Patriots Advanced Stats: Jamie Collins, Jabaal Sheard Excel In Pass Rush

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The New England Patriots’ plan to make up for any deficiencies in their secondary with an improved pass rush has worked to perfection so far.

By adding Jabaal Sheard and allowing linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins increased opportunities rushing the passer, the Patriots are giving quarterbacks less time to throw, thus concealing their issues in the defensive backfield.

The Patriots haven’t quite figured out who they want to start at cornerback yet, but Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed just 17 of 33 passes in New England’s 51-17 win Sunday for 242 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Check out the Patriots’ advanced passing stats from Week 3:

PASS COVERAGE
Game stats:
Malcolm Butler: 2-5, 66 yards, TD, three PBUs
Justin Coleman: 2-4, 57 yards
Logan Ryan: 4-5, 49 yards
Devin McCourty: 1-2, 26 yards, INT
Jamie Collins: 2-5, 13 yards
Rob Ninkovich: 1-1, 9 yards
Jordan Richards: 1-3, 6 yards, TD
Jonathan Freeny: 1-1, 6 yards
Dont’a Hightower: 1-3, 5 yards
Patrick Chung: 0-1

— Butler looked like a No. 1 cornerback on 32 of Bortles’ 33 passing attempts. He allowed a 59-yard touchdown to Allen Hurns when he took a risk and went for his fourth pass breakup of the game. The play wouldn’t have gone for a touchdown if safety Duron Harmon didn’t whiff on an open-field tackle.

— Cornerback Tarell Brown was active but stood on the sideline without a helmet all game. That makes the Patriots’ decision to deactivate Bradley Fletcher even more glaring. Logan Ryan started at right cornerback, with Justin Coleman entering the game in nickel. Ryan slid over to the slot in those situations.

— Coleman held up well in his rookie debut despite allowing 57 yards. The Patriots look smart to sign him off the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad so far.

Season stats:
Malcolm Butler: 12-16, 240 yards, 3 TDs, INT, 3 PBUs
Bradley Fletcher: 7-10, 124 yards, 1 TD, 1 DPI
Logan Ryan: 8-11, 88 yards, INT
Justin Coleman: 2-4, 57 yards
Devin McCourty: 3-4, 49 yards, INT
Tarell Brown: 3-8, 40 yards
Dont’a Hightower: 4-7, 39 yards
Jamie Collins: 6-11, 34 yards
Rob Ninkovich: 3-3, 25 yards
Patrick Chung: 4-9, 24 yards, pass interference
Jerod Mayo: 2-2, 23 yards
Jonathan Freeny: 2-2, 11 yards
Jordan Richards: 1-3, 6 yards, TD
Duron Harmon: 2 INTs

PASS RUSH
Game stats:
Jamie Collins: sack, QB hit, three hurries
Jabaal Sheard: sack, four hurries
Chandler Jones: three hurries
Rob Ninkovich: two hurries
Logan Ryan: QB hit
Dont’a Hightower: hurry
Justin Coleman: hurry

— Collins isn’t even a full-time pass rusher but still led the team with five total pressures. Collins was a force as a pass rusher last year, as well, but this season he’s actually finishing plays with sacks. He’s currently on pace for 19 sacks, which is probably unattainable, but the third-year pro is living up to his potential in limited pass-rushing opportunities.

— Sheard has been even better than advertised this season and leads the Patriots in total pressures with 13 on the season.

— The Patriots have 13 sacks on the season now, which means they are on pace for 69. The record for a Bill Belichick-head coached defense is 48.

Season stats:
Jabaal Sheard: 13 pressures, two sack, one QB hit, 10 hurries
Chandler Jones: 10 pressures, three sacks, two QB hits, five hurries
Dont’a Hightower: six pressures, 1.5 sacks, four hurries
Rob Ninkovich: seven pressures, one sack, one QB hit, five hurries
Jamie Collins: nine pressures, 3.5 sacks, one QB hit, four hurries
Alan Branch: two pressures, one sack, one hurry
Geneo Grissom: two pressures, one QB hit, one hurry
Malcom Brown: one pressure, one sack
Logan Ryan: one pressure, one QB hit
Sealver Siliga: one pressure, one hurry
Rufus Johnson: one pressure, one hurry
Justin Coleman: one pressure, one hurry

PASS PROTECTION
Game stats:
Sebastian Vollmer: sack, three hurries
Marcus Cannon: four hurries
Nate Solder: three hurries
David Andrews: sack, QB hit
Shaq Mason: sack, hurry
Josh Kline: QB hit
Tre’ Jackson: hurry

— The Patriots continue to rotate their tackles and guards. LT Nate Solder, LG Josh Kline, C David Andrews, RG Tre’ Jackson and RT Sebastian Vollmer started. Cannon played left and right tackle. Mason played left guard, and Kline also played right guard.

— Brady seems slightly more skittish when Cannon is on the field, but that just could be because he’s under more pressure.

Season stats:
Nate Solder: one sack, 10 hurries
Marcus Cannon: one sack, seven hurries
Sebastian Vollmer: one QB hit, one QB hit, five hurries
Shaq Mason: sack, two QB hits, two hurries
David Andrews: one sack, two QB hits
Josh Kline: two QB hits, one hurry
Tre’ Jackson: one QB hit, one hurry
Tom Brady: one sack
Dion Lewis: one sack

PASSING GAME
Here are Brady’s incompletions, broken down:
1. Pass thrown behind Rob Gronkowski, appears to be miscommunication
2. Under pressure, thrown away
3. Under pressure, thrown away
4. Pass breakup by Sergio Brown
5. Pass breakup by Davon House
6. Drop by Julian Edelman
7. Tipped at the line
8. Pass breakup by James Sample
9. Drop by Aaron Dobson

— Of Brady’s nine incompletions, none were merely inaccurate passes.

— Four of Brady’s incompletions were due to strong plays by the Jaguars’ defense.

— Two of Brady’s incompletions were due to pressure given up by the Patriots’ offensive line.

— Two of Brady’s incompletions were drops.

— Gronkowski kept running on Brady’s first incompletion, while the pass went behind him like it should have been a back-shoulder route.

Thumbnail photo via James Lang/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Sep 27, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) fumbles the ball forward as he is hit by New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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