The New England Patriots struggled to move the chains to start the game, but after three consecutive three-and-outs, the Pats offense began to show some life in the Week 3 matchup.
The rookie receivers finally began to show signs of creating chemistry with Tom Brady against Tampa Bay, and Brandon Bolden returned to the field for the first time this season, enjoying a breakout performance.
Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Bolden all came up big with clutch plays against the Bucs, but whose performance was most encouraging on Sunday afternoon?
Thompkins seemed to find his groove in his third week of NFL action, and he was rewarded to the tune of his first career NFL touchdown in the second quarter. His second touchdown of the day quickly followed minutes later. The undrafted rookie recorded three catches for 41 yards on the afternoon and provided the boost in the red zone the Pats had been desperately missing.
Bolden showed his versatility on Sunday, making huge plays through the air and on the ground. The second-year back proved he can be a worthy fill-in for Shane Vereen with his pass-catching abilities, and he finished the game with 49 yards on five catches. Bolden also provided a spark in the run game, as he broke free for a 46-yard run in the third quarter — the longest run of his career.
After struggling mightily and dropping four passes in his NFL debut against the Jets, Dobson turned in a solid bounce-back performance on Sunday. The rookie showed immense improvement as he caught seven passes for 52 yards, with four of those catches going for first downs.