Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower Solid Vs. Pass In Patriots’ Week 1 Loss


NFL: New England Patriots at Miami DolphinsThe New England Patriots’ pass defense unfortunately was overshadowed by the team’s porous run-stopping abilities in Sunday’s Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Darrelle Revis and the rest of the Patriots’ secondary actually played very well despite the 33-20 defeat at Sun Life Stadium.

The Patriots couldn’t consistently pressure Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but outside linebacker Dont’a Hightower impressed in his first true chance at showing off his pass-rushing abilities. He was penalized for roughing the passer, but the third-year pro hit Tannehill four times, causing mistakes.

Check out how the Patriots fared in pass coverage and pressure in Week 1:

Jerod Mayo: Five receptions on six targets, 48 yards allowed
Darrelle Revis: 2 on 5, 36 yards, TD, 2 pass breakups
Malcolm Butler: 2 on 3, 26 yards
Alfonzo Dennard: 2 on 3, 25 yards, interception
Jamie Collins: 2 on 7, 24 yards, PBU
Rob Ninkovich: 1 on 1, 4 yards, TD
Devin McCourty: 0 on 2
Logan Ryan: 0 on 1, PBU

The Patriots’ safeties — McCourty, Tavon Wilson, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon — played very well and didn’t allow a completion. They also didn’t allow any big plays over the top, despite Mike Wallace’s speed.

Collins is in the running for best coverage linebacker in the NFL. The biggest reception he allowed — a 17-yarder to Wallace — came after he had just run down the field to break up a pass intended for tight end Dion Sims.

Revis fared very well in his first regular-season game with the Patriots, despite allowing the touchdown. Revis actually tipped the completion to Wallace — it just happened to careen into the receiver’s hands. Revis looked genuinely confused about allowing the touchdown.

Dont’a Hightower: Four QB hits, three hurries, penalty
Jerod Mayo: One hurry, one sack
Rob Ninkovich: Two hurries
Joe Vellano: Two hurries
Chandler Jones: Two QB hits, two penalties
Vince Wilfork: One hurry

Mayo rushed the quarterback just three times and came away with two total pressures, including the Patriots’ only sack. Ninkovich should see more opportunities to rush the passer in the future. He was successful in pressuring Tannehill, despite just 13 pass-rush snaps.

Jones had an off day and was flagged for contact to the QB’s helmet both times he was able to reach Tannehill.

Hightower took over for Ninkovich as the team’s third-down edge rusher and excelled, hitting Tannehill four times and pressuring him three more. Hightower’s best rush came midway through the second quarter, when he flung tight end Charles Clay five yards on his way to Tannehill.

Photo via Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports Images

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