But with first-round pick N’Keal Harry active for the second time this season, the rookie made his presence known immediately with a first-quarter touchdown catch.
Following a blocked punt by New England, the Patriots took over at the Dallas 12-yard line and cashed in two plays later on Harry’s scoring grab. It wasn’t an easy catch by any means, given the tight coverage and windy, rainy conditions.
The back-shoulder grab with the ability to get both feet in bounds along the sidelines is a veteran move for such an inexperienced receiver. With no Sanu and Dorsett to work with, Harry is showing he can be a number one receiver in the NFL at such a young age.
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How Many Different Targets?
Tom Brady’s revolving door at wide receiver has been something he’s dealt with throughout his entire career. Between names like Tim Dwight, Doug Gabriel, Brandon Lloyd, and even Kenbrell Thompkins, he’s thrown to a whole host of different players.
With N’Keal Harry snaring his first touchdown from Brady, he becomes the 75th different receiver to catch a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the quarterback’s amazing career. Brady set the record last year when he threw his 500th career touchdown pass to his 71st different target, Josh Gordon, against the Indianapolis Colts.
He broke journeyman Vinny Testaverde’s record with that scoring pass and continues to extend what looks to be an unbreakable mark. Brady still hasn’t connected with fellow rookie Jakobi Meyers for a touchdown pass yet this season, and the same goes for tight end Matt LaCosse.
Antonio Brown Return Rumors Continue to Swirl
The Patriots have seen several receivers go down injured this season, creating an ever-growing narrative over whether the team will bring back exiled receiver Antonio Brown.
Released by New England in September, Brown would provide a healthy and steady presence for the Patriots in the receiving game. However, his off-field distraction unfortunately outweighed his on-field production.
There’s still a chance the Patriots “kick the tires” on a potential reunion with Brown, but that’s looking less likely by the week.
The Patriots consider the injuries to Dorsett and Sanu to be minor with both likely returning by next week at the earliest. And with both Harry and Julian Edelman playing well, the Patriots may be content to stick with what they got at the receiver position heading into the stretch run.
New England is also trying to milk more production out of its tight ends LaCosse and Ben Watson, both of whom have seen an uptick in their targets since coming off the bye week. Watson and Brady already have chemistry, while LaCosse’s blocking has improved to where he’s less of a receiving threat but still useful in that capacity.