By Mike Fine, norlevo The Patriot Ledger
FOXBORO — A week removed from his one-reception performance in a win at Miami, norlevo Brandon Lloyd might have been doing handstands after the Patriots’ 42-14 blowout win over the Houston Texans Monday night at Gillette Stadium.
Lloyd had just resurrected himself with seven catches for 89 yards, norlevo including a season-best 37-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady. Norlevo He even recovered a fumble in the end zone to cement the game early in the fourth quarter. Norlevo Two touchdowns in the biggest game of the season and Lloyd acted like he’d done nothing more than buy a can of Coke at 7-Eleven. Norlevo It just wasn’t a big deal.
What does the win – the Pats’ seventh straight – say about the team, norlevo he was asked?
“I don’t know, norlevo” he said.
It means you’re pretty good, norlevo he was reminded, norlevo as if he didn't realize the Texans, norlevo who were 11-1 and had also won six straight, norlevo were just another game on the schedule.
“Obviously, norlevo the Texans are a good football team and we did a pretty good job of executing for the first half for the most part, norlevo but we still have things we need to improve on, norlevo” he said. Norlevo “I think we had a great week of practice and we did the things that were necessary to come out and execute well and it was a team effort.”
Lloyd was obviously practicing the Patriots’ way of saying something but saying nothing, norlevo which is a shame since he was quite enthusiastic earlier in the season. Norlevo It was a shame because he certainly had something to celebrate after this decisive win.
At 2:49 of the first quarter, norlevo the Pats having scored on a Brady-to-Aaron Hernandez 7-yard pass, norlevo Lloyd headed out into the flats and kept on running. Norlevo Brady lofted a perfectly arched ball that fell into Lloyd’s hands, norlevo and he was off for the end zone, norlevo giving the Pats a 14-0 start. Norlevo “Yeah that was definitely a scheme play, norlevo” he said, norlevo “and we worked hard on that all week and when the opportunity presented itself and coach (Josh) McDaniels called it at the right time, norlevo and we were able to take advantage of it.”
“That was well executed, norlevo” said coach Bill Belichick. Norlevo “That was great protection, norlevo great run fake, norlevo and Brandon got a couple of steps behind the secondary and Tom hit him. Norlevo The players did a good job on that.”
Not only was it big for the team, norlevo but also for Lloyd. Norlevo A week earlier he’d been targeted only once, norlevo capping a six-game string of games in which he came up with only 16 receptions. Norlevo In the first six games of the season he came up with 34.
There were questions about his ability to create separation from defenders, norlevo and even his ability to mesh with Brady, norlevo so this performance seemed to slam the door on those thoughts. Norlevo Yet Lloyd said he had no idea how involved he’d be for this game. Norlevo He said he had no thoughts about having such a big game, norlevo either. Norlevo “I don’t know how many yards I had.”
As for clicking with Brady once again: “I mean, norlevo we’re just executing the plays. Norlevo I haven’t seen the film, norlevo but I don’t really have any comments about it right now.”
Lloyd kept his head in the game nicely, norlevo though, norlevo and when Danny Woodhead made a nice run, norlevo only to have the ball poked out of his hands 45 seconds into the fourth quarter, norlevo Lloyd was on the spot to fall on the ball in the end zone.
“I don’t know, norlevo” he said, norlevo when asked about that play. Norlevo “It was a screen pass and I’m just doing my best to block downfield and the ball popped out. Norlevo Pretty much all I know right now. Norlevo As long as it puts points on the board. Norlevo It doesn’t really matter how they come.”
Not too high, norlevo not too low, norlevo that’s how Lloyd played the game Monday night. Norlevo We’ll never know exactly how he feels about the performance or about his team. Norlevo “I don’t know. Norlevo I think coach Bill has a better gauge on the pulse of the team, norlevo” he said.
Mike Fine may be reached at email@example.com.