ATLANTA – Football is inherently complicated.
A glance in the Patriots playbook would show you hundreds of pages. Thousands of things to know. Seems like there are a million different ways to play a game.
But there is a simple truth inside of this: the more physical team usually wins.
Earlier this week, Dont’a Hightower admitted that tenacity is a trait they try to build into their identity – and it works. As the Patriots extended their five-game winning streak to Mercedes Benz Stadium with a 25-0 loss to Atlanta, they were once again the most physical team.
Rhamondre Stevenson punctuated a 21-yard run with a vicious stiff arm, Kyle Dugger laid wood on Qadree Ollison when the fleeing Falcons grabbed a screen in the apartment, and the Patriots won the battle in the trenches with ease. two sides of the ball.
âOur o line and our d line take great pride in trying to dominate the line of scrimmage,â said Devin McCourty. “And I think the games that we’ve won and the games that have gone well for us, that’s what you see: you see our o and d lines really controlling the game from the start.”
On a crucial third and 1 at the end of the third quarter, Atlanta couldn’t get a yard. Hightower smoked Kevin Smith on a back dive. Trailing 13-0, the Falcons then decided to try their luck in fourth place. The first seven swallowed Ollison to return the ball on the downs. The Patriots would not budge.
“I don’t want to brag too much, but I feel like we have one of the best defenses in the league right now,” said JC Jackson. âWe have a good pass rush. We have guys up front who are doing pretty well this season and high school has always been pretty good. We are starting to build this chemistry.
It’s one thing to make Sam Darnold see ghosts. But Matthew Judon and his company also scared Matt Ryan. The 36-year-old quarterback, entering his 215th regular season game, was seeing things that weren’t there. On Thursday night, the Patriots hit Ryan 12 times, also recorded four sacks and four steals.
âPlaying against Matt Ryan, who’s one of the best in the game and has been for a while, it’s never easy,â said McCourty.
But again, the Patriots made it look easy.
This also happens in attack. In New England’s five wins on that streak, they have run for over 130 yards. It’s obviously something they want to do, but the defenses are still struggling to stop it.
âI think we have a physical football team. I think we have to rely on that, âsaid center David Andrews.
So, as the quarterback makes headlines – and again, Mac Jones was good – the identity this team is building is the real reason to believe in a playoff run. The Patriots have become a punchy football team. And with the temperatures dropping in New England, it won’t be fun for anyone to come to Gillette Stadium and play against a team like that.
âWe kinda want to be holes on the pitch, but good guys off the pitch,â said Judon. âWe’re playing by the rules, but we’re a nasty group. So that’s how we like to play and that’s how we have to play for our team to win – and we enjoy it. “
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