Pharaoh Brown stole the show with a big play, but it’s his physicality that impresses the Patriots


“He’s been a workhorse since he’s got here,” said Jabrill Peppers.

Pharaoh Brown celebrates his touchdown with a “Gronk Spike”
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The only thing on Pharaoh Brown’s mind when he caught the ball at the 40-yard line and sprinted for the end zone was to get past the goal line.

He dove past the line with an outstretched arm Sunday, slamming the football into the MetLife Stadium turf, scoring New England’s only touchdown during their 15-10 win against the Jets. The score marked the second-longest touchdown pass of Mac Jones’s career.

“It felt great, got me a little Gronk spike in,” Brown said of the catch.

The Patriots signed Brown to the 53-man roster three weeks ago. The last time he caught a touchdown was in 2020, when he was playing for the Houston Texans. Bill O’Brien, who is now the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, was the Texans’ head coach at the time.

Brown said the familiarity with O’Brien and other Patriots coaches was part of the reason he chose to come to Foxborough. He said it also helped him acclimate to the team.

“It’s a lot more than what we were doing in Houston,” Brown said. “A totally different kind of system and players there, but it gave me something to make the [learning] curve a little shorter. I’m still learning as I go.”

Brown’s pass-catching ability stood out during his big play, but it’s the 6-foot-6, 258-pound tight-end’s physicality that has been catching teammates’ eyes in practice.

“Pharaoh’s been great since he got here. He’s a competitor,” linebacker Anfernee Jennings said. “He’s physical. He just brings another aspect to our tight end room. You’ve got Hunter [Henry] and Mike [Gesicki] who have been known for running good routes and catching touchdowns. Pharoah just brings a physicalness to our tight end room.”

The Patriots have used Brown as a tight end and as a fullback. Defensive back Jabrill Peppers said that Brown has adapted quickly to New England’s system and that it feels like he was with the team during training camp, despite the fact that he signed during Week 1.

“He’s been a workhorse since he’s got here,” Peppers said. “We’re familiar with his game, he’s been a great addition for us blocking and in the running game not just at tight end but at fullback. And, he’s got a little speed to him as he showcased today. That was definitely a great acquisition.”

The Patriots picked up 157 yards on the ground, thanks to better performances from Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line. That set up Jones’s throw to Brown.

“It took all 11 [offensive players], like I said. From the run game to the o-line pounding those guys inside all game,” Brown said. “Zeke and Rhamondre getting 5 and 6 yards was just kind of grinding them up and we kind of went back to that big personnel. They thought we were going to grind them out again and we did a great sell and we did a great action play.”

The play proved to be the difference as the Patriots picked up their 15th consecutive win over the Jets, by a 5-point margin.

“We wanted to come out and be physical with them, which we did,” Brown said. “We wanted to take care of the ball which we did. And I wanted to impose my will on them which we did. I think it was just run game, run game, then play action and you kind of see how it opened up throughout the game.”