FOXBORO, Mass. -- Julian Edelman is one of the most reliable wide receivers in the NFL, and when the New England Patriots needed him in their Week 6 matchup against the New York Giants, the 33-year-old veteran answered the bell.
The Patriots entered Thursday night's game without wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who suffered a hamstring injury early in New England's Week 5 win over the Washington Redskins. Dorsett's absence was a blow to the Patriots' wide receiver depth, but that wasn't the final setback.
Veteran wideout Josh Gordon exited in the second quarter after his leg got awkwardly tangled up as he tried to tackle Giants linebacker Markus Golden at the goal line. Gordon's departure left the Patriots with Edelman and two rookies, Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers, as their top three wideouts for the rest of the night.
Being forced to play out of one personnel grouping is far from an ideal situation, but the Patriots handled it pretty well in outscoring the Giants 14-0 in the second half.
"It is a game of adversity and something that we were prepared for," Edelman said. "It wasn’t as pretty as we wanted it but we were able to get it done, and hats off to the defense and special teams for once again doing unbelievable things. We just have to hold our (end of the) bargain up more."
Edelman responded to the adversity with a brilliant performance, hauling in a game-high nine receptions and 113 receiving yards on 15 targets. His best catch of the night came late in the fourth quarter as the Patriots were aiming for one more score. He leaped and made a fantastic diving grab for a 36-yard reception to set up a 1st-and-goal scenario for the Pats, which they would later convert with a Tom Brady QB sneak into the end zone.
Edelman has tallied 100-plus receiving yards in back-to-back games, and we should expect him to receive plenty more targets as the Patriots deal with injuries at wide receiver.
The Patriots are the AFC's only unbeaten team at 6-0, but they aren't without flaws. Most of them can be found on the offensive side of the ball, where slow starts and a lack of consistency are two areas that have plagued the defending Super Bowl champs over the last four games.
First-half injuries in each of the last two games have given the Patriots a little bit of adversity to overcome, but they have weathered these storms with impressive coaching and players stepping up when their role has increased due to teammates suffering injuries.
"I think it is a testament to our coaching staff and their ability in making adjustments in the second half, seeing things, and guys just grinding and working, and that is something to be said," Edelman said.
"This is a game of adjustment, and obviously you want to start off fast but it's not easy winning in this league. It seems like every team is tough, it doesn’t matter the record, where you are at and you don’t want it any other way but that is what comes when you are playing these type of teams each week. It may not start off right but as long as we can keep it going and just keep being positive and fighting, then that is when good things lead."
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