All eyes were on Chandler Jones in the New England Patriots’ divisional-round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The defensive end came out Saturday night with a positive performance, making two big plays in the Patriots’ 27-20 win. Jones sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and forced a fumble early in the final quarter. Jones did appear to injure his leg while chasing Smith on another play, however, so his status will be watched this week.
Before Rob Gronkowski’s first touchdown retroactively is taken away because of an offensive pass interference penalty, let’s look at this week’s advanced passing stats:
Logan Ryan: 7-9, 92 yards, TD, defensive pass interference
Malcolm Butler: 6-11, 58 yards, pass break-up
Justin Coleman: 3-8, 26 yards, PBU, holding
Dont’a Hightower: 2-3, 15 yards
Patrick Chung: 5-8, 13 yards
Rob Ninkovich: 2-2, 10 yards
Devin McCourty: 1-1, 10 yards
Darius Fleming: 1-1, 8 yards
Jamie Collins: 0-1
Duron Harmon: PBU
— Chung stood out positively, allowing an incredible 1.5 yards per target and 2.6 yards per reception while covering Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce for most of the game.
— Coleman also played extremely well despite being matched up on multiple receivers. He has been deceptively good all season for the Patriots while healthy.
— Ryan had a down game, allowing most of his yards to veteran receiver Jason Avant.
Jabaal Sheard: seven hurries
Chandler Jones: sack, three hurries
Dont’a Hightower: two QB hits, two hurries
Rob Ninkovich: QB hit, three hurries
Alan Branch: four hurries
Akiem Hicks: three hurries
Dekoda Watson: two hurries
Jonanthan Freeny: hurry
Jerod Mayo: hurry
Logan Ryan: hurry
— The Patriots only were able to sack Alex Smith once, and it happened when it appeared he tripped on left tackle Eric Fisher’s foot. Jones was OK in pass rush, but he received a gift of a sack. Smith showed off his shiftiness and speed when the Patriots were able to get into the backfield but couldn’t bring him down.
— Hightower’s four hurries came on limited pass-rushing snaps. He continued to impress with getting after the quarterback.
— Ninkovich was steady and consistent as a pass rusher. He played 83 snaps, compared to Sheard’s 64 and Jones’ 37. Jones banged up his leg midway through the fourth quarter, which limited his snaps down the stretch. Jones already was receiving fewer opportunities than Ninkovich and Sheard through the first three quarters, however. It’s possible Jones was rested — though he started — as punishment.
Marcus Cannon: three hurries
Josh Kline: two hurries
Bryan Stork: two hurries
Shaq Mason: hurry
Sebastian Vollmer: hurry
Tom Brady: QB hit
— The Patriots’ offensive line was very solid, but the return of Julian Edelman helped Brady get rid of the ball in just 2.13 seconds per attempt.
— Vollmer held up very well playing left tackle against a dangerous front seven. Vollmer also was coming off an ankle injury.
— Brady allowed his lone legal QB hit when he held onto the ball for too long.
We charted Brady’s 14 incompletions to break down who was at fault. Brady was inaccurate on six passing attempts, five passes were dropped, one was blamed on a receiver, one was credited to the defense and one was thrown away.
1. Thrown behind Julian Edelman
2. Thrown in front of Brandon LaFell
3. Drop by Edelman
4. Drop by Danny Amendola
5. Drop by Edelman
6. Thrown in front of Edelman
7. Drop by Edelman
8. Drop by James White
9. LaFell didn’t fight for the football
10. Throw in front of Keshawn Martin
11. Thrown low to Martin
12. Pass to Edelman broken up by Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters
14. Thrown in front of Rob Gronkowski
— Edelman had three drops, leading the team as he came out of the locker room slightly rusty. Amendola and White also had drops, which is uncharacteristic for the two dependable players.
— Brady was accurate on 35 of his 41 aimed passes, which is a very high rate. Even his incompletions were smart, since they resulted in zero turnovers.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jan 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) drops a pass against New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (23) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports