Randy Moss returns to New England and has quick impact with touchdown grab
|12.17.12 at 2:38 am ET|
FOXBORO — It didn’t take very long for former Patriots receiver Randy Moss to make an impact on Sunday night. Moss, who started in place of the injured Mario Manningham and played opposite Michael Crabtree, drew the coverage of rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.
Moss caught a 12-yard strike from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on San Francisco’s third offensive play from scrimmage, and put the first score on the board three plays later. Moss was able to get behind Dennard down the left sideline, while Kaepernick lofted an easy 24-yard pass over the top of the Patriots defense.
It was Moss’ third touchdown catch of the year, and his first since the 49ers’ Week 8 matchup with the Cardinals on Oct. 29.
Moss’ ability to take the top off an opposing defense has stood out throughout his career, and on Sunday night, against his former team with whom he set records aplenty, Moss contributed in signature form. In doing so, he exposed an issue that has afflicted New England at different points throughout 2012.
Coming off of a game where the Patriots dominated so thoroughly on Monday night, the problems that had plagued this defensive secondary seemed to fall by the wayside until Moss opened up the scoring on the long play.
Moss declined to comment after the game on Sunday night; instead, he left his locker soon after the game had ended. He did tweet out at roughly 1:30 a.m., “The game is over!!i don’t wanna talk bout Tht.”
He was targeted two more times on the night, but did not pull in another pass after the first offensive possession for the 49ers.
Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said that as a whole his team wasn’t very surprised by the play of Kaepernick and his ability to make the throws that he did.
“We knew [Kaepernick] could throw the ball from watching film,” Mayo said. “We didn’t know is they were going to throw it or not because it was raining a bit. But they came out and threw the ball, scored on us early. Like you said earlier, we fought back, but it wasn’t enough.”
When Dennard went down late in the second quarter with a knee injury, the Patriots applied a different scheme to cover Moss, with a combination of Kyle Arrington, Aqib Talib and safeties making sure the veteran receiver was accounted for.
Despite not having another catch after the first quarter, Moss was the second-leading San Francisco receiver, with 36 yards total on the night.
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