The first touchdown of the season for the New England Patriots was a beauty.
Quarterback Tom Brady, playing in the first game of his 20th NFL season, connected with Josh Gordon over the middle for a 20-yard score. Gordon caught a pass on the run in a crossing route, then bounced off a pair of tackles inside the five to find the endzone.
Gordon, who was reinstated from his indefinite suspension in the middle of August, has worked hard to find his way back onto the field and an opening touchdown should do wonders for his confidence. In typical Gordon fashion, he proved to be difficult to tackle in open field.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Brady, meanwhile, has a special connection with Gordon. The two linked up last October for Brady’s 500th career touchdown pass. The same play made Gordon Brady’s 71st different recipient of a touchdown pass throughout the legendary quarterback’s career, an NFL record.
The Patriots employed a little razzle-dazzle on their scoring drive. It ended with a Flash, and the play prior was a pass to and from a Golden Flash.
New England used its vaunted and patented double pass play to get into the red zone. Brady found Julian Edelman, the former Kent State quarterback, who caught a backwards pass and threw another long screen pass to running back James White who took the pass 32 yards into striking distance.
It’s a similar play to one the Patriots ran against the Green Bay Packers last season also at home and on Sunday Night Football. It was the exact same combination and almost the exact same trajectory of passes. Brady found Edelman open on the right before he tossed it back to White on the left side of the field for a big gain.
Of course, Edelman’s most famous passing play came in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff against the Baltimore Ravens. Down a touchdown, Edelman took the pass on the left side and heaved it to Danny Amendola who caught it in stride for the touchdown.
The Patriots have run double passes for years, the most memorable one came against the Steelers in 2007 against Pittsburgh. It didn’t go smoothly, but Brady hit Randy Moss on the right, then back to Brady on the left who aired it out downfield to Jabar Gaffney for the touchdown.
The touchdown catch was Gordon’s fourth with the Patriots, all coming at Gillette Stadium. His first was the 500th for Brady against Indianapolis last season.
He also caught touchdowns in home games against the Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. Gordon has had the most success in his career against the Steelers. In seven games heading into Sunday, he had 569 receiving yards and two touchdowns. His 35 career catches against Pittsburgh are also 17 more than he has against any other NFL team.
Gordon is looking to rekindle the success he had during his Pro Bowl campaign in 2013 when he had more than 1,600 receiving yards in just 14 games, one of the best seasons by a receiver in NFL history.