Looks like Tom Brady has a new favorite target: Antonio Brown.
Their relationship and chemistry on the field are already starting to take shape as the veteran quarterback connected with Brown on a 20-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter of the New England Patriots‘ game against the Miami Dolphins for AB’s first touchdown as a Patriot.
The touchdown was reviewed for possible pass interference on Brown for a subtle shove on Miami corner and former Patriot Jomal Wiltz. The scoring play was upheld and was followed by a Stephen Gostkowski missed extra point.
Brown had an impressive start to his Patriots career, catching four passes in the first half against Miami for 56 yards, including the touchdown. He also rushed once on an end-around for five yards — his first rush since 2016.
Antonio Brown looks right at home with the Patriots playing his first game of the season in his hometown of Miami. Brown’s routes look smooth and his pass-catching hasn’t wavered from years past with 100-plus catches.
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Brown could be on target for one of the best Patriots’ debuts among star receivers since Randy Moss in 2007. The Hall-of-Famer Moss caught all nine passes thrown his way by Brady for 183 yards and a touchdown against the New York Jets.
In the first half, Brown caught all four passes thrown his way. Brown did not have a single drop in 2018 and his steady hands could be paramount for New England’s success this season. Brown is a veteran and though he’s only had a week of preparation in one of the league’s toughest and most complex offensive systems, he appears on the same page so far.
Brown was one of six Patriots players with a catch in the first half against Miami. Something that could help Brown, much like Moss in 2007, is the diversity on offense among pass-catching weapons at Brady’s disposal. While Brown was tough to contain, Josh Gordon remained without a catch on two targets for the entire first half.
How Much Longer Will Brown Be Available?
Brown is still tied up in off-field matter relating to the sexual assault allegations filed against him by his former trainer Britney Taylor. With Taylor set to meet with the NFL tomorrow and the league launching an investigation into the lawsuit, it might mean a stint on the exempt list should the league find that outcome sufficient.
For Week 2, Brown was not placed on the exempt list because there wasn’t sufficient evidence or a criminal investigation to do so. But following the investigation, Brown might wind up spending time on that list.
But the Patriots have plenty of options at receiver and would be able to plug the gap left by Brown. It would still have a major impact given the number of touches Brown had in just one half of action after a week with the team.