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