Chandler Jones’ Impressive Comeback Among Patriots-Dolphins Takeaways

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December 15, 2014

Ryan Tannehill must have been the most unhappy person in New England to see Chandler Jones back on the field Sunday.

The premier edge defender returned from a hip injury, and the New England Patriots’ defense churned out its best pass-rush performance of the season in a 41-13 blowout win over the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots pressured Tannehill all game and finally sacked the Dolphins quarterback four times in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots now have Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Akeem Ayers, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins in their pass-rush arsenal to combine with big bodies in the middle Vince Wilfork, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Alan Branch and Dominique Easley. The Patriots can be creative using those weapons by blitzing Hightower and Collins up the middle, using Chandler Jones at defensive tackle and dropping Ayers and Ninkovich into coverage.

The Patriots also can choose to overstack one side of the line to overwhelm one player or group.

It’s going to be a long winter for opposing quarterbacks. Let’s see how this group fared Sunday:

CHANDLER JONES PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF

Chandler Jones and Ninkovich led the Patriots in total pressures with seven apiece. Jones gets the slight edge for a better pass-rushing performance since he played fewer snaps and was in on two sacks.

Collins continued his assault on opposing quarterbacks. He should have been credited with half of Siliga’s sack, since the linebacker tripped up Tannehill before the defensive tackle tackled him.

Check out this week’s pass-rush charting stats:
Chandler Jones: 1.5 sacks, one QB hit, four hurries
Rob Ninkovich: one sack, three QB hits, three hurries
Jamie Collins; four QB hits, one hurry
Dont’a Hightower: .5 sack, one QB hit, one hurry
Akeem Ayers: one QB hit, two hurries
Vince Wilfork: three hurries
Alan Branch: one QB hit, one hurry
Sealver Siliga: one sack
Jonathan Casillas: one hurry

Ninkovich has recorded eight sacks in three consecutive seasons. He’s the first to do so since Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, who had at least three sacks every season from 1983 to 1987.

Check out the Patriots’ season-long pass-rush charting stats:
Ninkovich: eight sacks, 15 QB hits, 32 hurries, 54 pressures
Hightower: 5 sacks, 10 QB hits, 25 hurries, 43 pressures
Chandler Jones: 6 sacks, nine QB hits, 19 hurries, 35 pressures
Ayers: three sacks, five QB hits, 21 hurries, 28 pressures
Collins: three sacks, nine QB hits, 10 hurries, 22 pressures
Wilfork: .5 sack, three QB hits, 15 hurries, 19 pressures
Chris Jones: 3 sacks, three QB hits, seven hurries, 12 pressures
Easley: .5 sack, one QB hit, six hurries, eight pressures
Jerod Mayo: one sack, one QB hit, four hurries, six pressures
Branch: three QB hits, two hurries, five pressures
Patrick Chung: two QB hits, three hurries, five pressures
Sealver Siliga: 1.5 sacks, one QB hit, three pressures
Joe Vellano: one sack, two hurries, three pressures
Casey Walker: one sack, two hurries, three pressures
Zach Moore: .5 sack, two hurries, three pressures
Tavon Wilson: one QB hit, two hurries, three pressures
Kyle Arrington: one sack, one QB hit, two pressures
Deontae Skinner: one sack, one hurry, two pressures
Logan Ryan: one QB hit, one hurry, two pressures
McCourty: two QB hits, two pressures
Casillas: one QB hit, two hurries, three pressures
Alfonzo Dennard: one hurry, one pressure

DARRELLE REVIS SWITCHES ASSIGNMENTS

The Patriots’ All-Pro cornerback began the game on slot receiver Jarvis Landry, with Malcolm Butler covering Mike Wallace and Brandon Browner following Brian Hartline. Wallace immediately burned Butler for a 50-yard reception on the first offensive play of the game, and Kyle Arrington came on to cover the speedy receiver.

When Arrington suffered a hamstring injury — he’s fine and should avoid injured reserve, per a source familiar with the situation — Butler came back on the field, and Wallace burned him again on the Dolphins’ final offensive play of the half, a 32-yard touchdown.

Logan Ryan came on the field for the second half and started tracking Landry with Revis now on Wallace and Browner still on Hartline. That was a much more effective combination for the Patriots, as they held the Dolphins scoreless in the second half.

Check out this week’s pass-coverage charting stats:
Malcolm Butler: 3-5, 93 yards, TD
Brandon Browner: 5-8, 44 yards, pass breakup
Patrick Chung: 3-6, 36 yards, INT
Logan Ryan: 2-5, 29 yards
Darrelle Revis: 3-5, 23 yards
Devin McCourty: 1-2, 18 yards, pass breakup
Dont’a Hightower: 2-2, 12 yards
Kyle Arrington: 1-1, 7 yards
Jamie Collins: 1-2, 5 yards
Rob Ninkovich: 0-1, pass breakup
Tavon Wilson: 0-1
Duron Harmon: INT
Vince Wilfork: pass breakup

Check out the Patriots’ pass-coverage charting stats for the season:
Revis: 34-74, 471 yards, two TDs, two INTs, 11 pass breakups
Ryan: 27-47, 414 yards, two TDs, two INTs, five pass breakups
Browner: 26-49, 391 yards, two TDs, one INT, five pass breakups
Arrington: 23-44, 277 yards, one TD, two pass breakups
Dennard: 16-23, 221 yards, two TDs
Collins: 22-42, 204 yards, one interception, one TD, one INT, one pass breakup
Chung: 19-38, 219 yards, three TDs, one INT, four pass breakups
Dont’a Hightower: 24-34, 178 yards, two pass breakups
Malcolm Butler: 13-24, 238 yards, two TDs, one pass breakup
Jerod Mayo: 12-16, 127 yards, one TD
Ninkovich: 10-14, 118 yards, one INT, one pass breakup
Devin McCourty: 10-19, 131 yards, two TDs, two INTs, three pass breakups
Tavon Wilson: 6-10, 85 yards, two pass breakups
Deontae Skinner: 5-5, 72 yards
Dominique Easley: 2-3, 25 yards, one INT
Chandler Jones: 2-3, 23 yards, two pass breakups
Casillas: 5-7, 22 yards, one TD
Nate Ebner: 2-4, 9 yards
Ayers: 2-4, 11 yards, one INT
Duron Harmon: 0-2, one INT
Chris White: 0-1
Vince Wilfork: one INT, one pass breakup
Alan Branch: one pass breakup

Thumbnail photo via Charles Krupa/Associated Press

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