Chad Ochocinco tweeted Sunday morning that he forgot to set his clock back for daylight savings time, which led him to arrive at his pregame-breakfast-place-of-choice, IHOP, an hour before it opened.
In retrospect, having to wait for his pancakes might have been the highlight of his Sunday. Because if not for documented proof that he’d been targeted five times by Tom Brady during the Patriots’ 24-20 loss to the Giants, it might be tempting to ask whether he showed up at Gillette Stadium at all.
Ochocinco was held without a catch yesterday despite being the intended receiver for more of Brady’s passes than he has during any of the previous seven games this season.
Entering the game, Ochocinco had been targeted 16 times, with nine receptions for 136 yards.
Last year with the Bengals, he was targeted at least five times in 13 of 14 games. During the 2010 season opener against the Patriots, he was targeted 13 times — and caught 12, for 159 yards.
Yes, it’s true. His numbers in one game against the Patriots last year surpass what he’s accomplished in eight games with the Patriots this year.
It’s fair to wonder how involved he would have been had Taylor Price, whom Bill O’Brien said recently the Patriots need to utilize, not been sidelined with a hamstring injury. Which is damning in itself. Price is a second-year player with three receptions in three career games. Ochocinco has had five seasons of at least 87 catches and eight with a minimum of 67.
While an optimist might find some suggestion in those five targets that Ochocinco had done something to begin winning Brady’s trust after he threw his way just one in each of the previous two games, the reality is that the quarterback and the 10-year-veteran receiver looked as out of sync has they have all season.
When Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Ochocinco’s inability to connect with Brady, he answered with a generality.
“The passes we missed, we’ve just got to do a better job on,” he said. “We hit some and there are some we didn’t hit. We’ll keep working on those. That included everybody.”
Brady, who completed 28 of 49 passes, could be seen conversing animatedly with Ochocinco after one missed connection. When he was asked during his postgame press conference whether he and Ochocinco were closer to being on the same page — they did nearly connect on a third-and-3 play on the Giants 13 in the third quarter, but Michael Coe made a nice play in coverage — Brady answered in the affirmative, though not particularly convincingly.
“Yeah, we’re working at it,” said Brady. “We’ve only played together for eight games. We’re just going to keep working at it. We’ve got no other choice but just to keep working at it.”