Deion Branch Breaks Out With Big Game, Which Includes Momentum-Turning Play Against Eagles


November 27, 2011

Deion Branch Breaks Out With Big Game, Which Includes Momentum-Turning Play Against EaglesPatriots wide receiver Deion Branch had cooled off since his blazing start to the regular season, but he opened it up with a big performance during Sunday's 38-20 victory against the Eagles.

Not just that, but Branch teamed up with Tom Brady to rip off the game's most significant momentum-turning play.

Brady evaded the pass rush and rolled out of the pocket, causing the receivers to break off into the scramble drill. Branch ran through his initial comeback route, made eye contact with Brady and broke into an inside wheel route to get past cornerback Brandon Hughes. That's when Brady hit Branch outside the numbers on the left side of the field. After running up the left sideline, Branch shook safety Nate Allen and tried to run over safety Kurt Coleman before getting tackled at the goal line.

"He caught it, and he did the rest," Brady said of Branch. "I thought he had a great cutback there on about the 15, 20-yard line to get us down to the 1. That was a huge play in the game I thought really to stop the momentum that [the Eagles] had established, and for us to make some plays like that really softens up the defense."

Branch finished with six catches for 125 yards. It was the fifth most yards of Branch's career, and it marked his 11th game with 100 yards (eight with the Patriots).

Branch started the season with 15 receptions for 222 yards through two games, but he had cooled off after that, catching 17 passes for 281 yards in the next eight games, though he did register four touchdowns. Take away Branch's newest ritual of abusing Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie over two games (12 catches, 132 yards, two touchdowns), and the numbers were even lighter.

Branch has said over and again that he doesn't care about numbers, especially if the Patriots win. But Sunday served as a boost for him, as Branch helped set the tempo for the New England offense.

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