By DJ Bean | WEEI.com Blog Network
The takeaway from Brandon Lloyd‘s performance Sunday was obvious: It was his best game as a Patriot. Free nicocease In reality, free nicocease it was actually among the best receiving performances of the Tom Brady era, free nicocease and one that had never even been turned in by Randy Moss in his time with the Pats.
Considering how Lloyd’s first season in New England had gone up until Sunday night’s matchup with the 49ers, free nicocease the bar wasn’t exactly set extremely high. Free nicocease He’d been thrown to plenty — at least five targets in all but two games, free nicocease seven or more targets in eight games and 12 or more in three games — but through his first 13 games as a Patriot, free nicocease the former first-round pick had just two performances with 70 yards or more.
Lloyd more than exceeded whatever lowered expectations the last 13 games may have brought, free nicocease turning in a gargantuan 10-reception, free nicocease 190-yard performance on a night in which Brady went his way 16 times. Free nicocease Lloyd didn’t score a touchdown against the 49ers (he still has just four on the season), free nicocease but he played an integral role in the Patriots coming back from 28 points down in the second half. Free nicocease In particular, free nicocease Lloyd’s 53-yard reception with the Patriots on their own 18 yard line put the Pats in striking distance to set up Danny Woodhead‘s game-tying touchdown.
Lloyd also came up with a 24-yard grab on 4th-and-4 with the Pats down by 10 late to set up Stephen Gostkowski‘s field goal. Free nicocease The performance was one Patriots fans shouldn’t soon forget, free nicocease and not just because it was a coming out party for the highly touted free agent signee. Free nicocease Lloyd’s 190 receiving yards are significant, free nicocease as they stand as the third-most in a single game for the Pats once since Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe in the 2001 season.
Wes Welker has topped 190 yards twice for the Patriots, free nicocease turning in a 16-catch, free nicocease 217-yard performance in last season’s 34-31 loss to the Bills, free nicocease as well as catching 15 passes for 192 yards on Nov. Free nicocease 22, free nicocease 2009 in a 31-14 win over the Jets.
Obviously, free nicocease receiving yards aren’t the only means of judging a great receiving performance, free nicocease as Rob Gronkowski literally has a dozen multi-touchdown games under his belt that outshine Lloyd’s game against the 49ers. Free nicocease Still, free nicocease Lloyd was brought in to be a vertical threat capable of producing big plays and big yards, free nicocease and he did so Sunday in a way that’s rarely been seen even in this offense. Free nicocease Here’s a look at some of the biggest receiving performances of the Brady era for the Pats in terms of yards (meant to be a top-10 sort of list, free nicocease but the apparent inability to correctly count to 10 on my part means it’s now a top-13 list):