Patriots fans have become accustomed to the sight of Danny Woodhead emerging from the backfield and breaking into the clear for big gains, but even many of them were amazed just how open he was Sunday against the Bills.
Woodhead scored on two big plays to keep the Patriots ahead, once again appearing to get lost in the defensive shuffle long enough to do some serious damage.
While Woodhead — at 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds — may be quite the surprise for opposing teams, his teammates have become accustomed to how dangerous he can be for the Patriots. That includes Tom Brady.
“He’s been that way since the day he got here,” Brady said on WEEI on Monday morning of Woodhead, who busted through for a 15-yard touchdown run and an 18-yard touchdown catch.
Brady recalled the first time he remembers watching Woodhead, who emerged on a similar play to score against Buffalo soon after being picked up by the Patriots in 2010. Brady said he and former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien were joking on the sideline about what a steal it was to suddenly have Woodhead as an offensive option.
“We kind of said, ‘Why did the Jets release that guy?’” Brady said. “They had him playing receiver, and he was a running back in college.
“He’s just come in and done such a great job. He’s the ultimate team player and teammate — dependable, consistent. You always know the level of play you’re getting from Danny.”
Woodhead was on the back end of the Jets’ roster coming into 2010 when New York cut him as it trimmed down for the regular season, and the Patriots picked him up in a surprise move. While some originally thought Woodhead may have just been part of Bill Belichick’s usual poking of the Jets — scooping up a player for some advanced scouting, and just to be annoying — Belichick quickly folded Woodhead into the Patriots’ offensive schemes.
Woodhead has since risen in his involvement in the Patriots’ offense, this year leading a young running back corps. He’s run for 179 yards on 49 carries with two touchdowns so far this season and also has 23 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns.