FOXBORO, Mass. — If everything went according to plan for the New England Patriots, Jacoby Brissett probably would have gone his entire rookie season without playing a single snap.
Of course, things rarely go according to plan in the NFL.
Brissett was thrust into the spotlight Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium after a shoulder injury sidelined quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who only was starting because usual QB1 Tom Brady had been suspended for the first four games of the season.
The third-round draft pick played the final two-plus quarters of the Patriots’ 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins, completing 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards. He fumbled once — New England recovered — but otherwise took care of the ball, finishing without an interception.
“He came in, and he handled it well,” wide receiver Julian Edelman said. “He’s a baby, and it’s just funny to see him in the huddle and stuff. I’m proud of him. He handled it real well. He made calls. He made the right run checks and all that stuff. I’m sure there’s more we could do better, but he came in, and Jacoby handled it like a professional.”
The Patriots simplified their play-calling following Garoppolo’s injury, easing Brissett into his first NFL game with screen passes, play-action and a heavy dose of running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount carried the ball 29 times and led all rushers with 123 yards — his highest total since Nov. 8 of last year.
“Jacoby is a great quarterback, obviously,” Blount said. “That’s why (the Patriots) drafted him. He’s doing everything they ask him to do to make sure that he’s going to put us in the best position to win the football game, and he did that (Sunday).”
Garoppolo reportedly will miss at least the Patriots’ next game — Thursday night against the Houston Texans — and could be out until well after Brady is allowed to return. Unless the Patriots bring in another signal-caller via free agency or trade, Brissett is line to start against Houston.
“It’s tough, but unfortunately that’s part of this game,” Edelman said of Garoppolo’s injury. “It’s a 100 percent injury rate. It’s just football, and everyone’s just got to do their job a little bit better now.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images