The New England Patriots blew through the Cleveland Browns last Sunday highlighted by a memorable defensive performance. In perhaps New England’s most impressive defensive sequence yet, they forced three turnovers on three consecutive snaps. However, lost in the flash of the Patriots defensive takeaways was the dominance of linebacker Jamie Collins.
New England Patriots Win by Unleashing Jamie Collins
Statistics Spotlight Collins’ Versatility
Jamie Collins showed up all over the field with his most statistically dominant performance of the season. The linebacker tallied 13 total tackles (12 solo) and 1.5 sacks. Additionally, Collins played in a whopping 96% of the team’s defensive snaps against Cleveland. This demonstrates the confidence New England’s coaching staff has in Collins, as he is entrusted to play different roles on various situational downs. These roles feature Collins as a run-stuffing linebacker within their base defense, blitzing Collins from different alignments, playing him in coverage snaps within nickel and dime defenses, and assigning him the spy role on mobile quarterbacks.
Through eight games, Collins has been a one-man wrecking crew, impacting literally every area of New England’s defense. The 30-year-old veteran currently ranks sixth in solo tackles among outside linebackers. Furthermore, Collins demonstrates his individual dominance, as 79.5% of all his tackles have been solo efforts. Collins has flourished as New England’s defensive staff has utilized his athleticism and unleashed him in their blitzing schemes. The linebacker already has a career-high six sacks, which is sixth among outside linebackers. In addition, Collins has played a huge role in creating defensive turnovers for New England. Another career high, Collins’ three interceptions ranks first among linebackers while his two forced fumbles rank seventh.
Jamie Collins Playing at All-Pro Level
Currently playing in his eighth NFL season, Collins last received All-Pro honors as a 26-year-old in 2015. Now, three years later, Collins has returned to New England and is matching his 2015 play. During his 12-game All-Pro season, Collins totaled 89 tackles, six turnovers, 5.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss. Thus far through eight games, Collins has accounted for five turnovers, six sacks, seven tackles for loss, and is on pace for 88 total tackles.
Collins has been a jack of all trades for New England’s defense and is playing the best football of his career. The extremely athletic linebacker allows for coaches to be creative with defensive schemes that opposing offenses have yet to figure out. Collins’ talent and impact will especially be important in the coming weeks as the Patriots next five games are against the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, and Kansas City Chiefs. None of those teams currently have a losing record and New England will be facing, by far, the toughest stretch of their schedule.
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