By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- With a 79-yard catch-and-run to secure a victory over the Ravens on Monday night, receiver Chris Hogan added to what were already the best statistics of his four-year career.
Call it the "Brady Bump."
Over the past 16 seasons, many bodies have come and gone at the receiver and tight end spots on the roster. Some -- like Joey Galloway, Chad Ochocino and Scott Chandler, to name some -- famously do not work out too well. Yet many, many more end up benefiting greatly from working with perhaps the greatest quarterback in the history of football.
Hogan's the latest example. With five catches for 129 yards and a touchdown on Monday, he now has 613 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2016. His previous career high in yards in any season was 450, while the four touchdowns matches a career high. Though eight of those receptions, 122 yards and one touchdown came from the combination of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett to start the year, Hogan's production with Brady (24 receptions, 381 yards, three touchdowns in eight games, which comes out to three receptions, 48 yards and 0.38 touchdowns per game) has been far and away better than his per-game production of two catches, 20 yards and 0.13 touchdowns per game in the previous three years.
But as a former collegiate lacrosse player with limited football reps in college, such an improvement in year four of his NFL career might have been natural. And that may be a very reasonable explanation for the uptick in production if there was not a decade-and-a-half of evidence that Brady has made a habit out of creating career years for so many receivers.
2001-04: David Patten
A 5-foot-10 receiver who played collegiately at Western Carolina before a stint in the Arena Football League, Patten defied the odds by carving out a 12-year career in the NFL. But certainly, no other stretch resembled the success he had in his three healthy seasons working with Tom Brady.
After averaging 18 receptions for 252 yards and a touchdown per season from 1997-2000, Patten emerged in 2001 with 51 receptions for 749 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught the lone touchdown thrown by Brady in Super Bowl XXXVI. He followed that up with the best season of his career in 2002, when he caught 61 passes for 824 yards and five touchdowns. He played in six games in 2003, but in 2004 at age 30, he caught 44 passes for 800 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns.
Patten had a late-career resurgence in 2007 with New Orleans, but overall his three highest single-season touchdown totals came as a Patriot, and his 2,513 receiving yards with the Patriots accounts for 53 percent of his career total in just 37 percent of his career games played.
2001-02: Troy Brown
To be clear, Troy Brown was well on his way to becoming a great receiver by the time Brady seized control of the starting QB job in New England. Brown already had a solid 1997 season (41 rec., 607 yards, 6 TDs) and a tremendous 2000 performance (83 rec., 944 yards, 4 TDs) under his belt, but he put together a 101-catch, 1,199-yard, 5-TD season in 2001 en route to catching 18 more passes for 253 more yards in three playoff games in that Super Bowl-winning season.
He followed it up with 97 receptions for 890 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games in 2002.
His targets would drop precipitously in the years that followed, but those first two years working with Brady were certainly Brown's finest, and the 2001 performance marked the only Pro Bowl season of Brown's career.
2002: Christian Fauria
The 6-foot-4 tight end out of Colorado put together a solid, consistent career, with 191 games played over 13 seasons. And while his production in terms of receptions and yards didn't fluctuate much between Seattle and New England, there was nobody who figured out how to utilize Fauria in the red zone better than Brady.
Here's a look at Fauria's touchdown total by season:
In those 16 games in 2002, Fauria caught seven touchdowns. He caught just 15 touchdowns in his other 175 games.
2003-04: Daniel Graham
Like others on this list, Graham maintained a level of consistency over the course of a long career. But with New England in 2003 and 2004, he had two of his best seasons in terms of receptions and receiving yards. He also caught seven touchdowns in 2004, by far the highest single-season total of his career. In fact, of his 25 career touchdowns, 17 came with the Patriots. That's 68 percent of his touchdown total in 43 percent of his 148 career games.
2002-05; 2010-11: Deion Branch
As a highly paid member of the Seattle Seahawks, Deion Branch was a serviceable receiver. As a member of Tom Brady's offense in New England, Branch was a star.
The duo of Branch and Brady had a special connection, and even though he had a pretty good quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck out in Seattle, he failed to reach that next level in his four-plus-year stint out West.
Most remarkable of all was how quickly that bond was reforged in 2010, when the Patriots acquired Branch midseason. At 31 years old, Branch ended up catching 48 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns in just 11 games in 2010. That was after catching 13 passes for 112 yards and one score in four games with Seattle.
In total, Branch's three most productive seasons (2003, 2005, 2010) came with Tom Brady throwing him passes.
2006: Reche Caldwell
Though the receiver is remembered most for his infamous drop in the 2006 AFC Championship Game, that came at the end of what was by far his most successful season.
In '06, Caldwell caught 61 passes. In no other year in his six-year career did he catch more than 28 passes. He totaled 760 yards; his second-best single-season total was 352 yards. And he caught four of his 11 career touchdowns in 16 games as a member of the Patriots.
He also caught 16 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown in three playoff games, which wasn't far off from the production of some of his full seasons in the league.
Caldwell led the Patriots in receptions and receiving yards, and he was tied with Troy Brown for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with four. Then, after playing eight games in Washington the next season, his NFL career was over.
Brady's ability to make Reche Caldwell a team's No. 1 receiver and still keep his team alive until the final minutes of the conference title game may well be the quarterback's greatest feat.
2007, 2009: Randy Moss
No, Tom Brady didn't "make" Randy Moss. Hardly. But Brady did rejuvenate a Hall of Fame career that some pundits believed to have been over, and the two were able to connect on a record 23 touchdowns in that famed 2007 regular season. Considering no other receiver in NFL history ever caught 23 passes in a season before, the quarterback has to get some credit for taking that receiver to new heights.
But beyond '07, what often gets forgotten in the story of Moss as a Patriot was his work in 2009. At 32 years old, Moss went over 1,200 yards for just the second time since 2003, and he caught 13 touchdowns, which tied him with Larry Fitzgerald (25 years old) and Vernon Davis (26 years old) for the NFL lead. His 79 receiving yards per game ranked him fifth in the league.
Moss was certainly on track toward Canton before he ever donned a Patriots uniform. But Brady helped make it a slam dunk case.
2007-12: Wes Welker
The most obvious name on this list, Welker went from being a role player in Miami to being an essential piece of a historically powerful offense in New England.
Though Welker only played roughly half of his games with New England, he amassed 75 percent of his career receiving yards and 74 percent of his receptions with the Patriots.
Granted, Peyton Manning did find a way to get Welker a single-season high of 10 touchdowns in 2013, but his production elsewhere on the field was nothing compared to what he did in New England.
Now, much of that had to do with age. And Welker deserves credit for making his own career. But it's unlikely he ever would have piled up those gaudy numbers without the likes of Brady looking his way 150 times every year.
2009: Sam Aiken
Sam Aiken's career is largely unremarkable, and his production in 2009 (20 rec., 326 yards, 3 TDs) doesn't particularly stand out.
However, Aiken is noteworthy for the purposes of this list because 2009 was the only year in his career during which he scored a touchdown. It was also a career high in receptions and a career high in yards -- more than twice as many yards as his next-best season.
2010: Brandon Tate
Like Aiken, Brandon Tate's seven-year career as a receiver is not overly impressive. He's instead made his living as a return man.
However, there was one quarterback who able to mine some receiving ability out of the third-round pick in 2009. And it was Brady.
In 2010, Tate caight 24 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns. They were all career highs.
Like Aiken, that single-season high in receiving yards represented more than twice as many yards as his next-best season (193 yards). And there's this: In 16 games with the Patriots in 2010, he scored three touchdowns. In 94 other games in his career, he's caught ... three touchdowns.
2012: Brandon Lloyd
It's not that Brandon Lloyd had never put together a good NFL season before joining the Patriots. In fact, he did, going for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010 and following it up with 966 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.
But Lloyd is noteworthy because with Brady in 2012, he caught 74 passes for 911 yards and four touchdowns. Then ... he was out of football, done with the sport so that he could make zombie movies.
Lloyd returned to the NFL in 2014 to make an unremarkable 14 catches for 294 yards and a touchdown in 2014. But Brady's ability to get 900 yards out of a receiver who never ran for yards after the catch and who had one foot in semi-retirement was pretty impressive.
2013: Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins
Both rookies in 2013 -- Dobson a second-rounder out of Marshall, Thompkins undrafted out of Cincinnati -- Brady relied on both to round out the bottom of the receiving depth chart.
Thompkins caught 32 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns, including the dramatic game-winner vs. New Orleans.
Dobson caught 37 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns.
Thompkins was claimed by the Raiders on waivers in 2014. He'd catch just 32 more passes for 374 yards and no touchdowns before washing out of the league.
Dobson battled injuries for two more seasons with the Patriots before he, too, ended up out of the league.
To recap, Brady, at 36 years old, threw to two rookies who weren't long for the league. And they combined for 69 receptions, 985 yards and eight touchdowns.
2014: Brandon LaFell
In his first four years in the league, Brandon LaFell averaged 42 receptions, 596 yards and three touchdowns per season with Carolina.
In his first year with the Patriots, he caught 74 balls for 953 yards and seven touchdowns. All three were career highs.
He also caught 13 passes for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns in three postseason games that year, clearly the most exceptional of his career.
2015: Keshawn Martin
As far as this list is concerned, Martin's career as a receiver definitely falls under the Tate/Aiken cloak. But consider this: Martin played four seasons in the NFL. He set career highs in receptions and receiving yards while tying a career-high in touchdowns in his lone season with the Patriots. And he did it in just nine games played.
Martin has yet to make another catch in the NFL, meaning he was good enough for Brady to use him for 24 receptions, 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns last year, but he hasn't been deemed good enough to so much as suit up in a game for any other NFL team since then.
2013-16: Julian Edelman
Like Welker, Julian Edelman deserves the bulk of the credit for his own career. His toughness, tenacity and focus are what made him such a dependable receiver for the past four seasons.
With that being established, there should be little doubt that a rushing quarterback out of Kent State could not have found himself in a better environment to succeed than in New England with Tom Brady as his quarterback. Edelman has proven to have a connection with Brady on par with Branch and Welker, to the tune of 337 receptions, 3,511 yards and 19 touchdowns (and counting) since 2013. Add in a Super Bowl-winning touchdown catch, and Edelman's already put together a career that few could have ever imagined through his first four years in the NFL.
Of course, save for four weeks this season, Edelman has never played with another quarterback for comparative purposes. And in those four weeks without Brady, Edelman acquitted himself rather nicely, making 19 receptions for 196 yards.
Still, like many more before him, Edelman would be the first to admit that he was fortunate to end up in this particular offense with this particular quarterback.
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