Patriots-Rams Takeaways: Chris Long Leads Improved Pass Rush In Win


The new-look, no-Gronk New England Patriots offense got off to a nice start Sunday, beating the Los Angeles Rams 26-10, but they might need to up their game to emerge victorious over better competition.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went 33-of-46 for 269 yards with one touchdown Sunday without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was placed on injured reserve after undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated disc. The Patriots averaged just 5.8 yards per passing attempt but had 29 carries for 133 yards as their rushing attack carried the offense early in the Week 13 win.

The Patriots’ defense also stepped up against the woeful Rams offense, allowing just 3.3 yards per play and seven total first downs.

See how the Patriots performed individually in the passing game in this week’s takeaways.

Malcolm Butler: 3-7, 78 yards, interception, two PBUs
Logan Ryan: 3-4, 34 yards
Shea McClellin: 1-2, 11 yards
Kyle Van Noy: 1-2, 10 yards, INT
Eric Rowe: 1-2, 6 yards
Patrick Chung: 1-2, 6 yards
Dont’a Hightower: 1-4, 2 yards
Cyrus Jones: 1-3, 1 yard, TD
Devin McCourty: 0-3, two PBUs
Trey Flowers: 0-1
Jabaal Sheard: two PBUs

— Butler dominated until he let up a 66-yard catch to Kenny Britt with two minutes left in the game. He still had a positive performance.

— Rowe went down with a hamstring injury late in the game and didn’t return. He was replaced by Cyrus Jones, who wound up letting up the Rams’ lone touchdown on some miscommunication by the goal line.

— The Patriots’ linebackers and edge defenders had a solid day in coverage, allowing just three catches on nine targets for 23 yards with an interception and two pass breakups.

Here are the season-long numbers.


Chris Long: sack, two QB hits, two hurries (five pressures)
Trey Flowers: five hurries (five pressures)
Rob Ninkovich: sack, two QB hits (three pressures)
Logan Ryan: sack, QB hit (two pressures)
Shea McClellin: sack, hurry (two pressures)
Alan Branch: QB hit, hurry (two pressures)
Jabaal Sheard: QB hit, hurry (two pressures)
Malcom Brown: two hurries (two pressures)
Dont’a Hightower: QB hit (one pressure)
Vincent Valentine: hurry (one pressure)
Kyle Van Noy: hurry (one pressure)

— Long had his second sack in as many games. He had trouble closing to the quarterback earlier in the season.

— The Patriots had one of their best games at bringing pressure, finishing with four sacks.

— The Patriots showed what they can do when they get aggressive and actively attempt to bring pressure. They could do the same next week against the Baltimore Ravens, who have the statuesque Joe Flacco under center.

Here are the season-long numbers.


Joe Thuney: two QB hits, hurry (three pressures)
Nate Solder: QB hit, two hurries (two pressures)
Marcus Cannon: QB hit (one pressure)
LeGarrette Blount: QB hit (one pressure)
James White: hurry (one pressure)

— The Patriots’ offensive line did a great job of keeping Tom Brady clean. They didn’t allow a single sack.

— Center David Andrews and right guard Shaq Mason didn’t allow a single pressure. Mason has been much better recently.

Here are the season-long numbers.


1. Miscommunication on deep pass to Chris Hogan
2. Wide to Martellus Bennett
3. Throwaway under pressure
4. Out of bounds deep to Julian Edelman
5. Broken up to Bennett
6. Drop by Dion Lewis
7. Grounded to Edelman
8. Wide to Danny Amendola
9. Short keep to Edelman
10. Drop by Malcolm Mitchell
11. Low to Edelman
12. Broken up to Mitchell
13. Thrown away under pressure to James Develin

— Eight of Brady’s incompletions were due to inaccuracy, two to pressure, two to drops and one to miscommunication.

— Brady was 3-of-9 for 47 yards while under pressure.

— Brady was 2-of-5 for 52 yards on deep passing attempts.

Here are the season-long drop numbers.


Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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