Michael Floyd saw Julian Edelman make a third-down grab in the third quarter, and suddenly his mindset changed from that of receiver to that of blocker. He sprinted across the field in Edelman's direction and locked onto Dolphins defensive back Tony Lippett as the biggest threat to what was shaping up as a potential long catch-and-run.
Then, leading with his shoulder, Floyd de-cleated Lippett. It was a clean, bone-rattling hit. Edelman, who later said he "felt some wind go by" from the collision behind him, was in the end zone for a 77-yard score soon thereafter.
PATRIOTS 35, DOLPHINS 14
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"That's just doing the extra stuff to get the job done for other guys," Floyd said after the game. "I thought that maybe Lippett might have been able to catch him so . . . I was just making sure it was a legal hit so I wouldn't get that mail, that little paper in the mail, with [a fine for] 10 grand or something like that. I think it was a pretty legal hit."
It was the signature play for Floyd during a 35-14 win over the Dolphins when he was given an opportunity to work extensively in the Patriots offense with quarterback Tom Brady. He saw 49 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, making three catches on three targets for 36 yards and a 14-yard score that came on a slant.
With rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell inactive due to a knee injury, Floyd became a go-to guy just a little more than two weeks after he was claimed off of waivers.
"My homework now is the playbook," said Floyd, who has been tutored by rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett in order to help him pick things up more quickly. "I had a great group of guys helping me, especially coaches and players, putting in the extra effort, the extra time, to making sure that when I go out here I don't make a fool of myself and I know what I'm doing. I credit my teammates, for sure."
Brady, for one, has been impressed.
"To come in at this point, like I said, is very tough," Brady explained. "There’s so much installation that’s already been done, we’ve talked about so many coaching points, and there’s really not the time to make the mistakes anymore. He’s a veteran, he’s played for a long time and I think he’s played in some meaningful games. Today, that was an unbelievable touchdown and the block was awesome.
"He got open on the slant. I had him open on another one but the pass got knocked down at the line of scrimmage. He’s done a great job. He’s put a lot of time and effort in . . . He went out there and played with a lot of confidence and it’s great to have good players. That helps everybody."
Like his block, Floyd's touchdown showed that at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he can be a physical force in the secondary. On the play, there were five Dolphins between him and the goal line, and he still punched it in to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead.
But it was the block that got the Patriots bench going.
"Obviously the touchdown was huge," Devin McCourty said, "but that block he made on Jules' touchdown, I mean, everybody on the bench went crazy. He's fit in well. Just doing the little things, working hard. Everybody talks about 'Patriots Way,' but that's what it is: Following the guys that are here and just doing the little things to get better each day."
Floyd has embraced the challenge, and on Sunday -- 20 days after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Scottsdale, Arizona -- he was rewarded.
"I'm in a good place," he said. "I'm not looking back at the past. It's all about moving forward. I'm glad that I'm here with the people around me and I feel wanted. That's a good feeling."