The New England Patriots have a lot of depth at wide receiver this preseason and competition for a roster spot is stiff.
Maurice Harris and Jakobi Meyers both started their campaigns for a roster spot on a high note, snagging touchdown passes from Brian Hoyer to cap off consecutive scoring drives. Meyers would grab another late in the half, this time from Jarrett Stidham.
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The rookie quarterback, celebrating his 23rd birthday, hooked up with Meyers over the middle on a strong crossing route. The play came as a result of an interception by defensive end John Simon a few plays earlier.
Stidham got his first drive started late in the second quarter, running for a first down on 3rd & 10 to keep the drive alive. The first Patriots’ player to wear number-4 since Adam Vinatieri, he kept his cool on his first-career drive despite some pressure by the Lions.
Following the touchdown by Meyers, Stidham failed on a two-point conversion, throwing the bootleg out of the back of the endzone.
Hoyah The Destroyah!
Brian Hoyer had a strong start to his preseason, going 12 for 14 with 147 yards and two touchdowns, finding Harris and Meyers on consecutive drives.
The first scoring drive started in Lions territory after a 14-yard punt return by Braxton Berrios, another Patriots receiver. Brian Hoyer finished the six-play, 47-yard drive with a 14-yard strike to a back-peddling Harris in tight coverage.
Brian Hoyer connected with undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers on the next drive. New England trekked 87 yards in 13 plays and nearly eight minutes, as an accurate Brian Hoyer connected with Meyers over the middle.
Meyers had been making waves out of training camp, taking reps with the first-team offense and Tom Brady. And on Thursday, it was apparent why. He made five catches for 52 yards in the first half on seven targets, including those two touchdown passes.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Meyers climbing so high on the depth chart this early into the preseason, though it’s encouraging to see how far he has already come in such little time in one of the most difficult offenses.
He wasn’t the only Patriots’ pass-catcher to make plays. N’Keal Harry had a couple big time catches, including a 25-yard grab along the sideline. Tight-end Matt LaCosse also had a couple strong grabs over the middle. Both, however, limped off injured.
While Harry came into the night nursing a hamstring injury suffered on Tuesday, LaCosse suffered the apparent leg injury in Thursday’s game. It would be a tough spot for the Patriots to be down a man at an already thin position, especially given LaCosse is the projected Week 1 starter at tight end.
In all, eight different Patriots had a reception during the first half against Detroit. Coming out of halftime on the Patriots television broadcast, Belichick credited the good pass protection by New England when discussing the strong quarterback play. He was also content with several different receivers making big plays when needed.