In context, Josh Gordon's Patriots tenure was historically successful


There's nothing to celebrate about Josh Gordon's sudden departure from the New England Patriots. The wide receiver clearly has issues beyond the football field that need to be addressed.

But a 30,000-foot view of Gordon's on-field accomplishments reveals he had a pretty successful tenure in New England.

Gordon, whose season essentially is over following his suspension Thursday, tallied 720 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 40 receptions in 11 games with the Patriots.

Those 720 yards lead all New England pass-catchers entering Week 16, even though Gordon spent the first three weeks of the 2018 season on the Cleveland Browns.

What's more: Only one player in NFL history posted more receiving yards in a single season after changing teams during the year.

Here's Elias Sports Bureau's list, which ESPN aired Thursday on "SportsCenter."

1. Wes Chandler, San Diego Chargers -- 857 yards (1981)

2. Josh Gordon, Patriots -- 720 yards (2018)

3. Deion Branch, Patriots -- 706 yards (2010)

4. Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis Rams -- 683 yards (2011)

5. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys -- 674 yards (2018)

There's a reason why these numbers aren't larger: It's extremely challenging to learn a brand-new offense in the middle of the season. Most players take at least a year to get acclimated to their new surroundings, playing catch-up while their teammates and coaches focus on game-planning for their next opponent.

Gordon certainly didn't catch on instantly: He caught just one pass for 17 yards during his Patriots debut in Week 4 and two passes for 32 yards in Week 5. But the 27-year-old wideout steadily improved, averaging nearly 70 yards per game over his next nine contests, including 100-yard-plus efforts in Weeks 7 and 9.

Unsurprisingly, New England's offense improved with him: The Patriots scored 38 points or more in each of Gordon's first four games and averaged 28.8 points per game while he was on the field, compared to 19 points per game prior to his arrival. And while they're scuffling now, the Pats still won eight of the 11 games Gordon played in.

Last Sunday's loss in Pittsburgh could end up being Gordon's final NFL game, as it appears his off-field troubles have caught up to him again. But from a strictly football perspective, the veteran wideout had a pretty productive stint in New England.

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