Julian Edelman made the first case to be the Patriots’ go-to receiver outside the numbers with yesterday’s impressive performance.

Edelman caught seven passes for 79 yards for the third most productive game of his career and he also scored a pair of touchdowns in a game for the first time in his five-year career.
It was a nice way to debut after another season was derailed by injuries and an offseason foot procedure limited his workouts through the spring and summer.

“It felt great” Edelman said after the Pats’ 23-21 win against the Buffalo Bills. “That’s why I play the game. I love this game and any time you get to go out there with the guys that you work hard with you train with all that kind of stuff it feels good.”
Edelman and rookie Kenbrell Thompkins who caught only 4-of-14 passes thrown his way earned the most reps on the outside. Josh Boyce saw some rotations too while second-round pick Aaron Dobson watched the game at home with a hamstring injury.

So Edelman made it count. Based on his history it probably shouldn’t have been overly surprising. His two previous statistical breakouts were in the 2009 regular-season finale when he caught 10 passes for 103 yards after Wes Welker tore his ACL. And he had eight receptions for 98 yards earlier that season when Welker was also inactive.

Tom Brady is searching for dependable targets in the wake of Welker’s departure Brandon Lloyd’s release Aaron Hernandez’ murder charge and Rob Gronkowski’s back recovery.
Yesterday Brady found Edelman at least outside the numbers and his experience with the QB likely played into that.

“Going into it you’re not even thinking about that” Edelman said. “You’re thinking about the game plan coaching assignments and all that stuff trying to bring everything from the classroom to the grass.”