FOXBORO, Mass. — Brandon Lloyd had seemingly taken the shape of Casper the friendly ghost of late. For several games, he was simply nowhere to be found. But he made that misconception disappear Monday night.
After seeing a season-low one target against the Dolphins last week, Lloyd became Tom Brady‘s go-to guy back home in Foxboro.
Lloyd led the Patriots in most receiving categories, putting together his best game in a Patriots uniform as New England routed the visiting Texans 42-14. He finished the game with seven catches, 89 yards and a touchdown.
Statistically speaking, those aren’t Lloyd’s best numbers in a game this year. But realistically, Lloyd hasn’t played any better than he did Monday.
After the game, the star receiver wouldn’t take any credit for his performance. Instead, in true Patriot fashion, Lloyd made sure to push all of his praise toward his teammates.
“I think we had a great week of practice, and we did the things that were necessary to come out and execute well,” Lloyd said. “It was a team effort.”
Lloyd’s biggest play of the night was also one that has eluded him all season. After pulling down one ball for a 14-yard gain early in the game, a play Lloyd is known best for in New England, the deep connection finally formed between him and Brady.
Late in the first quarter, Lloyd went streaking down the middle of the field, flying by the Texans’ defense, and hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass to put the Patriots up 14-0. Even with the big play, though, Lloyd deferred all the attention onto the team.
“That was definitely a scheme play, and we worked hard on that all week,” Lloyd said. “When the opportunity presented itself, coach [Josh] McDaniels called it at the right time, and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Whether he recognized it or not, the catch was Lloyd’s longest of the season — a thought that would have seemed preposterous in April. But even more important than the grab itself was the impact the catch had on his connection with Brady — a sentiment Brady acknowledged after the win.
“He had a great game, made some real critical plays and catches. I have a ton of confidence in him. I’m not worried about that,” Brady said. “I have a lot of confidence in Brandon. He did a great job.”
Lloyd came to New England expected to be the deep threat Brady wanted. That notion has obviously shifted since the start of the season, but Monday’s game at least proved that he is definitely still capable.
The marriage between Lloyd and the Patriots hasn’t exactly gotten out to the fiery start many had envisioned, but the 31-year-old wideout remains an important playmaker in this offense, and even more so now without Julian Edelman.
There are still three games left in the season, and at least one more after that. So, while timing has been an issue for Lloyd all season, the timing of his emergence in the Patriots’ offense might be just right.