Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/19/12

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 20: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on September 20, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — As Julian Edelman weaved through Colts defenders on his 68-yard punt return during the second quarter of the Patriots win on Sunday, the lyrics to ACDC’s “TNT” brought back thoughts to the rock band. Edelman was a major reason behind the Patriots 59-24 blowout on Sunday. And if the Patriots’ offense was the dynamite behind the explosion, then Edelman was the spark that started it all. “[I] had some opportunities to make some plays and was fortunate that it went my way today,” Edelman said after the win. The 26-year-old served as the ultimate role player throughout the win, making an impact on special teams as well as in the passing game, and even in the rushing attack. Where Danny Woodhead left off last week, Edelman picked up on against the Colts. It’s as if the versatility chip just gets passed from player to player each week, and someone new gets to take the reigns. Edelman’s outburst, which just so happened to be mere days after the release of Deion Branch — quite the coincidence — adds some credence to Bill Belichick‘s unpopular attempt to get him more involved in the offense earlier this season. Even more importantly, though, Edelman offers yet another weapon to the Patriots already full arsenal on offense. “I don’t know. I just do what the coaches tell me to do,” Edelman said. “[I] try to go out there and execute any situation that they put me in and that’s my job on the team — to do what the coaches ask me to do and help try to contribute in any kind of way.” His speed can be deadly, as displayed by the touchdown return as well as a 47-yard end-around run on offense, which also marked the Patriots longest run on Sunday. His ability to gain yards after the catch is also very valuable, especially with tight end Aaron Hernandez still sidelined, as he caught five balls for 58 yards and a touchdown to add to his all-around effort on Sunday. The young speedster has many useful assets that could allow the Patriots offense to thrive, including his ability to read coverages and make adjustments on the fly. That skill was on full display during both of his punt returns, which yielded 117 total yards, on Sunday. Moments before Edelman’s epic touchdown return, Colts punter Pat McAfee booted a punt way over Edelman’s head for what would have been an unreturnable kick. Fortunately for the Patriots, an illegal procedure penalty forced a re-kick. Edelman, in his typical crafty way, took notes of the impressive punt and moved himself a few yards further downfield just in case. The result of that adjustment proved vital. It gave Edelman a running start on the second attempt and allowed him to gain a full head of steam before reaching the first group of defenders. And that’s exactly the type of mentality and adjustments Edelman brings to the field on every play. His production and smarts don’t go unnoticed, either. Belichick was impressed by Edelman’s performance against the Colts, and he didn’t shy away from dishing out some high praise for the performance. “Julian had a couple big plays for us,” Belichick said. “He’s really worked hard to do everything to get back – the return game, passing game, slip screens, stuff like that, blocking. That was great. He had obviously a real productive day. We needed that.” Edelman has only been on the field for seven of the Patriots 10 games this season. But after a three-week absence earlier in the year, he finally seems to be back to full health. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. With Hernandez still not back to 100 percent and Rob Gronkowski expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken forearm, Edelman should see more reps in the passing game and will be relied upon more heavily to help fill the gaps on offense. He may not bring the talent that Gronk or Hernandez do, but Edelman is a special player and adds just another option to an already stacked offense. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

Blount won't talk about reported failed conditioning test

Greg Hardy helps pay Cowboys fans to fly anti-Eagles banner

Report: 7-foot Aussie center to join Kentucky's 2015 class

Eagles trade CB Brandon Boykin to Steelers

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

Golden State Warriors: the rich get richer

NFL, Brady could settle to avoid appeal documents going public

Miguel Herrera apologizes for costly Philly airport fight

Russell Wilson contract $60 million guaranteed? Not so fast

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker