FOXBORO, Mass. — If the New England Patriots have their way, Jacoby Brissett won’t see the field for the rest of the 2016 season.
Even if the rookie doesn’t undergo surgery on his injured right thumb, as one report Sunday indicated he might, he’d ideally spend the Patriots’ final 12 games as the third man on the quarterback depth chart, behind a newly freed Tom Brady and a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo.
But in his 10-plus quarters as New England’s No. 1 signal-caller, Brissett’s moxie left a strong impression on his some of his veteran teammates.
“I’ll tell you one thing: No. 7, he’s a tough kid, and he came out there and had a gutsy performance,’’ wide receiver Julian Edelman said after Sunday’s 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. “I gained a lot of respect for that young man and how poised he was to overcome the obstacles that he had to.’’
After helping lead the Patriots to victories over the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans, Brissett was roughed up in the loss to Buffalo. Playing with an already-injured right thumb, the third-round draft pick took three sacks, sustained six QB hits and carried the ball four times for 23 yards, with one of his rushes resulting in a red-zone turnover.
Much of this punishment came in the second half, when the Patriots trailed by double digits and were forced to employ a more pass-heavy game plan. Twenty-four of Brissett’s 27 pass attempts came after halftime.
“I thought he played very hard,” tight end Martellus Bennett said. “That’s what you ask for out of your guys, to come out there and give every single thing he has. Everything’s not going to go your way, but that’s just football. That’s just life, no matter what it is you’re doing. It’s what I try to explain to my daughter all the time.
“But that’s just life. It’s not (always) going to go your way, but I thought he got back up, and he fought for us the whole game. That’s all you can ask for from a guy.”
Bennett was the Patriots’ top offensive producer Sunday, catching five of the six passes Brissett threw his way for a game-high 109 receiving yards. His 58-yard catch-and-run midway through the second quarter was the longest completion of Brissett’s young career.
“I take him under my wing,” Bennett said of Brissett. “I talk to him all the time. We have a good relationship, and he did a good job finding me. He trusted to make some plays, and that’s just what it is.”
All told, Brissett attempted 55 passes over three games, completing 34 for 400 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also gained 83 yards on 16 rushing attempts, the highest single-season total by a Patriots quarterback since 2011.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images