BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots quarterbacks have not been throwing many touchdowns this year. So on Sunday night, with the Ravens in town, Josh McDaniels figured it’s time to give someone else a chance.
That someone was receiver Jakobi Meyers, who was a quarterback before converting to receiver during his time at NC State. Through his year-and-a-half in the NFL, Meyers had only been used as a pass catcher. That changed in this one.
With 1:10 left in the first half, and with the Patriots trailing 10-7, Cam Newton lined up under center before throwing a backward pass to Meyers.
Meyers really only had one option on the play, with running back Rex Burkhead streaking up the right side. Burkhead was covered closely by linebacker Patrick Queen, but Meyers decided to lob up a rainbow and give Burkhead a chance to catch it. Meyers stood tall in the makeshift pocket and withstood a hit just after he let the pass go.
And despite having Queen blocking his vision, Burkhead showed tremendous focus to look in the pass and make the secure catch in the end zone for six.
See it for yourself.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 16, 2020
The touchdown put the Patriots ahead 13-10, after Nick Folk missed the PAT.
“He did pretty good without being able to warm up or anything,” said Newton, who was a receiver on the play but was covered. “Once a quarterback, always a quarterback. I’m pretty sure Julian Edelman is somewhere smiling … but nervous at the same time, if you know what I mean.”
Meyers said he was prepared for the moment, but still didn’t expect to hear that call on such a rainy night.
“It’s something we’ve practiced over the past couple of weeks. Just never knew when it was going to come up. I’m surprised it came up during the rain game, but I still got it a little bit,” Meyers said after the 23-17 win.
Meyers saw the tight coverage on Burkhead, but he wasn’t going to holster the football.
“I was throwing that regardless,” Meyers said. “Once I seen which backs we had in there, who was going out, and when I seen the leverage he had on him, I knew I was giving him a chance regardless.”
It was just the fifth touchdown pass for the Patriots this season, as Newton entered the game with two (before throwing one to Burkhead earlier in the first half) and Jarrett Stidham entered the game with one.
After taking that 13-10 lead, the Patriots never gave it back, building that cushion up to 23-10 before ultimately winning 23-17.
Meyers did absorb a pretty heavy shot from defensive end Derek Wolfe after releasing the pass, but he said he was feeling too good to even remember it.
“I don’t even remember the hit, honestly. I was ecstatic after the play happened. I don’t even remember getting hit,” Meyers said. “I just know I was happy.”