Watson had the answers
FOXBOROUGH - Benjamin Watson stood in front of his locker 12 days ago answering questions about his career. Did he think he had done enough to make the 53-man roster? Was he anxious? Nervous? Concerned?
Watson didn’t subscribe to any of those emotions.
“Uncertainty’’ was the best word, he said.
After the cuts and the changes were complete, Watson still owned a Patriots jersey, and last night he showed why.
With 50 seconds left in the game, Watson sprinted to the middle of the end zone and turned just in time to secure a line-drive pass from Tom Brady to put the Patriots ahead of Buffalo, 25-24, a score that would hold up after the Bills’ last drive fizzled.
The touchdown, a 16-yard pass, was the second of the night for Watson, coming a little more than a minute after his first. That matched his season total from last year.
“I was so excited for Ben just for the simple fact that a lot of people were writing him off and counting him out that he was going to be cut and he wasn’t going to be on the team,’’ said running back Kevin Faulk. “He has strong faith and he kept his faith and kept moving forward, and good things happen.’’
Watson missed a majority of the preseason because of a hamstring injury and was faced with questions about his future in the days leading up to the roster deadline. He participated in practice all week leading up to last night’s game and showed no signs of injury, hauling in six catches for 77 yards.
With all of the emotion of the last two weeks, Watson said all he could do was “just go out there and play.’’
Watson caught an 18-yard touchdown with 2:06 left to make it 24-19, after which the Patriots failed on a conversion pass.
The missed 2-point attempt seemed to be a moot point until Buffalo’s Leodis McKelvin carried the kickoff out of the end zone and Pierre Woods forced a fumble that gave the Patriots life.
Watson had dropped a pass earlier in the night, and he said his mind-set couldn’t change at a crucial point in the game.
“You’re going to drop balls, going to miss assignments, everybody does it,’’ Watson said. “The question is, how do you come back from it, how does it affect you? Do you move on to the next play?’’
Watson moved on and ran a route similar to the one he ran for his first touchdown.
The coverage was a little tighter, but, Watson said, Brady “put it where the defender couldn’t see it. Only I had a chance at it, so it was a great throw.’’
Watson was displaying the same composure he showed days earlier when it appeared his future with the Patriots was in doubt. That balance, he said, is key not only for himself but teammates, especially Brady, Faulk, and Randy Moss.
“All three of those guys are leaders on our team, and we have been in situations before where we’ve all been in tough games last year, the year before and the year before,’’ Watson said.
“We’re going to continue to be in tough games and it just goes down to practice and being there before and it goes down to doing your job.’’
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.