Trey Flowers picked the grandest stage to have his true breaking out party. The Patriots defensive end had 2.5 sacks and five total quarterback hits in New England’s 34-28 Super Bowl LI win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Flowers’ breakout has been brewing since the end of October. The “Waterboy” fan recorded seven sacks in the Patriots’ final nine games and became an every-game starter after the bye week. He had multiple sacks in three games while doing much of his work as an interior rusher.
That Flowers had such a noteworthy Super Bowl gives him a much higher profile as he enters his third NFL season. All of his sacks were impactful, too. The Arkansas product forced two punts with third-down sacks and knocked the Falcons out of field-goal range late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots were able to tie the Falcons on their ensuing drive.
Flowers was selected early in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft with a pick the Patriots received for trading All-Pro guard Logan Mankins. Despite missing most of his rookie season with a shoulder injury, Flowers already can be considered a steal for where the Patriots selected him.
Keep reading for coverage, pass rush, pass protection and accuracy stats and notes.
Eric Rowe: 3-4, 62 yards, PBU
Logan Ryan: 2-2, 42 yards
Malcolm Butler: 1-2, 35 yards
Patrick Chung: 3-5, 31 yards, TD, two PBUs
Duron Harmon: 1-1, 9 yards
Rob Ninkovich: 1-1, 6 yards, TD
Kyle Van Noy: 1-2, 4 yards
— Ryan was beat on consecutive plays by All-Pro wideout Julio Jones. He was targeted on a 9-yard catch by Mohamed Sanu in the fourth quarter, but the play was negated by a penalty.
— Despite making some incredible catches, the Patriots successfully held Julio Jones to under 100 yards. He caught four passes on four targets for 87 yards.
— The Patriots didn’t assign one player to cover Jones. Ryan, Butler and Rowe all got shots at him. Rowe allowed two catches for 45 yards to Jones.
— Chung had an up-and-down performance for the Patriots, allowing a touchdown but also breaking up two passes.
Trey Flowers: 2.5 sacks, two QB hits, five pressures
Jabaal Sheard: 1/2 sack, two hurries, three pressures
Chris Long: QB hit, two hurries, three pressures
Dont’a Hightower: sack, QB hit, two pressures
Alan Branch: 1/2 sack, hurry, two pressures
Kyle Van Noy: 1/2 sack, hurry, two pressures
Logan Ryan: hurry, one pressure
Shea McClellin: QB hit, one pressure
Patrick Chung: hurry, one pressure
— The Patriots recorded 20 pressures on just 28 dropbacks. They did a nice job of dialing up pressure when needed against a potent Falcons passing attack.
— Flowers only had the second most impactful sack of the game. Hightower had a strip sack midway through the fourth quarter, which gave the Patriots the ball at the Falcons’ 25-yard line. The Patriots scored a touchdown to cut Atlanta’s lead to eight points.
— Sheard was credit for a sack, but Branch did most of the work on the play. Sheard just touched Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan down.
Nate Solder: sack, QB hit, 12 hurries
Shaq Mason: two sacks, QB hit, two hurries
Marcus Cannon: sack, two QB hits, two hurries
Joe Thuney: four hurries
Tom Brady: sack
— Solder had a really tough time against Falcons pass rusher Dwight Freeney, which was very surprising, since he otherwise had a great 2016 season.
— Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett beat Mason and Cannon for sacks. The sack credited to Brady also was Jarrett’s. Brady simply held the ball way too long.
— Center David Andrews wasn’t credited with a pressure, but he also didn’t do a great job helping his fellow interior linemen.
TOM BRADY’S ACCURACY
1. High to Julian Edelman
2. Pass to Malcolm Mitchell broken up
3. Hit while throwing (Solder) to Edelman
4. Behind and low to Danny Amendola
5. Dropped by Dion Lewis
6. Intercepted by Robert Alford while thrown into double coverage
7. Throw in front of Edelman
8. Thrown out of bounds to Chris Hogan
9. Pass to Edelman broken up
10. Dropped by Hogan
11. Dropped by Edelman
12. Overthrown to Edelman
13. Short to Edelman
14. Overthrown to Edelman
15. Low to Amendola
16. Thrown away toward James White
17. Underthrown to Hogan
18. Pass behind Edelman broken up
19. Pass to Martellus Bennett broken up
— Of Brady’s 19 incompletions, 10 were inaccurate, three were good defensive plays, three were drops, two were thrown away and one was because of pressure. Brady was under pressure on nine of his incompletions.
— Brady was 5 of 12 for 110 yards on deep passes.
— Brady started slow but went 27 of 34 for 294 yards with two touchdowns on the Patriots’ final five drives.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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