Patriots Blog

Patriots steal a win despite absence of coveted backup QBs

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Dorsett.jpgThe player the Patriots received in the Jacoby Brissett trade had seven catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over Houston.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots overcame the conspicuous absence of two would-be backup quarterbacks to open their season with a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday. It was only the 10th time in 12 games (including the postseason) the Patriots managed to a win a game without Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett available to stand on the sidelines and do nothing.
Ever since the Patriots traded their backup quarterbacks for what amounts to practically no compensation whatsoever, they have been haunted by the thought that Garoppolo and Brissett could have instead been on their very own sidelines taking up both physical space and salary cap space while throwing the occasional pass to each other stay loose.
However, the Pats can breathe a sigh of relief as actual starting quarterback Tom Brady went 26 for 39 for 277 yards and three touchdown passes with one interception despite Garoppolo and Brissett not doing nothing for New England.
Among the compensation the Patriots barely received when they dealt Brissett to the Colts last year was Phillip Dorsett, the 29th overall pick in the 2015 draft.  So, it must have been difficult for fans to see Dorsett making catch after catch on Sunday — a total of seven on seven targets — as a constant reminder of the trade that haunts their dreams.
Dorsett, who wound up with 66 yards and a touchdown, finished behind Rob Gronkowski as the team’s second-leading receiver. Still, Brissett finished with nothing and did nothing as the Colts’ second-leading quarterback behind Andrew Luck in Indy’s 34-23 loss to the Bengals.
That said, fans almost certainly would have preferred nothing from Brissett, who has an 81.9 passer rating in 17 career starts. For a time, fans were quite certain they were going to get nothing from Dorsett, who had 12 catches on 18 targets last season. On Sunday, Dorsett suggested that he may continue doing things. Especially if the Patriots give him opportunities to do things, something they did very little last season.
“Football, it’s all about opportunity, and when it comes, you got to make the play,” Dorsett said. “It’s a tough offense and it’s hard to just to come in and learn things like that. But when you put the effort in it and you put the time in, I feel like everything will work itself out.”
Of course, the Patriots may long regret their failure to use the franchise tag on Garoppolo.
If New England had done that, Jimmy G would be in Foxboro where he would ideally do nothing for the Patriots at a cost of $23 million. Instead, the Patriots had to settle for a scenario in which they pay $1.5 million to Brian Hoyer, a man who has virtually the same career stats as Eli Manning, to hopefully do nothing instead.
Rather than enjoying him as the inert force he could have been with the Patriots this season, New England fans instead had to grit their teeth as Garoppolo put up monster numbers for the 49ers on Sunday against the Vikings. He went 15 for 33 for 261 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 24-16 loss to Minnesota. His quarterback rating for the season is 45.1.
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.