Late in third quarter down a score, the Arizona Cardinals moved the ball into New England territory looking to get back in the game. Then Josh Uche took over.
The Patriots pass rusher fought through an offensive holding penalty to bring down quarterback Colt McCoy for a sack on a first-down. On the very next play, Uche was again in McCoy’s lap, forcing a short throw that was intercepted by Marcus Jones.
Five plays later, New England found the end zone to extend their lead to 27-13. With a comfortable lead, Uche and the rest of the Patriots’ pass rush was able to pin their ears back, where he finished off the hat trick picking up two more sacks.
“I told y’all I wasn’t the best pass rusher and our best pass rusher is emerging,” Matthew Judon said postgame. “People gonna have to block him, and if they don’t and chip my side and they worry about me, Uche will do that every week. And I just love the way he’s playing with confidence and poise.”
Emerging is certainly what Uche is doing, as the third-year pro has now recorded 10 sacks over the last seven weeks (six games) of the season — the most in the NFL. After recording just one multi-sack game (and seven total sacks) in his first two NFL seasons, he now has three in his last five games.
“This is the most he’s even played since he’s even in the NFL,” Judon said of Uche, who was limited to just 21 games in his first two seasons. “It’s taken a toll on him, but he's going out there and having a lot of success. We all knew it. We all knew what type of player he was. He was drafted pretty high here and now he’s just emerging. Folks are going to have to watch out.”
The duo of Uche (10.0) and Judon (14.5) became the first pass rushing duo in the league this year to eclipse the double digit sack mark. Uche credits a lot of his success to his counterpart.
“He’s been a blessing in my life. That’s big bro,” Uche said of Judon. “I don’t know where I’d be without him and the rest of the guys, D-Wise, you name it my boy Anfernee [Jennings] - my locker mate - those guys, man, we just feed off each other.”
With some high-powered offenses remaining on the Patriots’ schedule, New England will need continued success from Uche and the rest of their pass rush.
“That boy a baller man,” Raekwon McMillan said. “55 gonna show up and play ball every week.”