FOXBORO — The Patriots’ offense needed more Pop after a laborious start to the season. And rookie wide receiver Demario “Pop” Douglas came through in Sunday’s win over the Bills.
Douglas caught four passes on six targets for 54 yards, drew two penalties, carried the ball once for 20 yards and returned a punt for 25 yards. Returning from a concussion, the sixth-round pick finished second among Patriots wide receivers behind Kendrick Bourne with 24 routes run, per Patriots.com’s Evan Lazar.
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“It’s a blessing just to show the world and then my teammates. I played for them today. I didn’t play for me. I played for my teammates,” Douglas said after the 29-25 win.
One reason Douglas played so much Sunday was because starting slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was inactive for the second straight week after suffering a concussion in Week 5.
“Pop’s [Demario Douglas]’s quick,” head coach Bill Belichick said. “You know, he got some separation on a few routes, made a couple tough catches. The seam pass was a good catch. He got held on the play action over route on the first drive, I think it was. Short yardage play.”
The Liberty product has a knack for making defenders miss. He’s the Patriots’ best receiver at getting open in man coverage and picking up yards after the catch.
“It just happens,” Douglas said. “I’d say it’s a little instinct. I play with confidence. I don’t want the first person to tackle me. So, it’s just a thing.”
He also was making difficult catches in Sunday’s game. He was robbed of a 6-yard catch at the end of the game when head coach Bill Belichick accepted a defensive pass interference penalty to save time on the clock on a play when Douglas fought through contact to make the catch.
“The ball come my way, I need to make that play,” Douglas said. “I’m trying to make it a (75)-25 ball, not no 50-50.”
Douglas has earned more snaps and has proven he’s one of the Patriots’ best playmakers. Smith-Schuster was a key offseason addition but has disappointed in the start to his Patriots career. Douglas is making it difficult for Smith-Schuster to take his starting role back, however.