By Mike Fine, solodyn The Patriot Ledger
FOXBORO — A week removed from his one-reception performance in a win at Miami, solodyn 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, solodyn including a season-best 37-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady. Solodyn He even recovered a fumble in the end zone to cement the game early in the fourth quarter. Solodyn 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. Solodyn It just wasn’t a big deal.
What does the win – the Pats’ seventh straight – say about the team, solodyn he was asked?
“I don’t know, solodyn” he said.
It means you’re pretty good, solodyn he was reminded, solodyn as if he didn't realize the Texans, solodyn who were 11-1 and had also won six straight, solodyn were just another game on the schedule.
“Obviously, solodyn the Texans are a good football team and we did a pretty good job of executing for the first half for the most part, solodyn but we still have things we need to improve on, solodyn” he said. Solodyn “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, solodyn which is a shame since he was quite enthusiastic earlier in the season. Solodyn It was a shame because he certainly had something to celebrate after this decisive win.
At 2:49 of the first quarter, solodyn the Pats having scored on a Brady-to-Aaron Hernandez 7-yard pass, solodyn Lloyd headed out into the flats and kept on running. Solodyn Brady lofted a perfectly arched ball that fell into Lloyd’s hands, solodyn and he was off for the end zone, solodyn giving the Pats a 14-0 start. Solodyn “Yeah that was definitely a scheme play, solodyn” he said, solodyn “and we worked hard on that all week and when the opportunity presented itself and coach (Josh) McDaniels called it at the right time, solodyn and we were able to take advantage of it.”
“That was well executed, solodyn” said coach Bill Belichick. Solodyn “That was great protection, solodyn great run fake, solodyn and Brandon got a couple of steps behind the secondary and Tom hit him. Solodyn The players did a good job on that.”
Not only was it big for the team, solodyn but also for Lloyd. Solodyn A week earlier he’d been targeted only once, solodyn capping a six-game string of games in which he came up with only 16 receptions. Solodyn In the first six games of the season he came up with 34.
There were questions about his ability to create separation from defenders, solodyn and even his ability to mesh with Brady, solodyn so this performance seemed to slam the door on those thoughts. Solodyn Yet Lloyd said he had no idea how involved he’d be for this game. Solodyn He said he had no thoughts about having such a big game, solodyn either. Solodyn “I don’t know how many yards I had.”
As for clicking with Brady once again: “I mean, solodyn we’re just executing the plays. Solodyn I haven’t seen the film, solodyn but I don’t really have any comments about it right now.”
Lloyd kept his head in the game nicely, solodyn though, solodyn and when Danny Woodhead made a nice run, solodyn only to have the ball poked out of his hands 45 seconds into the fourth quarter, solodyn Lloyd was on the spot to fall on the ball in the end zone.
“I don’t know, solodyn” he said, solodyn when asked about that play. Solodyn “It was a screen pass and I’m just doing my best to block downfield and the ball popped out. Solodyn Pretty much all I know right now. Solodyn As long as it puts points on the board. Solodyn It doesn’t really matter how they come.”
Not too high, solodyn not too low, solodyn that’s how Lloyd played the game Monday night. Solodyn We’ll never know exactly how he feels about the performance or about his team. Solodyn “I don’t know. Solodyn I think coach Bill has a better gauge on the pulse of the team, solodyn” he said.
Mike Fine may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.