FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots tight ends Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski flashed their devastating potential in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns, teaming up to catch 11 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Tom Brady on Wednesday explained why having Gronkowski and Bennett on the field together presents a tremendous challenge for opposing defenses.
“They’re tough matchups,” Brady said. “They’re both 6-foot-6-plus, 270 pounds-plus. They’re hard matchups for anybody, because they’re just very unique players. It’s great because like on the touchdown to Martellus, one of them, they focused all their coverage on Gronk, and then Martellus gets the 1-on-1, and he gets the ball.
“That’s what makes a good offense. If they’re going to double-cover someone, it means other guys have single coverage. If you’re playing with a guy like Gronk, it’s great for you because you’re not the one getting double-covered, so you’ll have opportunities, and you have to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them.”
Some additional notes from Wednesday:
— Brady completed passes to seven different receivers in Sunday’s 33-13 win, including Chris Hogan, who caught four balls for a game- and career-high 114 yards.
Not known as a deep threat, Hogan hauled in receptions of 43 and 63 yards against the Browns, the longest of which surprised even Brady.
“Whether we’re running it or throwing it, which part of the field we’re throwing it — outside, inside, deep, short — everybody has to play a role,” Brady said. “You play that role, like that long one to Hogan in the game. I would say that he was the last guy that I would ever expect to get the ball on that play — the deep one on the right sideline. But he’s in the position, and he gets open, and now he gets the opportunity.
“You never know when your number is going to get called, so when it does, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
— Rookie defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton made his NFL debut Sunday for the Patriots after being signed off the practice squad the previous day.
“During the week, I didn’t really think about (a potential promotion),” Hamilton recalled Wednesday. “But when I did find out, of course I was happy about it.”
Playing in place of the injured Vincent Valentine, Hamilton was on the field for 22 defensive snaps against Cleveland, including the first of the game.
“I’m not going to say I knew I could do it,” the 23-year-old said, “because (obviously) that was my first one, but I just had confidence because of my preparation that I’d do with my teammates in practice.”
The Patriots released Hamilton, whom they initially signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss, in their final round of roster cuts last month before re-signing him to the practice squad the following day. He recorded two tackles against Cleveland.
“Of course I’ve made some improvement if they called me up and trusted me enough to put me out of the field to help my teammates,” Hamilton said. “So it’s a good feeling.”
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images