By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Monday night at MetLife Stadium, Jakobi Meyers held his 24th birthday party. And what a bash it was, as the (now) 24-year-old second-year receiver put together a historic night and led the way in the Patriots’ 30-27 win over the Jets.
Like most birthdays, Meyers knows this one — given his performance — will come with an added level of responsibility.
“I’m just a young guy trying to take advantage of my opportunities. The more they give me, the more I’m going to try to do,” Meyers told reporters after the game. “Hopefully I can keep building and building and every week is better than the week before. Like I said, I just keep taking advantage of those opportunities and keep trying to grow every day.”
If Meyers can keep up the kind of performance he had on Monday night, the opportunities will keep coming. It wasn’t just a career night, but a display that put him on a level statistically with some Patriots greats.
Meyers became just the fourth pass-catcher in Patriots history to record 12-plus catches and 169-plus receiving yards in a single game, joining Troy Brown, Terry Glenn, and Wes Welker, who did so twice.
His 169-yards are the 12th most for a player in a game in Patriots history. The only players to top him are Welker (twice), Glenn (twice), Brown, Randy Moss (twice), Stanley Morgan (twice), Julian Edelman, and Brandon Lloyd.
Notice somebody missing? Meyers managed to eclipse Rob Gronkowski’s career high for single game yardage… by one yard.
Of course, no birthday party is complete without gifts. Who showed up with the best present? That would be quarterback Cam Newton, who gave Meyers 14 targets which he turned into that aforementioned 12 catches for 169 yards. Both career highs, obviously.
MORE: Ups and Downs from Monday night’s win
Now, you don’t normally get that kind of gift from somebody you’ve only known five months. But the relationship between Meyers and Newton, both Atlanta-area natives, goes back well before their time as teammates on the Patriots. As a high school quarterback, Meyers attended Newton’s ‘7v7’ tournament/development camp in Atlanta.
“Man, I’m extremely proud of Jakobi,” Newton said. “He’s the person I’ve known the longest through this whole ordeal.”
Newton described Meyers’ ascension to being the Patriots’ top pass catcher as “just a show of hard work paying off.” He added that Meyers being a converted quarterback (he switched to wide receiver while at North Carolina State) makes him “such an easy target to throw to because playing the quarterback position makes you intellectually sound – cerebral by default because you know what the quarterback’s looking for.”
Like most kids on their birthday, Meyers’ performance has now made him the center of attention (of the Patriots’ offense). After Monday night, he’s fourth on the team in catches (29) and second in yards (294). With Julian Edelman out for the foreseeable future, and N’Keal Harry still dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion, somebody will have to step up.
Given Meyers is also now the team’s most tenured active receiver, and his relationship with Newton, things could run through him for the time being. He tore up the 29th-ranked Jets passing defense, can he do it again next week against the 10th-ranked Baltimore Ravens? That would really take the cake.
Before Meyers turns his attention to next week though, he still has to make a wish and blow out the candles.
“Birthdays on game days are kind of tough, we sit in meetings all day,” Meyers explained after the game. “I mean, it’s not what you would typically expect if you were back home. So, I mean, I enjoy being around my team, but [it’s] definitely a business day. And hopefully I can enjoy it tomorrow.”
Hopefully he can indeed, because he’s earned it.
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Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.