FOXBORO — His touchdown dance may not have been anything to write home about, but the smile on Brandon Lloyd’s face as he was congratulated after his first TD of the day said it all.
No. 85 was the happiest man in New England last night.
After a nightmare six weeks in which the receiver seemed to have been fazed out by the Patriots’ offense, Lloyd finally looked the part of a go-to guy last night, catching one touchdown and recovering a fumble for another score in New England’s 42-14 victory over AFC No. 1 seed Houston.
“He was excellent for us,” said fellow receiver Matt Slater. “He is someone that takes the game and his job very seriously, and it really paid off for us tonight. He was huge.”
With the hot lights of Monday Night Football on him, Lloyd shined with nine catches for 89 yards, highlighted by his outstanding 37-yard touchdown. He then turned in a heads-up play when he ran down Danny Woodhead’s fumble in the end zone for his second TD.
Lloyd’s emergence could not have come at a better time for the Patriots, who were without top pass-catcher Rob Gronkowski and speedy slot guy Julian Edelman due to injuries, while Aaron Hernandez is still not at 100 percent.
But it also could not have arrived at a better time for Lloyd, who had gone from the toast of the town to the talk of Boston sports radio for all of the wrong reasons.
The speedster arrived in New England in the offseason with tons of hype, many seeing visions of the record-setting 2007 offense with Lloyd in the Randy Moss big-play role.
After a decent start, highlighted by a 108-yard night against Baltimore, the season started to slip away from Lloyd.
Beginning with the Oct. 21 Jets game, he began seeing fewer and fewer passes from Tom Brady, catching just 16 passes over the next six games, never more than five in a game and twice finishing with just a single grab, including just one for 10 yards — on only one target despite playing 60 plays — last week in a win over Miami.
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Video on the way With high school football camps finally underway, it's time for a video journey to across the Eagle-Tribune region's gridiron scene. Coming Sunday will be a video preview of each of the area's seven New Hampshire high school football