New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne carried out his orders on Sunday with precision and success; providing the team with a versatile offensive weapon capable of winning his battles both in the passing game, and in the running game.
In fact, one might be inclined to say that “Kendrick ordered the ‘Code Run.”
For fans of the 1992 Rob Reiner-legal drama, ‘A Few Good Men,’ the words ‘Kendrick’ and ‘Code Red’ are clearly recognizable. Without delving too far into the details of the Aaron Sorkin-penned masterpiece, ‘Kendrick’ refers to Lt. Jonathan Kendrick (portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland) who orders a pair of U.S. Marines under his command to carry out a disciplinary action known as a ‘Code Red.’
On Sunday, the New England Patriots had a ‘Kendrick’ of their own issuing some tough love on the Cleveland Browns defense. He did so in the form of his own brand of ‘Code Red.’ In the spirit of his exercise, call it a ‘Code Run.’
The 26-year-old versatile wideout certainly made the most of his opportunities on Sunday. In just 29 offensive snaps, Bourne caught four passes for a career high 98-yards and one touchdown. His back-diving grab showcased his athleticism, as well as the growing synergy he continues to develop with quarterback Mac Jones. In the process, Bourne set his career high in receiving yards, his previous best having come earlier this season against the New Orleans Saints when he hauled in 96 yards. In total, he has compiled 520 yards and three touchdowns through ten games in 2021.
Still, what might have been most impressive was Bourne’s ability to effectively carry the ball for significant yardage. He finished Sunday’s game with 43 yards rushing on three carries. Bourne had a 15-yard run in the first quarter, an 11-yard run in the second quarter and a 17-yard run in the third quarter. He has now logged five 10-yard runs in 2021; 16-yard run against the New York Jets on Sept. 19 and a 12-yard run against the Houston Texans on Oct. 10. His 43-yard rushing performance in Week Ten earned him the fifth-best single-game rushing total by a wide receiver in Patriots team history
To think…prior to the 2021 season, Bourne never had a rushing attempt in his NFL career.
Bourne’s versatility is yet another example of why he has seemingly fit perfectly into the Patriots offensive scheme. Along with his ground game and aerial talents, he also has a 25-yard touchdown pass on his 2021 resume; coming in the form of a first-quarter scoring strike to receiver Nelson Agholor against the New York Jets in Week Seven. However, when deployed as a receiver his natural, and best fit) Bourne has aligned in the slot, and on the outside. Though his technical prowess allows him to win from either alignment, he has looked most comfortable in the Z-receiver role, while occasionally assisting in the slot. However, Bourne has also been called upon to line up at the ‘X’ at times, with a respectable level of success. In addition to his aesthetically-please touchdown catch on Sunday, Bourne’s combination of speed and field-savvy were on full display in the Patriots’ Week Six loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Bourne was once again the subject of many highlight reels on his 75-yard touchdown from Mac Jones, beating Cowboys’ star corner Trevon Diggs on a double move for the score.
Still, Bourne has overcome his share of adversity, taking the opportunity to learn from his mistakes. Just prior to his aforementioned touchdown against Dallas, Jones was intercepted by Diggs, who returned it 42 yards for the pick-six. Following the game, Bourne showed maturity in admitting that he ran an incorrect route variation, leading to the interception return for the touchdown. Additionally, in Week Eight, Bourne's third-quarter fumble kept him relegated to the sidelines for much of the second half, despite the Patriots winning the game 27-24.
Through it all, Bourne continues to endear himself to his coaching staff and his teammates with skill and a persistent work ethic. His positivity has helped him to develop a beautiful friendship between himself and the New England fanbase. However, Bourne is never one to rest on his laurels. There is still much work to be done, especially with the Patriots sporting a 6-4 record and making a strong push for a spot in the postseason. He also knows that he is in good hands with the Patriots coaching staff, putting him in the best possible position to succeed. Following Sunday’s win over Cleveland, Bourne expressed his confidence in his coaches to guide him and his teammates along the right and prosperous path.
“It starts with them. It starts with the coaches, how they come in at the start of the week,” Bourne said. “They make it hard on us every day. Bill [Belichick] makes every single day and that’s what I appreciate most about being here. It’s never easy, so when we get into tough situations, it’s easy for us because he’s already put us through everything. It’s just the way we practice. Bill’s just wired a different way and it definitely works for me. I’m that guy that needs that type of coaching. I can get coached any type of way – yelled at, whatever it may be, it’ll help me get better. They’ve got a way of knowing how to get through to all of us on the team in different ways so it starts with them and they’re doing a tremendous job. You can tell it’s a trickle effect.”
Like a good Foxboro soldier, Kendrick Bourne will follow his on-field orders, carrying them out with the intent of excellence in his execution. Whether it be as perimeter pass-catcher, or a target in the slot, he will be an asset to the passing game and quarterback Mac Jones. He may even see an additional opportunity to showcase his arm on the occasional pass play.
And…as Week Ten taught us, he is more than capable of being effective when his coaches order the ‘Code Run.’