FOXBORO, Mass. — After the New England Patriots’ AFC Championship win over the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Tom Brady posted a photo of his grass stain-free white jersey on Instagram.
The photo was a tribute to his offensive line — left tackle Trent Brown, left guard Joe Thuney, center David Andrews, right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Marcus Cannon — which did not surrender a single sack for the second consecutive game.
In fact, Brady has taken just three total quarterback hits since the postseason began — a remarkable achievement considering the high-end pass-rushing talent both Patriots opponents have possessed. The Los Angeles Chargers’ Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and the Chiefs’ Dee Ford and Justin Houston combined to touch Brady just once in back-to-back New England victories.
Brady expanded on his praise for the O-line ahead of the unit’s matchup with superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday in Super Bowl LIII.
“I think they’ve performed incredible all year, really,” Brady said Saturday. “We really haven’t had many sacks this year. I think they’ve done such a good job protecting. In the run game, I think that speaks for itself.
“That was just an incredible effort last week, and we’re going to need it again, because this group is obviously exceptional at that position — D-line is certainly a great strength of (the Rams’). We’ll be challenged, all those guys will be challenged and we’ll need those guys to play a great game.”
Since its penalty-riddled effort in a Week 15 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Patriots’ O-line has excelled in every area, with assists from fullback James Develin and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen.
In addition to rock-solid pass protection, the group also has helped the Patriots average 145.8 rushing yards per game over the last four contests and has committed just three combined penalties (one false start, two holds) since that Pittsburgh loss.
Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images