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100-yard mark: Chris Hogan’s breakout vs. Browns

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On Sunday, Chris Hogan eclipsed the century mark in receiving for the first time in his NFL career.

Chris Hogan had to wait until third NFL campaign to make his regular-season debut. He’d have to wait until his fourth to catch a touchdown. But on Sunday, standing six seasons and five teams into his career, the well-traveled wideout managed to reach another milestone.

FirstEnergy Stadium was the venue for Hogan. It was there, in a 33-14 win over the Cleveland Browns, that the former San Francisco 49er, New York Giant, Miami Dolphin and Buffalo Bill hit 100 yards receiving for the first time.

Hogan had come close to the century mark before, amassing 95 yards against the New England Patriots on Nov. 23, 2015. But it was with them that he’d surpass it, reeling in four passes for 114 yards in his 53rd regular-season contest and his first as a target for quarterback Tom Brady.

Here’s a look back on how it was amassed.

0:56 IN FIRST QUARTER

SECOND-AND-6

FLAT ROUTE: FIVE YARDS

With a 16-7 lead and under a minute remaining in the first, Hogan saw his first pass of the day from Brady. It transpired from “12” personnel, with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett lined up in the seams and Hogan and fellow wideout Julian Edelman on their outside shoulders. The close alignment left Cleveland’s defensive backs playing off in the event of shallow crossers, which played into the Patriots’ hands. A double-stick concept sent Hogan and Edelman running to the flats, and Brady quickly hit No. 15 before cornerback Jamar Taylor pushed him out just short of the marker.

0:31 IN FIRST QUARTER

THIRD-AND-1

QUICK SCREEN: TWO YARDS

After helping the Patriots’ offense move into a third-and-short situation, Hogan would be looked to again on the next snap. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder aligned at the “X,” and with Taylor standing nine yards off, there was room to make the quick screen work. Brady handled the snap from center and had the ball fired to the play’s lone route-runner in under one second. Hogan was beyond the chains by then.

14:29 IN SECOND QUARTER

SECOND-AND-8

SKINNY POST: 43 YARDS

As the second quarter got underway, Brady turned back to Hogan for a third time. And this time, it was via play action from the three-receiver set. Hogan lined up in the slot, prepping to run a skinny post across the face of Taylor and safety Ibraheim Campbell. As the ball was snapped and Brady sold handoff to running back LeGarrette Blount, things unfolded according to plan. Campbell bit on the run and his split-second reaction helped Hogan find daylight to the tune of a 43-yard gain. The diving grab brought New England down to the Cleveland seven.

8:01 IN SECOND QUARTER

THIRD-AND-6

FLY ROUTE: 63 YARDS

Five minutes after linking up for a 43-yard completion, Brady would find Hogan for what’d be the receiver’s new career long. The Patriots went with an empty backfield on the third-and-6, shipping James White into the slot on a flat pattern while Hogan stood opposite cornerback Joe Haden on the outskirts from him. But Brady’s eyes didn’t begin on that side of the field. His scan instead began on short side, where Edelman headed in motion to form a stack behind rookie Malcolm Mitchell. That initial glance would prove pivotal, as Haden lost track of Hogan, who zipped behind his back on a go route. Brady maneuvered the pocket, stepped up, and hit him for another over-the-shoulder grab. A Patriots 63-yard gain would be the byproduct.

With his four first-half grabs on Sunday afternoon, Hogan became the 26th different Patriot to post a 100-yard receiving game under Brady’s reign, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Hogan now has 12 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown through five games in a Patriots uniform. And while five of those catches have netted five yards or less, six others have gone for 19 yards or more.

That vertical presence is fast becoming another variable for secondaries to account for.