It’s got to be a flat-out amazing feeling for a mid-round draft pick to take the field on the NFL’s opening night for the defending world champions and notching the first sack of your career before halftime.
It’s just slightly less cool when Alex Smith does the work for you and puts himself on roller skates and all you have to do is roll in and make the tag, that’s all.
Deatrich Wise and Alex Smith team up to sack Alex Smith: https://t.co/HqSTLi8X9t— r/Patriots (@rslashpatriots) September 8, 2017
Back in action against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 and looking for their first win, the Patriots were playing against two backup offensive tackles. Saints right tackle Zach Strief suffered a knee injury in Week 1 that kept him on the sidelines, and NOLA’s starting left tackle, Terron Armstead has been out since a couple weeks before the 4th of July with a torn labrum. Enter rookie Ryan Ramczyk and third-year man Andrus Peat at tackle, which is usually not the way you want to do it.
All that is to say, it was a prime situation for New England’s pass-rush, the subject of last year’s annual “Belichick the GM is killing Belichick the coach”, to eat.
Wise ended up playing 43% of New England’s defensive snaps, mostly as a pass-rusher, and boy did he make those snaps count - out of the 28 plays that Deatrich was in on, the man put Drew Brees under pressure five times, hit Brees three times, and slung Brees to the ground once. Like this:
Deatrich Wise just sacked Drew Brees with one hand. He's been a monster today.— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) September 17, 2017
Per PFF’s grading system, Wise’s beastly day was enough to earn him a grade of 86.4, one of the best marks among all of the edge defenders that played in Week 2. That, of course, encompasses guys you may have heard of like Von Miller, Chandler Jones, and Khalil Mack, all of whom Pro Football Focus classifies as edge players.
Here’s where it really gets good, especially if the Patriots’ lack of sacks over the past year has been grinding your gears: Wise also ranked fourth overall among 4-3 defensive ends in pass-rush productivity. You know, because of those hurries and hits and the sack.
That’s also fantastic news because the Patriots seem to be giving Dont’a Hightower plenty of time to get his sprained MCL back in game shape before putting him back on the field. In the meantime, with New England now packing two former Arkansas Razorbacks now that’ve proven they can get in a quarterback’s face, and the Houston Texans’ offensive line that gave rise to the short-lived era of #Sacksonville coming to town this weekend (but seriously, they did give up 10 sacks, though), it’s not too ballsy to think that Deatrich Wise just may get to write himself even further into the Belichick-era Patriots history books.
Plus, 3 sacks in 3 weeks, that’d technically be a streak, right?