CHICAGO — Josh Gordon gave New England Patriots fans a scare at the end of a 55-yard catch and run from quarterback Tom Brady.
Gordon ran an in-route, broke two tackles then noticeably slowed down as he ran deep down the field. It appeared he could have scored a touchdown if he had finished the play at full speed.
It was natural to wonder if the hamstring injury that has lingered since his days with the Cleveland Browns had flared up on the play.
Fortunately for Gordon and the Patriots, that was not the case.
“Unfortunately, I got a little tired at the end of that 96-yard drive,” Gordon said. “It was fun, it was great, and I’m glad I got a good touch on the ball and able to make something happen.”
Gordon is beginning to show his full potential a little over a month into his Patriots career. Gordon caught four passes on seven targets for 100 yards in the Patriots’ 38-31 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He now has 13 catches for 224 yards with a touchdown in four games with the Patriots. He’s on pace for 42 catches for 728 yards on the season.
Outside of the 55-yard catch and run, Gordon also made a contested catch from Brady on fourth-and-1 midway through the second quarter to help move the chains on what became a scoring drive.
Brady threw back-shoulder to Gordon, and the timing was right. Gordon came back for the ball and snagged it out of the air before Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller could make a play on it. Brady and Gordon struggled to connect on similar plays in Week 6.
“I think we just worked on that play, worked on that connection from last week — and having that miss — some adjustments,” Gordon said. “And this week I kind of had a better look at it, better timing I think with Tom. And having the week of practice helped, and I was able to make a play on it.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick correctly noted Gordon “had a couple big plays.” Brady expounded more on Gordon’s performance.
“We are just developing our confidence in one another, and he’s making great plays when I throw him the ball,” Brady said. “Just got to keep doing it.”
Fellow wide receiver Julian Edelman was grateful to the NFL and the Browns for Gordon after the game.
?He is unreal,” Edelman told ESPN’s Dianna Russini. “Thank you, Cleveland.?
“He’s a threat,” Edelman told a media scrum after the game. “He goes down the field and makes plays. He’s come in and he’s worked hard. I just want to say thanks to the league. It’s pretty cool to have a guy like him and play with a dynamic player.”
The Patriots’ offense was without star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was inactive with back and ankle injuries. The team was still able to put up 38 points, 24 of which came on offense. Gordon believes the Patriots proved they could still move the ball without their top weapon.
“I think we were prepared for it mentally,” Gordon said. “We practiced different looks and different groupings and personnel to offset that. I think collectively as a group we showed we could hold our own without him, but we’ll be glad to have him back.”
Gronkowski is expected back in Week 8 when the Patriots take on the Buffalo Bills on the road next Monday night.