Sunday, December 4, 2011
Cheers to jeers for Ochocinco
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaChad Ochocinco can't haul in this first-half pass.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Another week, another failed opportunity to get on track for Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
One week after a hamstring ailment left him inactive agains the Eagles, Ochocinco was back on the field against the Colts. With the Patriots releasing second-year wide receiver Taylor Price on Saturday, Ochocinco and the No. 3 receiver spot remained in the spotlight and the 11th-year veteran did little to grasp the latest opportunity.
The day started off on the right foot. Ochocinco earned early reps in spread formations and, after Indianapolis dominated possession early on, he drew the loudest cheers of the game to that point when he hauled in a 12-yard catch on third-and-8 from the Indianapolis 41. Six plays later, the Patriots were in the end zone and it sparked four consecutive touchdowns by New England.
After the drive, while reviewing photos from the scoring march, Brady could be seen motioning for Ochocinco to join a huddle that included Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. Brady seemed to be showing his receivers something he noticed in the coverage.
Sure enough, on the first play of the next drive, Wes Welker, who was tearing up the Colts' zone, ran a little curl route from the slot position and the safety jumped on him. Ochocinco was running with space on the sideline next to Welker, but he couldn't haul in a catchable pass from Brady, the ball fumbling out of his hands as he crashed to the turf in front of the Patriots' bench.
The play elicited a few groans from the crowd at Gillette Stadium, seemingly still waiting for Ochocinco to build any sort of momentum. New England went to a no-huddle attack two plays later and Ochocinco spent much of the second half glued to the sideline.
Ochocinco played a mere 10 snaps, all in the first half.
Ochocinco now boasts 12 catches for 213 yards this season. He has only three catches since Week 6, the two others coming in a solid Week 10 effort against the Jets.