FOXBOROUGH — On his first play on an NFL field, Aaron Dobson slipped behind the New York Jets secondary for a 39-yard touchdown.
First play, first catch, first touchdown. Who knew it would be the Patriots’ only touchdown in an ugly 13-10 win Thursday night over an AFC East rival?
The touchdown was a sure confidence booster for the rookie, who missed the first game of the season with a hamstring injury. But after his initial splash — just seven plays into the game — Dobson’s performance was much more aligned with that of a first-year player learning the intricacies of a complicated playbook.
He dropped two passes and appeared to be out of place on two occasions, further giving credence to the view that the Patriots’ offense is out of synch with its new group of wide receivers. Tom Brady was particularly frustrated in the second quarter as the two seemed to get crossed up on one play, a third down on the Jets’ 12-yard line where Dobson didn’t seem to see a Brady pass coming.
“I mean, I feel like there’s definitely things we can improve on,” Dobson said. “We got a short week this week, so we got 10 days off right now. So we just gotta get our timing and stuff together this week going into the next game.”
Dobson finished with three catches for 56 yards on 10 targets. It wasn’t just about the dropped passes though, giving credit to the Jets’ tough defense.
“It probably was both,” he said. “They got a good defense. I feel like there was some plays we left out there as well, so I feel like we can just get better in those areas.”
Dobson showed off his precious ability to get behind defenses. He found himself streaking down the sideline on a few plays, open and in Brady’s crosshairs. The two were unable to connect on those attempts, but it was a welcome sight, much like his first touchdown.
“You got to have a short memory,” Dobson said. “You gotta leave the play where it was at. A bad play happens you just gotta leave it there and just move on and just go to the next series or next drive.”
And the next game.