FOXBORO, Mass. — There’s something to be said for finishing strong. And that’s exactly what Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett did Sunday in the New England Patriots’ Week 17 win over the New York Jets after inconsistent — and probably frustrating, at times — seasons.
Neither receiver was even targeted in the Patriots’ Week 16 win over the Buffalo Bills, which was New England’s first game since starting wideout Josh Gordon was hit with an indefinite suspension. But both players bounced back in the Patriots’ season finale.
Hogan caught six passes on 11 targets for 64 yards, while Dorsett snagged five of five targets for 34 yards with a touchdown. Dorsett also carried the ball twice for 16 yards.
Hogan was asked what that kind of performance does for his confidence heading into the playoffs.
“It’s great,” Hogan said. “I was able to take advantage of some opportunities today, and hopefully, I can continue to build off that in the upcoming weeks.”
Hogan stopped short of saying it was important for him to finish the season with a strong stat line.
“I think the most important thing for me was to take advantage of the opportunities that I had and just do whatever I could for the team to try to get a win,” Hogan said. “This was a big win for us. Just really proud of the way everyone battled today.”
After all was said and done, Hogan’s 532 yards this season were, perhaps surprisingly, the second highest mark of his career. Dorsett set a career high with three touchdown catches. His 290 receiving yards were also the second highest mark of his career. Dorsett also finished the season with a perfect 16 catches on 16 targets after Week 4.
“I’m just trying to be dependable, be a guy that you can count on to make a play,” Dorsett said. “That’s what I do throughout practice, and I just try to let it follow up into games.”
Dorsett made an impressive grab, snagging the ball out of the air, on his 9-yard touchdown catch. With quarterback Tom Brady rolling out of the pocket, Dorsett said “running a second route” is something the Patriots work on often in practice.
“That was a great ball,” Dorsett said. “He made it easy for me.”
The Patriots’ passing attack had struggled in general for 10 straight quarters ever since halftime of the Patriots’ Week 14 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Hogan and Dorsett helped get it back on track against a Jets team that was missing its top three cornerbacks. Brady went 24-of-33 for 250 yards with four touchdowns in the game.
“I just felt like he played a great game,” Dorsett said of his quarterback. “He just stayed the course, and he grinded it out. It’s never perfect. People are going to have bad games. I mean, it happens. I’m not saying his games were bad, but it’s a long season, and I feel like he had a great game today, and we should be peaking at the right time.”
Wide receiver Julian Edelman caught five passes on six targets for 69 yards with a touchdown. Tight end Rob Gronkowski caught just two passes for 24 yards.