FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady has found a new security blanket since Julian Edelman went down with a broken foot.
The New England Patriots quarterback has been at his best recently while targeting third-down back James White.
White has earned trust from his teammates since taking over for Dion Lewis, who opened the season as the Patriots’ starting running back but hit injured reserve with a torn ACL after their Week 9 win over the Washington Redskins. White has filled in admirably over the past three weeks, catching 21 passes on 27 targets for 224 yards with three total touchdowns.
“The more you get out there, the more confident you can play, so I’m just trying to play with confidence every week and do whatever I can to help the team,” White said after the Patriots’ 33-16 win over the Tennessee Titans.
Brady is 33 of 46 for 319 yards with three touchdowns on the season while targeting White, who had seven catches for 71 yards and a score Sunday.
“Yeah, he’s gained a lot of trust from everybody just based on his performance, his consistency,” Brady said. “He had that long run that got called back, but that was a great play. So he’s just been making plays for us. And the touchdown run on the screen, I mean, from what I saw, there wasn’t much there, and then he was so patient to see things open up and then took advantage when the hole finally did open, accelerated through there and got in the end zone.
“So he’s been really productive in that role and has just been a — really great tribute to his hard work and commitment. He was here last year and learned a lot and then got his opportunity when Dion (Lewis) went out, and he’s just done a great job with it.”
White had a 70-yard catch called back because of an offensive pass interference penalty on wide receiver Keshawn Martin. White’s score came on a 30-yard catch-and-run off a screen, when he let the play develop in front of him before scampering down the field for the score.
White had only one carry for 6 yards and hasn’t developed as a threat on the ground for the Patriots. Rookie running back Joey Iosefa carried the load for the Patriots with 51 yards on 14 carries. Brandon Bolden had 10 carries for 36 yards and two receptions on three targets for 18 yards.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Dec 20, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back James White (28) is congratulated by quarterback Tom Brady (12) after scoring against the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports