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Kendrick Bourne latest Patriots free-agent addition to break out amid winning streak

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots continue to blossom as the 2021 regular season moves forward. As a team, they are lightyears from where they were just six weeks ago with this winning streak now placing them in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. Not only has the club as a whole come into its own, so have a number of new additions. The bulk of the heavy hitters from New England’s big free-agent spending spree last spring did need some time to get acclimated, but a majority have since come on. The latest to burst onto the scene is Kendrick Bourne, who hauled in two touchdowns in the Patriots’ 36-13 win over the Titans in Week 12.  

The veteran receiver — who signed a three-year, $15 million deal back in March — was able to make his presence known throughout the early portions of the year but has started to jump to another level over the course of this winning streak. In his first six games as a Patriot, Bourne caught 18 of his 24 targets (75%) for 282 yards and two touchdowns. During these last six games, Bourne has 341 yards and three touchdowns while catching 24 of his 29 targets (83%). 

Sunday’s win also showed his versatility as his first score came on a slick red zone pass from Mac Jones on the team’s opening possession where Bourne had to make a difficult catch in coverage after beating his defender to the corner of the end zone. 

Later in the contest, Bourne also had a back-breaking 41-yard touchdown that extended the Patriots lead after he was able to break through a number of would-be tacklers, partially thanks to a key block by fellow receiver Jakobi Meyers

“KB has given us a lot of explosive plays through the course of the year,” Bill Belichick said postgame. “He made a great catch and run here today and I thought Jakobi [Meyers] made a really timely block on the sideline to kind of get KB down there and KB ran well on the sideline, didn’t go out of bounds, fought for the extra yards. Had a nice, stiff arm. Finished the run, so that was it. It was a great play by KB. He’s done that a few times. 

“You know, those explosive plays are just such game-changers and obviously today we didn’t do a great job in the red area. We left a lot of points on the field but when you get a play like that where you can run it in last 40 yards and not have to – not have to run a dozen plays down in the red area makes it a lot easier. Love to see those plays happen. Obviously missed a couple opportunities there earlier in the game. But that was a great play.”

While Bourne’s numbers have seen an uptick, it’s not just a statistical leap for him as he noted postgame that the coaching staff has also developed him into a batter ball carrier. 

“I’m totally different,” Bourne said. “When I first came in, I was swinging the ball everywhere, kind of playing my style of play, and he [Bill Belichick] corrected it fast. He taught me to keep the ball high and tight at all times and eventually my body just started adjusting to keeping the ball right here. It’s just about securing the ball, having ball security. We emphasize no turnovers, so it’s just a blessing that I can improve in different ways and be versatile for this team. It’s just dope how they’re developing me.”

Bourne will continue to be a key piece for Mac Jones as the Patriots head down the stretch run to try and win the division and him getting hot just as the weather starts to get cold couldn’t be a more ideal outcome for New Engalnd’s offensive attack. 




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