Julian Edelman gutted through obvious pain Sunday to turn in his best performance of the 2019 season to date.
After being limited in practice all week with a chest injury, Edelman led all receivers with eight catches on nine targets for a season-high 110 yards and a touchdown in the New England Patriots’ 33-7 waxing of the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
That gritty effort helped the Patriots, who managed just one touchdown in the first half and held a narrow five-point lead at halftime, improve to 5-0 on the season and earned Edelman plaudits from his quarterback and head coach.
“He’s one of the best players in the history of the franchise,” Tom Brady said Monday on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Show.” When you think of some of the great receivers we’ve had, Julian is right up there at the top. So you’ve got to get him the ball, and he’s making a lot of yards with it in his hands.
“We put a lot on Julian. Julian’s a very smart player. Very tough. He’s mentally, physically tough. What he’s gone through the last few weeks with his injury and then still just laying it on the line — you see even on that catch-and-run there in the third quarter, him kind of diving over the pile. He’s an incredible player, an incredible teammate, and the more we get him the ball, the better it is for our offense.”
On the play Brady mentioned, Edelman caught a short pass over the middle, outran one defender, sidestepped another, somersaulted over safety Landon Collins and then punctuated his 31-yard gain with an emphatic fist pump.
Running back Sony Michel scored one play later to all but seal the Patriots’ victory.
“Julian’s a tough kid, always has been,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday in a conference call with reporters. “He showed that in college. He showed it his rookie year here and all the way through his career. He fights for every yard. He’s a competitive blocker. He’s got excellent playing strength and plays bigger than what his size is because of his leverage, pad level and overall physical and mental toughness.
“He’s done a great job for us and continues to do that. He’s one of the most competitive players I’ve coached.”