BOSTON (CBS) — While injuries decimating the New England wide receivers corps has led to some lackluster performances by the offense as a whole, it has also led to the emergence of Jakobi Meyers. He played like a clear-cut No. 1 receiver once again on Monday night, turning in yet another career effort in the Patriots’ comeback win over the New York Jets.
Meyers celebrated his 24th birthday in style on Monday night, catching 12 passes for 169 yards in New England’s 30-27 victory. Both were career highs for Meyers, who entered the evening with 11 receptions for 125 yards on the season. His previous career-high for receiving yards in a game was 74, which he set last season in a win over the Dallas Cowboys.
With Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry both on the shelf, Cam Newton doesn’t really have many options at receiver. But Meyers has become his clear-cut favorite, with 22 receptions on 30 targets over the last three games.
“He’s coming up with so many different ways to get open and he’s such a humble person,” Newton said of Meyers during his Tuesday morning interview on WEEI. “I know he has instincts and a knack to get open, to know what the quarterback is thinking. I had a conversation with him a few weeks ago to tell him that I believe in him. We’ve all seen when, given an opportunity, what he can do. He’s just showing up and improving who he can be in this offense and putting the league on notice.”
Newton isn’t kidding when he calls Meyers “humble.” After every big game, the second-year receiver keeps pointing to ways he can get better. That’s the nature of being an undrafted free agent in the NFL.
“I just have to keep putting good stuff on tape and keep working to get better every day,” Meyers said Monday night. “It was fun just to be out there with the team and I just enjoyed every moment of it, so hopefully like I said I can just keep building on it and keep trying to get better.”
While stats can occasionally just be empty numbers to crunch when making your fantasy football lineup, Meyers has been putting up his numbers when it counts. He had his fingerprints all over New England’s game-winning drive, coming up with the most important catch of the season so far. With the Patriots racing against the clock to try to get into field goal range at the end of the game, the receiver found a soft spot — an extremely soft spot — in the Jets defense and hauled in a 20-yard connection with Newton to set up Nick Folk’s game-winning 51-yard boot.
“He’s such an easy target to throw to and he just finds a way to get open,” Newton said of Meyers after Monday night’s win. “He’s got a knack for the ball.”
Overall, eight of Meyers’ 12 receptions on Monday night moved the chains for the New England offense.
The kid is clearly going places, and taking the Patriots offense with him. It’s incredible to think that just over a month ago, Meyers was struggling to get any meaningful playing time. Now he’s emerged as the New England’s No. 1 receiver at a time when the team desperately needed someone to step up at the position.
With each week getting better and bigger for Meyers, it doesn’t look like he’ll be relinquishing that No. 1 receiver spot even when Edelman and Harry return.