FOXBORO, Mass. — It took all of seven-and-a-half minutes for Chris Hogan to find the end zone in his first game as a New England Patriot.
The former Buffalo Bills wide receiver made a strong first impression with his new club Sunday night, hauling in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo on the Patriots’ first offensive possession.
Hogan went on to catch two more passes from Garoppolo as New England upset the Arizona Cardinals 23-21 in Week 1 of the NFL season.
“You couldn’t have scripted that any better,” Hogan said Wednesday. “It was pretty exciting. I was happy that we were able to jump off to a good start, and Jimmy obviously played really well in the game.”
Next up for Hogan, who developed a strong rapport with Garoppolo during the preseason, is the Patriots’ home opener against the Miami Dolphins — an opponent he knows well from his three seasons in Buffalo.
“I’m pretty pumped,” Hogan said. “I was excited for preseason, so I can’t even imagine what regular season (will be like). I’m probably going to have to dial back my feelings going into this game so I don’t get overly excited. But I’m more than excited. Especially coming in here and playing the Dolphins, a team that in the past was always fun playing (against).”
Having spent his entire career in the AFC East, Hogan is well aware of how difficult it is to win in Foxboro. The Bills’ only win at New England since 2000 came in the 2014 regular-season finale (when the Pats were in full “rest everyone” mode), and the Dolphins haven’t beaten the Patriots on the road since the famed “Wildcat” game in 2008.
“It’s tough,” Hogan said. “It’s a tough place to play. We know how good the Patriots are — or how good we are. So obviously, these teams — Miami, Buffalo, the (New York) Jets — I’m sure that they put a lot of time into these games and preparing for the Patriots.”
Thumbnail photo via Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports Images