Tuesday, November 22, 2011
No concern about Welker's quiet night
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/Charles KrupaWes Welker didn't have many catches Monday vs. the Chiefs.
Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker endured his quietest outing of the season Monday night, catching just two passes for 22 yards in New England's 34-3 triumph over the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.
Welker didn't have a catch until late in the fourth quarter and, for a fleeting moment, it seemed like his streak of consecutive games with at least one catch -- a streak off 88 games dating all the way back to Dec. 24, 2005, when he was blanked by the Tennessee Titans while playing for the Dolphins -- might be in jeopardy.
But neither Welker nor the New England coaching staff emerged concerned about the lack of a typical Welker-like production for the league's leader in receptions (74) and receiving yards (1,028).
“I think a lot of it was just us," Welker said after Monday's game. "They did some different types of things. They had a good game plan for us and did a good job. We just had to roll with it and have some other people step up and we did. We were able to come away with the win.”
On Tuesday, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien stressed that Welker played a good game, the ball simply didn't go in his direction often.
"For Wes, [it was] quiet as it relates to catches," said O'Brien. "Obviously, he only had two catches, but he does so many other things that help our offense. I don’t know if you guys watched the tape, but if you go back and watch it, he was blocking extremely well and helping us in the running game. We rushed for 157 yards. Some of that was because of him and how well he blocked. Obviously, the Chiefs had a good game plan and they did a good job for most of the night. We were able to make some plays as the game wore on and it ended up being pretty good."
Echoed coach Bill Belichick: "We grade players in the game based on them doing their assignment right and performing their responsibility on the play properly –- that’s what they’re graded on. Whatever a player is supposed to do -- run a route, block somebody, whatever it happens to be -- if they do what they’re doing properly, that’s really all they can do. The opportunities that they get, then you can evaluate those. If those opportunities go to somebody else or the running play, the production is going to show up with the running back, not the guys who are blocking. That’s the way it is. Wes, he does a good job for us; has done a good job all year in terms of his route running, his assignments, his blocking -- pretty much whatever we ask him to do, we can count on him to do it and perform it well. He’s done that consistently; he did it last night."