Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Phillip Dorsett isn't the most talented wide receiver on the New England Patriots roster, but he's quickly becoming one of quarterback Tom Brady's most trusted targets.

Most of the talk surrounding the Patriots entering Sunday night's season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers centered around Antonio Brown, the elite wide receiver who's set to officially join the defending champs this week. Brown's arrival set off quite a reaction on social media, with fans wondering if Brady's current group of receivers is the best of his 20-year career.

One wideout who didn't receive a ton of attention over the last 36 hours is Dorsett. He's not No. 1 or No. 2 on the depth chart, but his excellent performance in the playoffs last season, combined with his fantastic effort Sunday night, has established the 26-year-old as a key piece in New England's offense.

Dorsett absolutely torched the Steelers secondary in the Patriots' 33-3 victory at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night. He tallied four receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns. 

"(Dorsett) did a great job," Brady said. "Phil's smart, dependable, consistent, tough -- continued to take advantage of the opportunity and he's done a great job for us. He plays a lot of different spots. He was out there all training camp and came up with two huge plays tonight. So, it was great getting him the ball, seeing him score like that. And you can't forget about him because he can run through the defense and make a lot of plays with the ball in his hands. We'll just keep spreading it around."

 

Dorsett owns one of the most impressive streaks in the NFL. Brady's last 20 targets to Dorsett in the regular season, dating back to the 2018 campaign, all have resulted in completions. Dorsett credits a lot of the chemistry he's developed with Brady to their work out on the practice field.

"I would say it comes down to practice, just building trust in practice," Dorsett explained. "Before and after practice working on different routes and the timing of things. I think it definitely helps in games."

Both of Dorsett's touchdowns were impressive. The best of the bunch was his 58-yard score in the third quarter. Dorsett ran right past the Steelers defensive backs and Brady tossed a perfect ball. 

His first touchdown came in the second quarter. Brady split two Steelers defenders with another pinpoint throw, finding Dorsett for a 25-yard score.

"Phil has got a lot of speed. He can definitely stretch the field and we've seen him make those big plays before," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "We've seen it in practice. He had some big catches for us and, again, that opened up some other things offensively as well.

"Tom did a great job, solid coverage, hit him. Sometimes, those are the toughest throws for a quarterback when a guy is wide open running down the middle of the field, but he put it right on him. Phil's done a good job for us, been out there every day. He's a tough kid that's been very dependable. Smart, plays all the positions and has come through for us in a lot of big games."

The Patriots' wide receiver depth chart is getting pretty crowded, especially with Brown set to enter the mix. Dorsett's only goal is to just keep proving that he deserves a meaningful role in this offense, and with performances like Sunday night, he should have plenty more opportunities to showcase his talent.

"I focus on my job, and that's going out there and getting better every day," Dorsett said. "I feel like it's paying off. I can't worry about things I can't control, so I just come out here every day and and I work, and I work and I work, and I grind. That's all I worry about."

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