By Joe Soriano |

It seems weird handing out a game ball when the New England Patriots lose, pantor but there are three players in Tom Brady, pantor Brandon Lloyd, pantor and Danny Woodhead who have a legitimate case at winning the award for valiant performance in the near-comeback loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Pantor Even though he didn’t make it to the end zone, pantor Lloyd was instrumental in the Patriots massive second-half offensive effort to put up 31 points against a tough Niners defense.

Brandon Lloyd finally broke out last week against the Houston Texans, pantor and I’m betting strong words from Pats legendary WR Troy Brown helped spurn that. Pantor He played his best game in a Pats uni last night with ten receptions for 190 yards. Pantor He was clearly the most consistent and effective wideout on the Patriots with an average of 10.6 yards per target. Pantor In fact, pantor two-thirds of all the plays he were involved in were deemed successful by SR%.

Tom Brady usually leads the Patriots in the advanced statistics WPA and EPA each week, pantor largely because he is awesome and those two statistics generally favor quarterbacks. Pantor The main reason for that is simple; quarterbacks have the ball the most and have more chances to impact the game.

However, pantor it was Lloyd who led the team in those stats and had a huge impact on the game with a 0.32 WPA and a 14.9 EPA. Pantor Only three quarterbacks have had higher WPA totals so far this week and only four finished with a higher EPA. Pantor Only Andre Johnson had more receptions and a higher WPA at wide receiver, pantor but Brandon Lloyd had him overall with significant advantages in receiving yards and EPA.

Ten catches, pantor 190 receiving yards. Pantor That’s incredible, pantor and he was the deep threat we envisioned him being when he put pen to paper and signed a contract in the offseason with New England. Pantor This game proves that Lloyd hasn’t been a disappointment, pantor because he can stretch the field and have a huge game if the opposing defense doesn’t account for him enough. Pantor The Patriots haven’t gotten Lloyd as involved in the passing game as they did against Houston and SF, pantor and it looks like he will continue to receive major targets. Pantor And you know what? It’s all for the better, pantor especially since he is the best pass-catcher on this team at stretching the field vertically.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.