FOXBORO -- 'Hey, Julian. Go out against the Colts and have perhaps the best, most complete game of your career.'
No, that's not the directive Julian Edelman got before Sunday night. But considering his post-game remarks, it might as well have been.
"I just do what the coaches ask me to do and help try to contribute in any kind of way," Edelman verbally shrugged.
The Patriots got 222 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns of contribution from the receiver.
Better yet, break the numbers down further and call him a utility player.
Edelman had five catches on seven targets for 58 yards, which is a season-high. He had 47 yards on one rush, which is not only a personal best, but the longest run by anyone on the team in 2012. And finally, he racked up 117 yards on two punt returns, including one 68-yarder for a touchdown.
It was New England's second drive of the game.
"I'll tell you right now, we've been working real hard as a unit to get that done and create an explosion play on the punt return unit," Edelman said. "Those guys, they've been working their tail off, and executed what they had to do, held up their guys. We got their gunners. As a punt return unit, you've got to make one miss and finish blocks, and we did that. It was good overall execution on the play."
It's just like a Patriot, but especially like Edelman, to defer praise. It will be hard to diffuse rave reviews through the idea of "Team Play" after this game, however, especially to find out he's the first player from New England to score both a receiving and a returning touchdown in the same game since Irving Fryar did in 1985.
And those TD's were nearly two of three.
In the fourth quarter, Edelman got the ball on a first-and-10 reverse. He took off from the 50 and wasn't stopped until three yards shy of the goal line -- and then, only by his own teammate. Teammate Michael Hoomanawanui was running alongside Edelman to block on the run.
But, quite simply, the tight end lost his man.
"I heard the crowd and I was like, 'I know he's behind me, but I don't know where.' So I'm trying to look at the defender and I guess I was in Edelman's way," Hoomanawanui said with a sheepish laugh.
The two Patriots converged on the same path and Edelman's path to the end zone was blocked.
He admitted he was frustrated to be denied the end zone. But even then, Edelman pointed out that New England got the points anyway just a few plays later, so it didn't matter his name wasn't on the touchdown.
All in a day's work.
"I had some opportunities to make some plays and fortunately they went my way this time. We executed a few plays on special teams. Defense played well. We played, overall, a complimentary football game. It was a good team win."