FOXBORO -- In three games with the Patriots back in 2009, Joey Galloway had seven receptions for 67 yards.
In his first eight games with the Patriots back in 2006, Doug Gabriel had 24 receptions.
In his first eight games with the Patriots this season, Chad Ochocinco has nine receptions. For the third straight game, he was held without a catch. And on Sunday, it wasn't for lack of trying. Tom Brady targeted Ocho five times. The incompletions were -- in nearly every case -- not even near-misses.
Whether it was Brady making poor throws, Ocho running the wrong routes at the wrong depth and with the wrong timing, it's impossible to divine.
Brady, when asked about Ochocinco, said, "Were working at it. Weve only played together for eight games. Were just going to keep working at it. Weve got no other choice but just to keep working at it."
Ocho long ago made it clear he isn't interested in talking football with anyone not willing to genuflect before him and treat him with tender gloves.
And so it goes. A 6 million investment running around in a game that begged for someone, anyone, to help take the heat off of Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker, and that 6 million investment looking like he just wandered in off Route 1 and put on shoulder pads.
There was an incompletion on a slant that was batted away in the red zone. There was a sideline incompletion when Ocho came down out of bounds. There was a deep out on which Brady threw to the sidelines and Ocho hadn't yet arrived. There was a post-corner looking route on which Ocho seemed to stop and leap before Brady expected him to. And then there was Ocho on the sidelines pleading his case to a frustrated Brady.
Square peg? Meet round hole. It ain't working.
The only question now is whether Bill Belichick is willing to admit that fact, cut his losses and lob Ochocinco overboard or continue to play everyone for fools and pretend that progress is being made.