Patriots Tom Brady, Rookie WR Kenbrell Thompkins Struggle to Connect in Debut

Ian Logue
September 08, 2013 at 07:52pm ET

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Just when you thought they were a perfect match, it appears that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins still have some work to do.

The two players struggled mightily to get on the same page on Sunday, and didn't look anywhere near as in sync as they did during the exhibition season. During the preseason Thompkins and Brady were the two players that seemed to have the best chemistry, with Brady missing just twice after connecting with the rookie on 10-of-12 passes for 116 yards.

Thompkins and Brady struggled to get on the same page on Sunday.
(USA TODAY Images)

On Sunday it was a completely different story, and it wasn't for lack of trying. Brady went his way 14 times, but connected just four times for 42 yards on the afternoon. There were moments where you could tell Brady was expecting an adjustment that didn't come, and it appears the two are still a work in progress.

“Yeah, this is our first opportunity so things are a lot different on the game field," said Brady after the game. "Things are very unpredictable on the game field. There’s nothing you can talk about, you’re just trying to react. So you’ve got to build confidence in each other and then go out there and make the plays if you can."

With Aaron Dobson not active for the game the only other rookie receiver who saw action was Josh Boyce, who was targeted just twice and didn't see any where near the amount of playing time that Thompkins did.

Their inability to connect ended up contributing to the offense ending up in long-yardage situations. Brady went to Thompkins eight times on first down, connecting just twice and was also just 2-of-4 on 2nd down. Their issues throwing the ball lead to 12 of their 20 third downs being from 3rd-and-7 or longer, and they converted 11 in total on the afternoon - none of which were completed to Thompkins. On third down Brady looked his way just twice, one of which he caught but failed to make sure his second foot stayed in bounds on a sideline route,

Obviously it's early and we've seen these two players be better that what fans saw Sunday. They've got a short turnaround now to try and work out the kinks with the New York Jets coming to Foxboro on Thursday night, and hopefully this learning experience helps to get them moving more in the right direction.

"It was a good experience, a good learning experience," said Brady. "All these games are going to be tough. This was as tough as you’re going to make down to the last play.”

"I’m glad we started with a win, I mean winning feels a hell of a lot better than losing. I don’t think our execution was flawless by any stretch. We had a lot of mistakes, and we’ve got to get a lot better.”