Wes Welker was basically a non-factor for most of Sunday night during his first game in Foxboro since leaving the New England Patriots as a free agent and signing with the Denver Broncos.
He probably wishes it remained that way.
The receiver who made the Pro Bowl six of his seven years with the Patriots had just four catches for 31 yards Sunday night, and he never even touched the ball on the play that ultimately doomed the Broncos in overtime.
That play was a muffed punt by Denver teammate Tony Carter, but Welker accepts responsibility for the mishap. Welker was back near the Patriots’ 10 to receive a punt, which ended up coming in short and hitting Carter after a couple of odd bounces.
The Patriots recovered and kicked a 31-yard field goal to win the game, 34-31, with less than two minutes remaining in overtime.
“I gotta do a better job of getting up there and getting those guys out of the way and making sure it doesn’t hit them,” said Welker, who was being heckled by New England fans right before the punt. “I gotta get to him earlier and tell him, and get those guys out of the way if I’m not going to make the catch. I was a little bit in between, and you can’t be that way.”
But Carter said he actually was trying to get out of the ball’s path.
“I was running to get away from the ball and it took a bounce right into me,” Carter said.
It was a crazy ending to a crazy game that saw New England rally from a 24-0 halftime deficit, then take a 31-24 lead only for the Broncos to tie it up late in the fourth quarter.