FOXBOROUGH — Julian Edelman showed exactly why he was taking away snaps from Wes Welker in the beginning of the season.
In the Patriots’ 59-24 blowout of the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, he racked up 222 all-purpose yards, catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, returning two punts for 117 yards including a touchdown, and leading the team in rushing with a reverse that went 47 yards.
He threatened a touchdown on that play, too.
“It was unfortunate I didn’t get in,” said Edelman, who sheepishly tried to downplay the day he had. “But it set us up for a touchdown. We got the touchdown as an offense and it kind of put it away, so that’s good.”
Seven weeks ago, Edelman was at the center of controversy in New England and it was not of his own doing. Fans were upset, lighting up the call boards at the local radio stations, because Edelman was getting the majority of Tom Brady’s targets and Welker was seeing a paltry number of balls thrown his way. Edelman’s five catches Sunday tied for the most he’s had this season in the Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
But fans had not seen the progression and athleticism he showed as a receiver in training camp, easily showing himself as one of the top receivers in camp, with the sort of overall versatility that made it OK for the team to let go of veterans Deion Branch, Donte’ Stallworth, and Jabar Gaffney. Edelman was the Patriots’ practice all-star.
On Sunday, he finally got things to go his way on the field.
“I had some opportunities to make some plays and was fortunate it went my way today,” he said. “We executed a few plays in special teams. Defense played well. We played overall complimentary football game. It was a good, team win. We have a short week now, and we gotta move on to the Jets.”
The punt return, a 68-yard scamper, was the third punt return for a touchdown in his career. It was the team’s first this season after a number of good-looking attempts over the past couple of weeks.
“I’ll tell you right now, we’ve been working real hard as a unit to get that done and create an explosion play on the punt return unit,” Edelman said. “And those guys, they’ve been working their tail off. And they executed what they had to do, held up their guys, we got the gunners, as a punt returner you gotta make one miss, and finished blocks, and we did that. It was a good overall execution of a play.”
Edelman summed up the day, acknowledging the pressure that comes with playing for the Patriots, while addressing the 59 points the team hung up on the Colts.
“We did a lot of things right, I’m sure we did a lot of things wrong,” he said. “We have to watch the film and get ready for this short week. So we’ll see.
“We scored on defense, we scored on special teams and scored on offense. It was a complimentary game. Like I said, we haven’t watched the film yet. I’m sure there’s a lot of things we can do better, and I’m sure we’ll be told that tomorrow.”