Celebrating a birthday on game day is “kind of tough,” according to Jakobi Meyers, as sitting in meetings all day doesn’t carry quite the same pizzazz as other festivities might.
“It’s not what you would typically expect if you were back home,” said Meyers, who turned 24 on Monday. “I enjoy being around my team, but it’s definitely a business day.”
Though he may not have lived it up off the field quite yet, Meyers celebrated in style on it with a career night. He racked up 12 catches on 14 targets for 169 yards in the Patriots’ come-from-behind, 30-27 win over the New York Jets.
Meyers’s previous career high was 74 yards, which came last year as an undrafted rookie. His total Monday is the most by an NFL player on his birthday since Bob Hayes had 187 for the Dallas Cowboys in 1970. The final tally of 169 is also the eighth-most receiving yards in the Bill Belichick era. Meyers’s eight receiving first downs are the most by a Patriots wide receiver since Brandon LaFell in 2014.
“Man, I’m extremely proud of Jakobi,” said quarterback Cam Newton, who had known Meyers since he coached him at his football camp when Meyers was in high school. “He’s the person I’ve known the longest through this whole ordeal.”
Newton found Meyers for a 20-yard completion with eight seconds remaining, setting up a 51-yard game-winning field goal from Nick Folk as time expired.
Meyers said the Patriots practice that exact situation every week, and they had a specific plan going into the drive. They knew how many yards Folk felt comfortable kicking from, and they were able to get to that spot thanks in large part to Meyers’s route-running.
“Jakobi making a great catch there, like he did all night, just making plays left and right,” running back Rex Burkhead said.
Meyers called this game a “great opportunity” for the Patriots to compete after struggling the past few weeks.
“I feel like we showed a lot of fight today, a lot of toughness,” Meyers said. “We were never really out of the game. We always felt like we had a chance to be in it. It’s definitely a momentum-builder, I think.”
He said right now he’s simply a young player trying to maximize the opportunity in front of him. Meyers said he isn’t out to prove anything to anyone. He knows his teammates and coaches have seen what he can do in practice, and his personal goal is to put more and more positive plays on film in games.
Monday was another major step in the right direction, as he now has 22 catches for 287 yards in his last three games. He’s excited to celebrate his birthday more traditionally on Tuesday, but for now, he’s thrilled to get a win.
“It was a fun game, I’m not going to lie,” Meyers said. “It was fun to be out there with the team and just enjoy every moment.”
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