David Patten can forget about going back to work as a landscaper. His days as an electrician are over, too. And that job when he used to haul around 75-pound bags in a coffee bean factory in South Carolina? He definitely will not need that one any more, either.
Patten, a former Arena League player, turned in a truly memorable performance Sunday in leading the New England Patriots to an impressive 38-17 rout of the Indianapolis Colts in the RCA Dome.
Patten put his name in the record books when he ran 29 yards for a touchdown on a reverse, caught two touchdown passes, one a team-record 91 yards, and threw a touchdown pass, a 60-yarder to Troy Brown.
It was a day unlike any Patriots player has ever had. No Pats player had ever passed, run and thrown for a touchdown in the same game. In fact, only three had ever done it in a full season -- David Meggett in 1997, Craig James in '85 and Dick Christy in '60. No NFL player had completed the hat trick, as Patten did, since the late and great Walter Payton did it for the Bears against Minnesota in 1979.
The guy who did it in the RCA Dome wasn't drafted coming out of college (Western Carolina) in 1995. The 27-year-old worked at various jobs, including, most memorably, in the coffee bean factory. His background only made his day Sunday that much more rewarding.
"I don't take anything for granted," Patten said. "I came in the hard way. If it's not the Lord's will, I don't want to go back to that lifestyle. Every day I'm out there I give it my all because I know where I come from."
Three weeks ago, when New England shocked Indianapolis, 44-13, in Foxboro, it was about as good as it gets for the Patriots.
As improbable as it might seem, they had a better game Sunday against the same Colts (2-3).
"It was," as Pats quarterback Tom Brady summed up, "a great day for all of us."
The Pats scored their first three touchdowns on "drives" of 8, 12 and 10 seconds. That's seconds, not plays. Not minutes. One play -- touchdown for 29 yards. One play -- touchdown from 91 yards. One play -- touchdown from 60 yards.
By halftime, New England had run only 19 plays from scrimmage but led convincingly, 28-6.
"This is one of those days when everything was clicking," Patten said.
At 3-3, and seemingly very much on the improve, the Pats have thrust themselves very much into the divisional race, where they trail Miami by a half-game.