The New England Patriots marched into SoFi Stadium on Sunday and handed the Los Angeles Chargers a thorough butt kicking in the form of a 45-0 victory. A win that brought the team back to .500 for the first time in over two months, and served as a coming out party for a serious playoff push.
Bill Belichick’s squad got acclimated to its temporary home — Thursday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Rams will take place in the same building — fairly quickly as it got off to a hot start and never looked back. The offense was steady and mistake-free, the defense had Justin Herbert looking like he wasn’t the Rookie of the Year frontrunner, and special teams put on a masterclass against the Chargers unit that can be best described as if Mike Tyson were to box a puppy.
Not only was the team steady but they generated some explosive plays that were reminiscent of the Dynasty era Patriots. The defense forced two turnovers, Devin McCourty returned a field goal block for a touchdown as time expired in the first half, and Gunner Olszewski returned a punt for a touchdown that served as the start to things blowing up in the Chargers’ faces.
Those plays were great and all but you know the drill by now. We like to take a look at the people who made those plays happen, not just the beneficiaries. So let’s take a deeper look at the unsung heroes from those plays as well as a certain Guy that is inline for a contract extension.
Gunner’s road crew
What has sparked Gunner Olszewski’s growth over the past couple of weeks? Let me tell ya. pic.twitter.com/PIN3hYLKQC— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) December 8, 2020
Don’t get me wrong, Gunner Olszewski did one hell of a job on this punt return. His cuts were decisive and he took what was given to him. It just so happens that the return unit gave him a clear path to the end zone. It starts with Matthew Slater (of course) setting up a cutback lane and from there on all Rashod Berry and Justin Bethel need to do is wall off a couple of Chargers and it’s a house call. The execution on this was outstanding.
Jake Bailey #ProBowlVote
Bailey is the best player on the team; I’m not even sure he wouldn’t be if Tom Brady was still in New England either. Even his touchbacks are beautiful. Go vote for him to go to the Pro Bowl on Twitter by tweeting his name with the #ProBowlVote or retweet the tweet above. I’m making it my life’s mission to get that man some Pro Bowl money.
Finding a missing piece to the N’Keal Harry puzzle
Don’t look now but I think Josh McDaniels may be figuring out how to use N’Keal Harry. Loved this play and what it could mean for the future. pic.twitter.com/nnLPs4oGlt— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) December 7, 2020
After 16 games of trying to throw him screens, quick slants, and crossers, the Patriots finally took a step back and let N’Keal Harry do what he does best. They gave him a chance to use his size and physicality in the red zone and it worked. He got his feet in the end zone, delivered a right hook to Chris Harris Jr, and plucked a fastball right out of the air for a touchdown. After the play, his teammates mauled him as you could tell that it meant a lot to them. The kid has been set up for failure from the get-go, maybe this can turn things around for him.
Josh Uche: Athletic and disruptive
Josh Uche (#53) is straight up bullying offensive tackles in his sixth NFL game. 3 QB hits on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/HiTif5sAz0— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) December 7, 2020
After seeing his production over the past few weeks, I think it’s fair to say Josh Uche looks like he is going to be special. He bullied Storm Norton on a few different occasions Sunday, this is just one of them. I can’t say enough about how effective he has been.
Special teams coordinator Cam Achord with an A+ gameplan
This was just mean on the Patriots’ part. They took full advantage of Stephen Anderson and the Chargers coaching staff. They schemed this up perfectly and Cody Davis took full advantage of what he was given. I’ll give him the assist, because Julian Edelman told me to:
DT Lawrence Guy
It hasn’t been the easiest past few weeks for Lawrence Guy. He has been dealing with injuries to just about every limb throughout the season, and even missed the New York Jets game. As he’s worked his way back he hadn’t been the same guy, until this week.
Sunday saw Lawrence Guy return to form as he was an anchor in the run game, and extremely disruptive in the pass game. Below I highlighted three plays that Guy was at his best and really helped out the defense.
First was a great assist, helping John Simon make a play behind the line of scrimmage. He froze the running back and allowed Simon to come back and make the tackle. This resulted in a stalled drive for the Chargers after they had put together a few first downs.
Even when he’s not showing up on the stat sheet, Guy makes plays. Here he does a great job of disposing of the guard, then he does a little two step with the running back. All of this gives John Simon enough time to get back into the play and make the tackle. Primo stuff. pic.twitter.com/LFJqLc6cqd— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) December 8, 2020
Then his sack from the third quarter. John Simon returned the favor and aided Guy on the stunt, leaving him one-on-one with the running back. Advantage: Guy.
Not exactly sure what happened with the #Chargers here but the may want to block Lawrence Guy. He gets the sack with an assist on the stunt by Simon, those two work so well together. pic.twitter.com/dk6LX42qCm— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) December 8, 2020
Finally, in the first play of the second quarter, Lawrence Guy did what Lawrence Guy does. Stands up the guard, mirrors him and makes the right rip, falls right into the lap of the running back and makes a tackle. An awesome play that he seems to make at least once a week.
This one is just an example of “my Guy is better than your guy.” Pun absolutely intended. pic.twitter.com/9PbGzbeY18— Keagan (@KeaganStiefel) December 8, 2020
It might be getting old for you guys but I think Lawrence Guy has been a part of every single eligible Unsung Hero blog. He was fantastic once again on Sunday and will be in the future. Someone get the man a contract.