After the receiver forgot to set his clock back for daylight savings time, he presumably made it to Gillette Stadium a little early on Sunday. It didn't help.
Ochocinco was on the field, unofficially, for just 15 offensive snaps. He was targeted five times but came down with zero catches. For the first time in his 11-year career, he has gone three consecutive games without making a catch.
This summer, the Ochocinco experiment looked like a sure thing. Here was a productive wide receiver, highly motivated to team up with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Tom Brady. He would join a pass-happy offense that could light up the scoreboard, with him playing an important — if not a superstar's — role.
Instead, he's an afterthought.
Brady and Ochocinco exchanged a few words on the sideline on Sunday, and all Brady could offer after the game was a halfhearted showing of support.
"Yeah, we're working at it," said Brady, who went 9-for-16 for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. "We've only played together for eight games. We're just going to keep working at it."
Brady's next comment said all that needed to be said.
"We've got no other choice but just to keep working at it," he said.
From 2003-10, Ochocinco had been held without a catch in just one game. It's now happened in three straight games.
From 2003-10, Ochocinco averaged 82 catches for 1,161 yards and 7.5 touchdowns. This year, he's on pace for 18 catches, 272 yards and zero touchdowns.
It wasn't all his fault on Sunday against the Giants, though. He didn't earn so much as a glance from Brady in the first half, when he ran six passing plays with the offense. He was open deep on one play, but Brady threw elsewhere.
When he finally was targeted for the first time, he ran his route out of bounds. After that, though, Brady twice threw behind him.
Slice it any way you want it, but the addition of Ochocinco just isn't working. Wes Welker caught 112 passes in his first season in New England. Randy Moss had an NFL-record 23 touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski made 42 receptions for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season in any pro offense last year. Fellow rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez had 45 catches, 563 yards and six touchdowns in just 14 games.
It shouldn't take this long for anyone to "catch on" with an offense, let alone a veteran of a decade in the NFL.
The season now is as close to the end as it is to the beginning, and Ochocinco is becoming less and less a part of the Patriots' offense. Some may still say that it's still too soon to pull the plug on the experiment, but it sure looks like the Patriots already have.
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