New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry caught two passes from quarterback Tom Brady in Sunday's Week 15 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and one of those receptions played a critical role in the defending champs blowing the game open in the second half.
The Patriots had good field position on their first drive of the third quarter thanks to an interception by veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore. After driving down to the 7-yard line, Brady and the offense faced a 3rd-and-goal situation. Brady took the snap, went through his reads and couldn't find an open target. The Patriots offensive line provided great protection, and Brady finally fired a pass into the back of the end zone, where Harry made a fantastic diving play to haul in his second touchdown catch of the season. The score put New England up 20-10.
"It was a good play by (Harry)," Brady told reporters after his team's 34-13 victory at Paul Brown Stadium. "He adjusted his route, and then came back and found some space. It was a good play. We needed it."
Brady likes the work ethic Harry is showing in an effort to improve as much as possible as the playoffs near.
"He's fighting. He's working hard every week to learn," Brady said. "He's a very hard-working guy. It's fun to see him make those plays."
Harry also ran the ball twice for 22 yards, showing his versatility as someone who can be a threat in the passing attack and also make plays in the run game.
The rookie wideout played 40 snaps Sunday after only playing only two in last week's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots gave Harry more responsibility and he responded well. Giving Harry even more of an opportunity to make plays over the final two weeks of the regular season will best prepare him to make a positive impact when the Patriots need it most in the playoffs.