Dorsett finally feeling like a Patriot after Sunday

Staff photo by TOM KING New England Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett, unlike last year, had the microphones and cameras all around him after a seven catch, one TD day in the Patriots' 27-20 season opeining win Sunday over Houston at Gillette Stadilum.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Phillip Dorsett is starting to feel like a member of the New England Patriots.

Brought here via a trade for backup QB Jacoby Brissett with the Indianapolis Colts, Dorsett wasn’t very visible last season.

But that’s changed, especially with fellow receiver Julian Edelman serving a four game suspension. So on Sunday he hauled in seven catches for 66 yards and a TD in the Patriots’ 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.

“Yeah, Phillip did a great job, got some opportunity and then came up with the plays, came up with the catches,” Patriots QB Tom Brady said. “It’s kind of what he’s been doing all camp, all spring, and it was good to see it show up today. So, we needed it.”

Dorsett caught a 4-yard TD pass from Brady with 14 seconds left in the first half that gave the Patriots a commanding 21-6 lead.

“It was big,” he said. “We needed something; we needed to get into the end zone because that defense was stout. They were stopping us on some things where we just needed to get a few plays going, just get in a groove, and get in the end zone.”

Dorsett says he has a much better connection now with Brady than he had all of last year.

“We definitely had a better connection today,” he said. “We were working on it all throughout camp, and it showed today.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if being in the team’s complicated system a year has helped Dorsett.

“I’m sure it’s helped him,” he said, later adding, “He’s worked hard all spring, all training camp. He’s been out there eery day and just keeps getting better.”

And more confident.

“I would say the confidence comes with the hard work,” Dorsett said. “Just getting into a groove and knowing what you have to do, and knowing what to do vs. man and vs. zone. And not having to worry about what you have to do when you get out of the huddle.

“My confidence is a big boost.”

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Tight end Rob Gronkowski made a questionable catch for 28 yards to help set up Dorsett’s TD, but the Texans couldn’t challenge it by rule because it was inside of two minutes left in the half. The NFL was actually reviewing the play in New York but Brady alertly got the team to snap the ball and start a play before anything could be done.

“The situation was that New York did get back to us,” referee Tony Corrente said in a pool report. “However, unfortunately, they didn’t get to the game officials on the field until after the play had already started.”

Texans coach Bill O’Brien was asked if perhaps he should have called time out to allow for a possible review, since he couldn’t challenge.

Did he think it was a catch?

“I don’t have any idea,” he said. “I will have to watch that on tape. That’s not my job to call a time out, to make (the officials’) job easier. You know, what I am trying to do is make sure we go into halftime. … down 14-6.”

O’Brien then offered a counter argument to calling a time out.

“Say I call a time out there, they rule it a catch, and now the Patriots have more time to put a play together. You know, whatever you are going to write, you are going to write. But that’s not my job to do that.”

Gronkowski said he caught the ball.

“I did make the catch, I don’t know how,” he said. “When I went to the ground I had it stable in my hand, so it was definitely a catch, but Tom went up to the line really quick just to make sure. “We got the play off, which was nice.”

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Patriots running back Jeremy Hill left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Although he was seen walking to the locker room, you still have to wonder about his future.

“That’s incredibly unfortunate,” Patriots fullback James Devlin said. “We’ve just got to keep pressing on and try to work as hard as we can.”

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When Brady and Gronkowski hooked up on the game’s first TD, it was the 76th time they’ve done that, fifth most all time for any quarterback-receiver duo in the NFL and second most all-time for a QB-tight end….

Belichick won his251st regular season game as a head coach, moving him past Tom Landry into third on the all-time regular season wins list. He was third overall counting the postseason…

Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson said he cramped up at the game’s end, and didn’t injure his foot. “No, it was just a cramp,” he said….

Next up for the Patriots: At Jacksonville next Sunday at 4:25 p.m. The Jaguars beat the Giants Sunday 20-15 in the Meadowlands.

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