FOXBOROUGH — Kendrick Bourne looked more like a Flying Wallenda than a wide receiver.
The first-year Patriot provided one of the few highlights of Sunday’s 28-13 loss to the Saints when he collected his first touchdown as a New Englander in the fourth quarter.
The score trimmed his club’s deficit to 21-13 and provided a boost — albeit temporary — to the Patriots sideline and the crowd.
Matched up against Paulson Adebo, Bourne gained a step with a quick outside move, then leaped to snag Mac Jones’s pass despite Adebo holding him as he fell. Bourne stuck the landing and stayed in bounds, then leaned the ball over the goal line without losing his balance.
Bourne pointed to ball to the referee, who confirmed the TD.
“It felt good but you know it is not enough,’’ said Bourne. “I always want to win and am just focused on winning and just want to have another opportunity to make another play. I don’t brag and boast on what I did, I just try to think of what is next because it didn’t get us to win so it is more about winning and what I can do next to help the team get past the next hump.”
Bourne finished with six catches for a career-high 96 yards. His 31-yard gain on a crosser earlier in the game helped set up a field goal. It’s a play he’s been working hard to perfect.
“Just transitioning through the catch. I can’t get it with my body slowing down so I just had to get there as quick as I can and we practiced that throughout the week and it hit pretty well then and showed up in the game,’’ said Bourne. “Practice reps make game reps and just running through the ball and catching it in transition instead of stopping and trying is what makes the play big.”
They have Smith’s back
It was a rough game for tight end Jonnu Smith, who had just one catch on six targets, including several costly drops, the biggest of which led to Malcolm Jenkins’s pick-6.
Smith’s teammates had his back after the game.
“I think Jonnu has done everything right. He’s out there running. He’s out there blocking, doing what he’s supposed to do,’’ said Jones. “Me and him, we’re not always going to have perfect days. Nobody is. I think it’s more about just getting that connection in practice and the timing. That comes with reps.’’
Fellow tight end Hunter Henry, who had five catches for 36 yards, said the whole team has work to do.
“I mean it was tough, we all had a tough game, and it wasn’t just [Smith],’’ he said. “It was all of us. He doesn’t need to hang his head, it’s time to pick it back up and prove, and have some mental toughness. I know we all have to get better. It wasn’t just on him, it was all of us.”
Jenkins said the play on which he scored was one the Patriots had run earlier in the game and he had luck on his side.
“They were trying to sneak the tight end on the back side and I ended up getting picked actually by my own teammate,’’ he said. “So, I just rushed up to my coverage and the ball got tipped up in the air and I was able to come down with it.”
Judon off to fast start
Matt Judon continued his outstanding start to the season, registering 2.5 sacks. It’s the outside linebacker’s seventh career multiple sack game … Jake Bailey had a punt blocked for the first time in his career. He also had a kickoff go out of bounds for the second straight week, resulting in the Saints getting the ball at the 40-yard line … Linebacker Jahlani Tavai made his Patriots debut and got into the rotation in the third quarter … Adrian Phillips, who just became a father again, led the Patriots out of the tunnel … The Saints lost left tackle Terron Armstead to an elbow injury on the second drive and he never returned.
More Patriots-Saints coverage
▪ Saints 28, Patriots 13: On Julian Edelman day, Patriots’ magic merely a historic footnote in humbling loss to Saints
▪ Ben Volin | On football: Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, where are you? Patriots aren’t getting good return on free agent investments
▪ Chad Finn | Unconventional Review: Patriots loss to Saints was a rare debacle for Bill Belichick era, and other things we learned
▪ Ben Volin | Instant Analysis: Patriots are a disjointed mess in dispirited loss to the Saints. And now Tom Brady is coming to town