The New England Patriots continued their undefeated season on Sunday when they rolled over the Dallas Cowboys 30-6, lead by a ferocious second half run. Using the NFL Game Pass coaches film application, I was able to re-watch the game and break down the, “All 22” and get a better glimpse of each players performance. Here are three studs and duds from my film evaluations.
Jamie Collins: Through the first few games of the season, Jamie Collins was very unimpressive. He was slow to the ball in the run game, and was sucked up by offensive lineman on multiple occasions. This past Sunday, Collins was all over the field. He was constantly in the backfield and all over the check downs that Brandon Weeden was dishing out. On one play in the first half that was called back on a defensive holding call on Jabaal Sheard, Jamie Collins just barreled through Darren McFaden for the sack in under two seconds. His coverage was also very good as he and Devin McCourty blanketed Jason Witten, who had a very quiet afternoon.
Dion Lewis: Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the Patriots season thus far has been Dion Lewis, and that was never more evident than on Sunday. He finished the game with eight receptions, for fifty-nine yards, and one touchdown. He did have trouble pass blocking in the game which has been his only flaw thus far, but his ability to come out of the backfield and and get yards after the catch, is unreal.
The most obvious example of this was on Sunday, when Lewis made a one handed grab inside the red zone and proceeded to make five defenders miss on his way to the end zone. Also, the biggest play of the game came late in the second quarter on third and one, with the game tied at three. Lewis was wrapped up by his leg in the backfield, broke off the tackle and scurried down to the one-yard line.
Malcolm Butler: On Sunday, Malcolm Butler shadowed his side of the field giving up very little yardage. On many different occasions, Butler got his hand on passes intended for Terrence Williams. Also, he is continuing to come up on run plays and show his physicality. By far, Sunday was his best performance, even though it was against a very sub par quarterback with average wide receivers. This week will be more of a test.
LeGarrette Blount: Without a doubt, Dion Lewis has taken over the number one running back role. It has much to do with Blount’s ineptitude and Lewis’s performance. On Sunday LeGarrette Blount had a solid game on paper, but from just watching the game it was obvious that he did not perform all that well. On two separate plays, Blount had the chance to convert a first down on short yardage situations. He failed on both. For such a big back, he should be able to use his size to power through, however he tries to run like a Dion Lewis type of back.
David Andrews: After a hot start, David Andrews has slowed down over the past couple of weeks. On Sunday there was not many bad performances, but Andrews had a less than stellar day. The Patriots were virtually never able to run the ball through the interior. Even though Blount is much to blame for not converting on short yardage situations, Andrews played a big part as well. Again, not an awful day for Andrews, but he could use some improvement.
Patriots Offensive Tackles: The worst group on the Patriots by far came from the offensive tackles. Particularly, Nate Solder who left with injury, Marcus Cannon, and Sebastian Vollmer. Throughout the week heading into the game, everyone talked about how can Dallas get to Brady. The general consensus was that they would have to go through the interior. Wrong, all of the pressure the Cowboys created came from the edges.
Greg Hardy absolutely destroyed and overpowered Nate Solder early on sacking Brady, and also getting hits on him after he got rid of the ball. Vollmer and Cannon were also just overpowered on different plays and it lead to Brady being sacked five times. It was their worst performance of the year, and they can’t expect to play like that against teams such as the Jets and the Broncos and expect to win and keep Tom Brady healthy.