BOSTON (CBS) – Donte’ Stallworth spent over three months waiting for another opportunity in the NFL.
That opportunity came a week ago when the Patriots, the team that had released Stallworth following training camp, came calling.
With Julian Edelman landing on the IR with a broken foot last week, New England’s wide receiver depth was wearing thin. So they brought in Stallworth, who was already familiar with the system and played with Tom Brady during his record-setting 2007 campaign.
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After a week of hard work, Stallworth made catching on to the New England offense look easy. He was only on the field for 20 snaps (via ESPNBoston’s Mike Reiss) in Monday night’s 42-14 drubbing of the Houston Texans, and Brady only threw the ball his way twice, but Stallworth made the most of his opportunity.
With the Patriots already up 21-0 in the third quarter, Brady went deep down field to a streaking Stallworth. The 10-year veteran made a one-handed grab with a defender on him, and won the foot race to the end zone to cap off a 63-yard touchdown strike for the Patriots.
It was Stallworth’s first touchdown in nearly a year, but he was just happy to play a part in New England’s big win.
“It feels great to come back and be able to contribute to a great win,” Stallworth said following the game. “We prepared all week. We had an extra day, and prepared hard. We worked hard all week and Bill did a great job breaking down what we needed to do to be successful.”
Stallworth said the play was one they had worked on last week in practice, and as far back as training camp.
“It looked like they were cover-zero or cover-one – I couldn’t really tell because we got to the line so fast and snapped the ball. That particular play was something we worked on, even in the spring,” he said. “It was an opportunity where they were kind of flat-footed and it gave me an opportunity to run by the guy and Tommy made a great throw. He put it up for me to catch it and I did.”
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For Stallworth and the Patriots, it was just part of an overall dominating performance by the New England offense.
“We had a game plan that we wanted to execute and I felt like for the most part we did,” said Stallworth. “We came in and we wanted to play a sixty-minute game. You watch those guys (the Texans) on film all year and there is a reason why they came in here at 11-1. They are a really good team. Today we just played well and ended up winning the game.”