying ‘normal’ week of preparation

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) was named AFC offensive player of the week for his performance against the Browns.BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF

FOXBOROUGH — As Tom Brady peeled away from a play-action fake that fooled nearly the entire Cleveland defense Sunday, Carl Nassib held his ground.

The Browns’ left defensive end didn’t bite and try to track down LeGarrette Blount the way most of his teammates did. Instead, Nassib waited as Brady curled back into the pocket. Lucky for the Patriots quarterback, David Andrews held his ground, too.

The second-year center kicked out and kept Nassib at a safe distance to provide a perfect cushion for Brady, who surveyed the field before launching a deep pass that Chris Hogan dived for and hauled in at the 7-yard line for a 43-yard gain. As the Patriots charged toward Hogan to celebrate, Brady and Andrews exchanged a nod and pointed toward each other as if to say “job well down.’’

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“I never thought anything of it,’’ said Andrews. “I was just out there playing. Whenever the quarterback makes a long throw, I’m probably going to be excited about it. One step closer to a score.’’

Three plays (or steps) later, the Patriots extended their lead to 23-7 on the second of Martellus Bennett’s three touchdown receptions, providing more excitement and reason for Brady and Andrews to celebrate.

It was one of three touchdown passes for Brady in his return to action after his four-game Deflategate suspension. Though there was a noticeable buzz in the Cleveland air for the quarterback’s return, Andrews said he didn’t notice. From his perspective, it was no different than Weeks 1-4 when he was snapping to Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett.

“Just out there doing business,’’ Andrews said, when asked what it was like to have Brady back under center. “Whoever is back there, we’re just going to try and throw up a wall and give them time and open some holes in the run game. So to me, it doesn’t affect how we operate.’’

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Brady was nearly flawless in his return, and Wednesday was named AFC offensive player of the week after completing 28 of 40 passes for 406 yards. The bad news for opponents is that Brady is just now getting back to his normal routine.

“I think it just still feels like I’m getting into it,’’ he said. “Even last week, just kind of working my way back, and then playing. Then this week has felt . . . Monday and Tuesday . . . more normal. Hopefully that continues today.’’

Though many of the Patriots — Brady included — commented about the strong New England presence in Cleveland, the quarterback knows it’ll be a whole new ballgame — literally and figuratively — this week at Gillette Stadium.

“I look forward to playing every week, and certainly this will be a fun game. It’s always pretty fun to be out there,’’ said Brady. “We’ve always had such great support here. It’s just a great place to play, so hopefully we can make enough plays and keep them loud all game.’’

A few more deep balls to Hogan (they also connected on a 63-yarder) would surely do the trick. Hogan has given the Patriots the deep threat they lacked in recent seasons. Hogan’s ability to stretch the field surprised even Brady.

“I would say that he was the last guy that I would ever expect to get the ball on that play on the deep one on the right sideline,’’ said Brady. “But he’s in the position and he gets open, and now he gets the opportunity. You never know when your number is going to get called, so when it does you’ve got to take advantage of it.’’

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Brady was asked if working on the long ball was a point of emphasis during the offseason, including during his four-week hiatus.

“Yeah, I’ve always worked pretty hard on my mechanics and making sure I’m doing things the right way mechanically,’’ Brady said. “I think that’s translated into a lot of throws, but hopefully I can hit those ones down the field. Those are big ones. They change the whole field position. If you throw a 50-yarder, it’s five first downs. It shows up on the stat sheet a little differently, but the production is great when you’re able to kind of hit those home run balls.’’

With the Bengals in town this week, Brady was asked about their last visit to Gillette in 2014. New England’s blowout win in that matchup was a turning point in the season as it came after a blowout loss to the Chiefs on “Monday Night Football” and spurred the famous “on to Cincinnati” rallying cry.

“That was a long time ago,’’ he said. “At the end of the day, we played good. That’s what matters most — our ability to focus on that particular team, game, and opponent. That’s what we did a great job of that week, and that’s what we’re going to have to do this week, too.’’

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Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.