Akeem Ayers’ Disruptive Streak Among Takeaways From Patriots-Bears

NFL: Chicago Bears at New England PatriotsIt’s hard to believe the 2-6 Tennessee Titans have so many great defenders that Akeem Ayers couldn’t earn playing time with them.

Believe it or not, that was the case for Ayers before he was traded along with a seventh-round draft pick to the New England Patriots last week for just a sixth-round selection.

Ayers already looks like a great value for what the Patriots forfeited for his talents after recording a sack, a quarterback hit and three hurries against the Chicago Bears in New England’s 51-23 win. Ayers primarily lined up on the edge after spending just four days with the Patriots before making his debut.

Ayers mostly rushed the quarterback, but he also defended the run, dropped back in coverage and played special teams. It was an impressive debut for the athletic fourth-year pro, who played just 10 defensive snaps for the Titans this season.

We’ll get more into Ayers’ performance in Tuesday’s film review, but for now, check out this week’s takeaways from the passing game:

The Patriots’ highest-profile signings of the offseason came two days apart, when they agreed to a one-year deal with Darrelle Revis on March 12 and a three-year contract with Brandon Browner on March 14. Both players excelled Sunday.

It’s worth noting that one of the receptions Revis allowed was an 8-yard screen and the other was a 4-yard completion to running back Matt Forte in zone coverage, so neither was obvious or even contested. Browner was called for pass interference on a 20-yard touchdown pass that Bears tight end Martellus Bennett caught. It easily could have been called holding or pass interference on Bennett.

Check out this week’s coverage charting stats:
Jamie Collins: two receptions on two targets for 43 yards, touchdown, pass interference penalty
Dont’a Hightower: 4-5, 37 yards
Brandon Browner: 2-5, 33 yards, TD, pass breakup, pass interference, illegal contact
Logan Ryan: 3-3, 32 yards
Dominique Easley: 1-2, 17 yards
Patrick Chung: 2-2, 15 yards
Darrelle Revis: 2-7, 12 yards, interception, pass breakup
Malcolm Butler: 1-4, 10 yards, TD
Devin McCourty: 1-1, 6 yards
Tavon Wilson: 0-1, pass breakup

Check out the Patriots’ pass-coverage charting stats for the season:
Revis: 20-39, 275 yards, TD, 2 INTs, two pass breakups
Ryan: 16-24, 201 yards, TD, INT, three pass breakups
Alfonzo Dennard: 14-21, 192 yards, 2 TDs
Jerod Mayo: 12-16, 127 yards, TD
Kyle Arrington: 9-18, 127 yards, TD, pass breakup
Collins: 9-23, 111 yards, interception, TD, pass breakup
Hightower: 17-22, 100 yards, pass breakup
Wilson: 4-7, 80 yards, 2 pass breakups
Deontae Skinner: 5-5, 72 yards
Butler: 4-9, 63 yards, TD, pass breakup
Chung: 6-10, 54 yards, TD, pass breakup
McCourty: 6-13, 52 yards, 2 TDs, INT, 2 pass breakups
Rob Ninkovich: 4-6, 35 yards
Browner: 2-5, 33 yards, TD, pass breakup, pass interference, illegal contact
Chandler Jones: 2-3, 23 yards, two pass breakups
Easley: 2-3, 25 yards, interception
Nate Ebner: 1-3, 3 yards
Duron Harmon: 0-1
Chris White: 0-1
Vince Wilfork: interception

Ayers took some of Jones’ snaps on the edge, but for the most part, rookies Dominique Easley and Zach Moore took the injured starter’s place at right defensive end. Both players recorded a half sack, and Moore forced a fumble when linebacker Dont’a Hightower had Bears quarterback Jay Cutler wrapped up.

Check out this week’s pass-rush charting stats:
Akeem Ayers: sack, QB hit, three hurries (five pressures)
Rob Ninkovich: three QB hits, hurry (four pressures)
Jamie Collins: QB hit, two hurries (three pressures)
Dominique Easley: .5 sack, hurry (two pressures)
Zach Moore: .5 sack, hurry (two pressures)
Chris Jones: two hurries (two pressures)
Dont’a Hightower: .5 sack
Vince Wilfork: .5 sack
Patrick Chung: hurry
Logan Ryan: hurry
Tavon Wilson: hurry

Check out the Patriots’ season-long pass-rush charting stats:
Ninkovich: four sacks, seven QB hits, 20 hurries, 31 pressures
Chandler Jones: 4.5 sacks, eight QB hits, 15 hurries, 28 pressures
Hightower: 3.5 sacks, five QB hits, nine hurries, 18 pressures
Wilfork: .5 sack, two QB hit, seven hurries, 10 pressures
Chris Jones: 1.5 sacks,, two QB hits, six hurries, eight pressures
Jerod Mayo: sack, QB hit, four hurries, six pressures
Ayers: sack, QB hit, three hurries, five pressures
Collins: three QB hits, two hurries, five pressures
Joe Vellano: one sack, two hurries, three pressures
Casey Walker: one sack, two hurries, three pressures
Moore: .5 sack, two hurries, three pressures
Easley: .5 sack, two hurries, three pressures
Chung: one QB hit, two hurries, three pressures
Deontae Skinner: one sack, one hurry, two pressures
Ryan: one QB hit, one hurry, two pressures
Wilson: two hurries, two pressures
Kyle Arrington: one sack, one pressure
Sealver Siliga: one QB hit, one pressure
Alfonzo Dennard: one hurry, one pressure

Sunday was Brady’s best performance of the season by leaps and bounds.

Brady was 30-of-35 passing for 354 yards and five touchdowns. Three of Brady’s passes fell incomplete because of drops (two on wide receiver Julian Edelman and one on running back Shane Vereen). One incompletion fell short because of a miscommunication between Brady and Edelman, and the final incompletion was intended for Vereen but deflected by Bears linebacker Christian Jones.

Brady was 3 of 3 on deep passes for 55 yards.

Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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