In today’s episode of “Did the big boys up front do their job?”, both of the following statements are 100% factually accurate:
Fact #1: Tom Brady was sacked three times on Thursday night. Kansas City’s outside linebacker and almost-NFL-single-season-sack-record-holder Justin Houston got Brady twice, and defensive end Allen Bailey took him down once.
Let’s do fact #3, too: two of those three sacks came on back-to-back plays with less than four minutes left to go and the Patriots already down 42-27 on the scoreboard, and as much as “Do Your Job Part II” makes us think they’ve got the perfect two-point conversion for anything, it’s statistically very difficult to pull off with any consistency. At best, it’s a coin flip.
Back to the sack thing, though - the point is that by the time Allen Bailey took Tom Brady to the turf with 3:56 to go in the fourth quarter Justin Houston got his second sack of the day at 3:30, the game was already well out of control.
Now, to be fair, you also have to look at that in the context that Kansas City defensive coordinator Bob Sutton ran a gameplan that was heavy on only sending three rushers and dropping eight of his defenders into coverage.
So depending on how salty you still are over New England getting embarrassed on opening night in their own house right after unveiling a fifth Super Bowl banner, you can look at it like this...
“If the Chiefs were only sending 3 or 4 rushers, that’s not really saying much about the offensive line playing well”
...OR you can look at it like this:
“If the Chiefs were only sending 3 or 4 rushers, then the line BETTER not screw that up, cause if they do, then we’re in real trouble.”
And they didn’t screw it up, by and large, so I’m going with the latter on that one.
Here’s the stats on sacks, hits, and hurries for all the Patriots offensive lineman, including guys that came in on jumbo/goal line situations, from NESN:
Nate Solder: two QB hits, four hurries
David Andrews: sack, four hurries
Joe Thuney: three hurries
Marcus Cannon: two sacks
LaAdrian Waddle: hurry
As NESN astutely notes, if it weren’t for those two Justin Houston sacks (one of which was unequivocally in garbage time), right tackle Marcus Cannon would’ve played a perfect game with no sacks, hits, or hurries allowed.
On the other hand, left tackle Nate Solder had a rough night and got pushed around more than a few times going against KC pass-rusher Dee Ford. Shaq Mason isn’t listed, so it looks like he had a pretty good day, especially compared to Thuney’s three hurries.
(Note: I will caveat that film review would probably tell us a lot more about how much heat the Chiefs sent at both guard positions.)
Let’s also not forget the line as a whole paving the way for Mike Gillislee’s three-touchdown explosion, most of which were in clear run-first situations where the defense had to know it was coming. There’s some good to be had there, even if it’s in the face of a loss against what arguably wasn’t a defense bringing a whole lot of heat.
Fortunately, the Patriots offensive line gets a week off next week when they face off against the New Orleans Saints pass-rush.