Reporting Levan Reid
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FOXBORO (CBS) – New England tight end Aaron Hernandez had a great game the last time the Patriots met up with the Broncos, and is looking to do the same now that it’s win or go home.
Hernandez had nine catches for 129 yards in the Patriots 41-23 Week 15 win over Denver. Those were career highs for the second-year pro, and he was the star in the Patriots locker room.
That week, Rob Gronkowski focused more on his blocking as the Broncos went heavy on his coverage, freeing up Hernandez to have his big day. This week the Broncos will probably try and key in on Hernandez, and he says that’s fine. As Denver learned last time, the Pats have other people who can do the damage.
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“There were plays called for me. Obviously, the Broncos focused on Gronk and Wes (Welker that week). That left me with opportunities to make plays,” said Hernandez.
“I honestly don’t think about personal contributions. I don’t care about what they do. They have to pick their poison. We have so many weapons,” he said.
Hernandez finished the regular season with 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns. He had 20 receptions and two touchdowns in the final three weeks of the season.
It was hard enough for Denver to shut down Gronk and try to keep Welker in check back in Week 15, holding the duo to just eight receptions and 94 yards. But focusing too much on any one of them will just free up Tom Brady to hit whoever else is on the field come Saturday night.
Case in point: Chad Ochocinco caught a touchdown in that Denver game.
So it won’t matter who Denver focuses on, the Patriots have the weapons to put up points. It’s just up to them to make the most of the opportunities.
Tune in to the Patriots-Broncos playoff game Saturday night at 8pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins Saturday at 5pm with Patriots Preview on 98.5, with a special edition of Patriots GameDay on WBZ-TV at 7pm. After the game, stay tuned for Patriots Postgame on The Hub, and Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV.