MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Wide receiver Antonio Brown made an immediate impact in his New England Patriots debut, catching a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady late in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
Brown leapt into the stands after the play, as if he was taking a seat among spectators, before Brady greeted him. The two shared an embrace.
Brown was charted on the field for 13 of 35 offensive snaps in the first half (including penalties). He initially took the field on the second play, and Brady immediately looked his way for an 18-yard gain over the middle.
Brown had two other catches on the opening drive, and then drew a holding penalty to set up the team’s first touchdown — a 1-yard run by Sony Michel.
Brown finished with four catches for a team-high 56 yards in a 43-0 victory.
His touchdown catch made him the 72nd player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Brady, which extends an NFL record for the 42-year-old quarterback. On the play, Brown was covered by cornerback Jomal Wiltz, and officials deemed he didn’t extend his arms to create separation on a beautiful throw from Brady.
The Patriots are mixing use of their receivers, with Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman starting in the two-receiver package. Phillip Dorsett and Brown have rotated as the third receiver, and the team ran two plays with four receivers on the field at the same time in the first half.
Brown is wearing jersey No. 17. Veteran tight end Benjamin Watson has Brown’s old number, 84, and he is serving a four-game NFL suspension. Brown’s father, Eddie, wore the No. 17 in the Arena Football League.
Also, Patriots starting LT Isaiah Wynn was ruled out with a foot injury.