Chris Hogan runs free with clinching touchdown catch
FOXBORO — Chris Hogan might not have been the intended target, but he proved the correct option in a pressure situation.
With the Patriots clinging to a 23-20 lead against the Ravens with 6:18 left, Tom Brady delivered a perfect strike down the middle to a wide-open Hogan at the Baltimore 45. The speedy wide receiver went the rest of the way untouched to complete a 79-yard touchdown, and the Patriots went on to complete a 30-23 victory last night at Gillette Stadium.
“He made a great play off a run fake,” Brady said. “He was not really the primary target, but he saw what I saw, and he adjusted his route. I just tried to put it out there for him.”
Hogan was thrilled Brady had the confidence to lean on him in the key situation. That long touchdown capped off a big night for Hogan, who caught five passes for a career-high 129 yards.
“It was at the point in the game where we knew someone had to step up,” Hogan said. “We were on the same page, we saw the same thing, and Tom made a great throw. It was a big play, and I was happy to be able to make it.”
Hogan didn’t realize just how open he was on the play. His first concern was to catch the ball.
“When you are running routes, you’re only thinking one thing, and that’s catch the ball,” Hogan said. “Everything after that is a bonus. When I looked up at the Jumbotron and didn’t see anybody, I just ran as fast as I could.”
The Patriots ran a similar play earlier in the game and didn’t connect. Bill Belichick felt the opportunity would present itself later, and it was the perfect time to test that feeling.
“(Eric) Weddle was on the weak side and (Matt) Elam rotated over to our side,” Belichick said. “The safeties were really stretched out, and the play-action was working. It was a big play for us.”
Making big plays in December is something Hogan longed to do when he left Buffalo in March to sign a three-year contract with the Patriots. With injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, Hogan is proving to be a valuable signing.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Hogan said. “It’s amazing to be playing these kind of games in December. I’m just happy to be a part of this.”