By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Given that the Patriots’ comeback bid against the Bills came up short thanks to a last-minute fumble by Cam Newton, it’s easy to overlook some of the bright spots from an otherwise disappointing afternoon.
But given the Patriots are 2-5 on the season, bright spots are the only positives we have at the moment.
One spot that is sparkling the brightest on the roster is the rise of receiver Jakobi Meyers, who has quickly become Cam Newton’s favorite target when the quarterback tosses the pigskin. Meyers turned in his second straight solid performance for the New England offense on Sunday afternoon, catching six passes for 58 yards against the Bills. He also hauled in the team’s two-point conversion after a Damien Harris rushing touchdown in the third quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
In an offense currently short on reliable targets, Meyers has taken over as the No. 1 guy in New England. It’s quite the impressive rise for the 2019 undrafted free agent.
Meyers could have had an even bigger day on the stat sheet on Sunday, but two receptions (totaling another 31 yards) were called back because of penalties by the offensive line. Four of his six catches gave the Patriots a fresh set of downs, including a key eight-yard receptions on a third-and-4 to keep New England’s final drive alive. He is now up to nine first-down receptions on the season.
The second-year receiver played all but one of New England’s 65 offensive snaps in Buffalo, targeted 10 times by Newton. While the quarterback has struggled to get on the same page as his offensive weapons for much of the season, he seems to have a great rapport with Meyers, one that is paying off now that the receiver has seen an increase in playing time.
“Stepping stones,” Meyers said of his relationship with Newton. “We’re building on it and trying to be better every week. Try to come out next week and do more than we did this week. Try to improve every day. … Hopefully we keep building on it and keep improving.”
While we’re left wondering if the Patriots will be able to win another game this year, we can feel fairly confident that Meyers will continue to contribute as he sees more of the field. It was clear that Meyers would be Newton’s go-to guy early in Sunday’s game, yet the Bills still couldn’t do much about it. The fact that Meyers was able to get open and have a big game despite Damiere Byrd and Gunner Olszewski being the only other receivers in the mix and with Ryan Izzo the only active tight end shows that he can get the best of opposing defense’s top defenders.
It’s a testament to the young receiver’s approach earlier this season. He has only been active for three games this year, but Meyers continued to stay ready and work hard for when he got his opportunity. Now that his chance has come, he’s not going to let it get away.
“I come to work every day and try to practice as hard as I can. I try to be alert in meetings, know everyone’s responsibilities so if anyone goes down I can jump right in,” he said. “I just try to be a better person and better player every day.”
Meyers now has 118 receiving yards over the last two games. With Julian Edelman on IR and N’Keal Harry sidelined with a concussion, we should see plenty more of his play-making abilities in the coming weeks. And even when (if) Edelman and Harry return, Meyers should continue to get his chance as a bright building block for the future.