These ex-Patriots all scored impressive touchdowns Sunday


On what was a tough Sunday for the current members of the New England Patriots, several of their former players had big days elsewhere -- and not just the usual suspects in Tampa Bay.

Four former members of the organization, all of whom played for the Patriots as recently as their 2018 championship season, found the end zone for their new teams on Sunday: Sony Michel, Braxton Berrios, Cordarrelle Patterson and Rex Burkhead.

It's not that the current rendition of the Patriots particularly miss any of these players -- especially when Damien Harris had another monster game in New England's 33-21 defeat -- but at least in a few cases, you can't help but envision what sort of impacts they could have had at other points of the season.

Key takeaways from Patriots' lackluster Week 16 loss to Bills

Here's a roundup of the ex-Pats who scored in Week 16:

Sony Michel

A first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2018, Michel was traded to the Los Angeles Rams this summer and scored just his third rushing touchdown of the season on Sunday.

But Michel has been coming on strong for the Rams over his last four games following a lackluster start in LA. His 131 yards rushing in the 30-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday were the second-most of his career, after only a 133-yard showing against the New York Jets as a rookie in New England.

His 423 yards rushing are his most-ever over any four-game stretch of his career, and Michel is averaging just under 4.8 yards per carry during the span. If nothing else, he's finishing strong in a contract year, taking advantage of injuries on the Rams' depth chart at running back.


Braxton Berrios

Berrios, a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2018 who never appeared in a regular season game for the team, led the NFL in yards per kick return entering Sunday at 28.7 for the Jets. He finally broke one for a score in New York's 26-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, a 103-yard return in the second quarter which gave the Jets a 12-9 lead.

Berrios also had five catches for 37 yards against the Jaguars, bringing his season totals to 38 catches for 366 yards. With the performance, he set a new career-high for receptions in a single season and needs just 29 yards to set a new high-water mark there.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Now in his ninth NFL season, Patterson has emerged as one of the more unique offensive weapons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons. His status as one of the greatest kick returners in league history secured, Patterson has surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the first time in his career in 2021 with more than 500 yards both rushing and receiving entering play Sunday.

His stat line for the Falcons on Sunday was far from his best, with only 14 yards rushing and -1 yards receiving, but he did score his 11th total touchdown of the season on a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for a 7-3 Atlanta lead over the Detroit Lions. The Falcons would beat the Lions, 20-16, to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

Rex Burkhead

Not only did Burkhead score a pair of touchdowns for the Houston Texans in a 41-29 upset victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, he rushed for a career-high 149 yards in the process.

It was just the second game with more than 100 yards on the ground for the nine-year veteran, who last did so as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016; his best mark rushing for the Patriots was 78 yards in 2017.