A game for the New England Patriots to bury marked a game for Kendrick Bourne to build upon.
The veteran wide receiver set a career high with 96 receiving yards in what became a 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Along the way came his first touchdown for the organization he joined on a three-year, $15 million contract in March.
“It felt good, but you know it is not enough,” Bourne told reporters during his postgame press conference. “I always want to win and am just focused on winning and just want to have another opportunity to make another play. I don’t brag and boast on what I did. I just try to think of what is next because it didn’t get us to win, so it is more about winning and what I can do next to help the team get past the next hump.”
The 2017 undrafted free agent out of Eastern Washington slacklined the sideline and swung the football inside the pylon for his first touchdown as a Patriot with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter. His move on the other end of a 50-50 ball from rookie quarterback Mac Jones made it a one-score game at the time.
Bourne’s previous 11 touchdowns transpired during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers.
“Just transitioning through the catch,” Bourne said of the play. “I can’t get it with my body slowing down so I just had to get there as quick as I can, and we practiced that throughout the week and it hit pretty well then and showed up in the game. Practice reps make game reps and like I said just running through the ball and catching it in transition instead of stopping and trying is what makes the play big.”
The 26-year-old Bourne’s yardage high before Sunday was 86, notched last December against the Dallas Cowboys. His six receptions checked in behind only the seven he once notched against the Arizona Cardinals and the eight he once notched against the Seattle Seahawks.
But the Patriots were intercepted on three occasions on the way to becoming 1-2 on the season. The quarterback under center was sacked twice and listed in the gamebook for a total of 11 hits. And on the ground, a Saints defense that had allowed 2.8 yards per carry on the campaign kept its form by allowing 2.9 yards per carry.
“Just building that chemistry each and every week,” added Bourne. “Practice makes perfect, so things that we don’t do well in practice hardly show up in the game. So, I wouldn’t say everything in practice was bad, but some plays we really want back. And you can tell, we kind of beat ourselves. It was just that kind of game.”
The Patriots host quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff next Sunday.