Quality Backup: New England Patriots' QB Brian Hoyer Plays Well In Relief

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJanuary 3, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 02:  Brian Hoyer #8 of the New England Patriots celebrates his first career touchdown pass in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins on January 2, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Entering the week 17 season finale, the New England Patriots had already locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which declared their game against the Miami Dolphins to be "meaningless."

During many Week 17 games, teams like to pull their starters early to avoid a risk of injury, and that's what New England did. 

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made the quarterback switch early in the second half with the team nursing a comfortable 31-0 lead. 

As Tom Brady left the game, backup quarterback Brian Hoyer entered. 

The second-year pro out of Michigan State looked cool and poised as he took the helm of the New England offense. 

Just a few plays into Hoyer's day, New England was standing on Miami's 42-yard line, and wide receiver Brandon Tate told Hoyer to hit him deep. 

“We just went out there and I told him, ‘If you’ve got a chance, just throw it up there to me,’” Tate said to reporters at the end of the game. 

As Hoyer received the snap, he recognized the passers' pocket forming, and with a quick release threw a perfect rainbow pass to Tate running across the field and into the end zone. 

With the completed pass of 42 yards and a score, it was Hoyer's first touchdown of his career.

Hoyer explained the memorable moment to the media at the end of the game: "I just saw the ref put his hands up, and I heard the crowd cheer, so I figured it was a touchdown."

The backup quarterback finished the day with an impressive 111.7 passer rating while completing seven of his 13 passes for 122 yards. Hoyer had the lone touchdown, but did not turn the ball over.

Patriots fans should feel good about Hoyer's performance against a very aggressive Miami defense. He wasn't sacked once and he knew when to step up in the pocket and deliver the ball quickly. 

Hoyer showed poise, confidence and potential in Sunday's 38-7 victory over Miami. 

With Hoyer only being a second-year player, he has a lot to learn and has time to develop into a quality quarterback in the NFL


This article was first seen at PatriotsPlus.net

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