By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Phillip Dorsett had a great game on Sunday. But it's still just a game.
The receiver had about as promising a season debut as you can imagine in the Patriots' 27-20 victory over the Texans, boosting a receiving corps that entered the season with the lion's share of question marks. Seven catches and one touchdown later, Dorsett did his part to ease some of those concerns.
Still, the former Colts wideout has worked too hard to get to this point and become complacent. The Patriots have long been the NFL's model franchise in part because they're always looking to get better. Dorsett is no exception to that rule.
"It's just game one, we've got 15 more to go," said Dorsett. "It's a long season. It's just the first one."
Dorsett caught all seven of his targets for 66 yards and the score, a key four-yard TD with just 14 seconds left in the first half that gave the Patriots a 15-point cushion that they would be grateful for later in the game. But after emerging from the win as one of the team's top performers of the day, Dorsett is still going to pick his game apart looking ahead. It's all a part of building upon his performance and not getting too satisfied about a single good box score.
"I find something that I can do better in every game," said Dorsett. "No game is perfect. But the only thing that really matters is we won, so that's the biggest thing."
Another Patriot who recognized the imperfections was Tom Brady, who liked what he saw out of Dorsett. But he also acknowledged the offense's relatively uneven effort.
"Phillip did a great job, got some opportunity and then came up with the plays, came up with the catches," said Brady. "It's kind of what he's been doing all camp, all spring and it was good to see it show up today. So, we needed it.
"We need everybody who's out there to make plays. We're not out there to punt, but we've got to string more good plays together in order to score more points."
Dorsett himself echoed Brady's sentiments about being more consistent, and also credited the work he and Brady have put in to earn each other's trust.
"[Today's game] came with all the work we put in," said Dorsett. "Obviously I’m grateful that I’ve earned his trust. We've got to keep going, though. It's game one. Hopefully, we can string some more along."
Dorsett didn't just execute well when called upon, particularly in a three-completion sequence that culminated with his touchdown. He showed off some athleticism, too, snatching a pair of impressive catches away from his body and making a defender miss with a nifty juke on a screen. He credited Cordarrelle Patterson with teaching him the eye-popping move.
The most important thing, as Dorsett noted, is that the Patriots ended up with the win. He also appears to have taken another step closer to the center of Brady's vaunted Circle of Trust™. But it's also imperative that Dorsett doesn't get too high or low. Build upon the good, correct the bad, and hopefully continue to get better.
For a beleaguered receiver group that's drawn plenty of noise in the past few months, Dorsett's season-opening performance certainly did a lot to calm those fears.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].