Patriots

Patriots

The Patriots made waves earlier this season when they traded with the Cleveland Browns to acquire troubled and talented wide receiver Josh Gordon.

The trade was either a success or a failure, depending on how you look at it.

Gordon came to the Patriots following their Week 2 loss in Jacksonville, at a time when the team was in desperate need of receivers amid Julian Edelman's four-game suspension to start the season.

Gordon's athletic ability was apparent: He made highlight-reel catches and racked up 40 receptions for 720 yards during his 11 games with New England.

Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett, meanwhile, took a backseat to Gordon, and only had four receptions on four targets between Weeks 10 and 16.

This number is telling, however: While Dorsett has not been on the field as much as some would prefer, he has been very effective when targeted.

This season, Dorsett has caught 37 of his 50 targets for a catch rate of nearly 80 percent.

Dorsett made an acrobatic touchdown catch in the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs despite a pass interference call against the defense.

But Dorsett knew all along he would be called on at some point to step up, and with Super Bowl LIII a couple of days away and Gordon in the rearview mirror following his December suspension, the Patriots will be counting on Dorsett to step up in a big way.

“I would just say I knew I had to step up, Dorsett told reporters at his Tuesday press conference, Via Zack Cox of NESN. "Because in order for us to be here, somebody had to step up. I knew my opportunity was going to have to come. They were going to call on me, and I just had to step up. And I was prepared for it. I prepared the whole time for it when I wasn’t playing, and at the end of the day, I was ready for it."

 

Dorsett was acquired by the Patriots in a 2017 trade with the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for rookie backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

He has been a very reliable receiver for the Patriots in his time with the team, delivering strong performances when called upon.

The Patriots will need a strong performance out of Dorsett once again Sunday, if the team hopes to win its sixth Super Bowl against the Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

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