By Danny Picard
FOXBORO -- Brian Hoyer didn't see his first career NFL touchdown pass. He was too busy getting slammed into the ground by Dolphins lineman Paul Soliai.
With the Pats leading 31-0, Hoyer took the team to the line of scrimmage with the ball at the Miami 42. He faked an end around hand-off to Julian Edelman,stepped back in the pocket, looked deep, and let it fly to Brandon Tate. Tate made an athletic, diving grab in the left side of the end zone.
But allHoyer witnessed was the official's call.
"I saw the ref put his hands up, that's what I saw because I got hit," said Hoyer after New England's 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins. "I saw him put his hands up, so I was just so elated, I just sprinted down.
"That was a play that Brandon and I talked about before, and we just kind of had a good feeling about it, going into the game. He made a tremendous catch. You watch the replay afterwards, and he really went out and got it and made a great catch."
"That was real good, for Hoyer's first one," said Tate. "So we just went out there and I told him, 'If you've got a chance, just throw it up there to me.' So he trusted me, and he threw it up there for me and made the big play."
Hoyer said that he and Tate both have chemistry with that specific play, because they've run it many times before. But they ran it at practice, which is where Hoyer sees most of his playing time.
But with everything clinched that could possibly be clinched, and a 31-0 lead midway through the third quarter, Hoyer got the call to finish it out, and did so with a 7-of-13 performance for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Much of the talk heading into the game was about how much playing time Tom Brady would see. And it looked as if Brady was done in the second quarter, as Patriots coach Bill Belichick decided to put Hoyer into the game during the middle of a drive.
But Brady soon came back in, and as it turned out, Belichick was just testing Hoyer.
"Well, that could easily happen in a game, when a quarterback comes out, and the other quarterback has to go in," said Belichick. "That's what he did."
"It was just a thing where I was just standing there, and Bill Belichick was like, 'All right, go in.' And it was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing," said Hoyer. "He just said, 'You've got to be ready. You never know when you might have to just be thrown in there for a couple plays.'
"You don't play all year, and to get in there, it's just fun," said Hoyer. "You get in there and start making plays. I hit that quick slant to Taylor Price, and after that, I felt the comfort level come back a little bit. It's just fun to go out there and actually play."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.