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November 24, 2013

Edelman stars, far outshines Welker’s Foxboro return

(Continued)

But it wasn’t just the numbers, it was the way Edelman provided his Patriots with some much-needed swagger.

With the game looking like a Broncos blowout at 24-0 at halftime, it was Edelman that hung the first Patriots points on the board when he snagged a throw from Tom Brady for a 5-yard touchdown.

Edelman then gave the Patriots their first lead early in the fourth, taking a dump pass from Brady, spinning away from one defender, juking another out of his shoes and scampering 15 yards into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Pats a 28-24 advantage.

One possession later, Welker’s 20-yard punt return, where he cut, stopped twice like he was playing Madden 2013 and darted to the left set up a field goal that eventually led to overtime.

The Patriots didn’t find much offense in overtime, but Edelman did find a 17-yard gain for a first down that helped set up the wild final moments.

It wasn’t perfect. He was part of the fumble trouble early, muffing a punt, recovering then fumbling it again. But while other players folded, Edelman put the gaffe behind him for a huge performance.

“Julian did a very good job for us today,” said Belichick. “He caught the ball, handled it well and gave us good field position. Julian is a tough competitor and stepped up tonight.”

Edelman added three punt returns for 39 yards, along with a number a crucial fair catches that put the Patriots in good shape.

Following the wild finish, Edelman embraced Welker with a long hug.

Odds are, it wasn’t the only hug he earned after that career day.

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