There was not one single standout performer on the New England Patriots’ defense this week. Instead, the unit as a whole was masterful.
The Patriots allowed just 99 net yards to the Carolina Panthers in Thursday’s 10-3 win. They let up 51 on the ground and just 48 yards to Panthers quarterbacks Cam Newton, Kyle Allen and Will Grier.
We have a feeling this will be a sign of things to come this season for the Patriots’ defense.
All stats via Pro Football Focus.
LB Terez Hall: 1-1, 27 yards
LB Christian Sam: 3-3, 13 yards
CB Jason McCourty: 1-2, 13 yards
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: 1-2, 10 yards
CB Ken Webster: 1-1, 9 yards
LB Elandon Roberts: 1-1, 8 yards
LB Dont’a Hightower: 1-1, 4 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 1-2, 3 yards
CB Jonathan Jones: 1-1, 3 yards
CB JC Jackson: 0-2
CB Joejuan Williams: 0-1
S A.J. Howard: 0-1
CB Duke Dawson: 0-1
— What a dominant performance by the Patriots’ secondary and pass defense. This group will be hard to throw on during the regular season.
— Safeties Terrence Brooks, Devin McCourty, Malik Gant and Duron Harmon, linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Calvin Munson and cornerback Keion Crossen weren’t targeted in coverage.
— Both of Jackson’s targets were deep. Why do quarterbacks keep testing him on deep passes again?
DL Ufomba Kamalu: sack, hurry
LB Dont’a Hightower: two hurries
DT Mike Pennel: two hurries
DL Michael Bennett: sack
LB Kyle Van Noy: sack
DL Adam Butler: sack
DL Lawrence Guy: hurry
S Terrence Brooks: hurry
DL Keionta Davis: hurry
DL Nick Thurman: hurry
S Malik Gant: hurry
— Kamalu’s sack came when he was standing up at outside linebacker. The Patriots were short at the position with Derek Rivers, Trent Harris and Shilique Calhoun out with injuries. The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder had to step in.
— Outside linebacker Chase Winovich was blanked as a pass rusher after an unbelievable performance in Week 2 of the preseason. Byron Cowart, David Parry, John Simon, Jamie Collins, Deatrich Wise and Danny Shelton also saw pass-rush reps but didn’t record pressures.
— Butler only got two snaps, and he had a sack in one of them. Pretty good.
DL Ufomba Kamalu: three stops
LB Calvin Munson: three stops
DL Mike Pennel: two stops
LB Kyle Van Noy: two stops
DL Byron Cowart: stop
DL Michael Bennett: stop
LB Dont’a Hightower: stop
CB Jason McCourty: stop
S Duron Harmon: stop
DT Adam Butler: stop
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: stop, missed tackle
CB Stephon Gilmore: stop
CB Joejuan Williams: stop
— Pennel still was playing deep into the fourth quarter, which usually isn’t a great sign for a veteran player. We’ll see if he plays next week. He performed well, though. So, that’s a plus.
— Munson might find a spot on the Patriots’ roster after special-teamer and linebacker Brandon King went down with a leg injury. King was carted off the field, and it didn’t look good.
— It was interesting to see Cowart and Shelton start in the Patriots’ base defense. Bennett and Winovich only came onto the field in nickel situations.
G Hjalte Froholdt: sack, two hurries
G James Ferentz: sack, QB hit
FB Jakob Johnson: sack
G Ted Karras: QB hit
OT Dan Skipper: hurry
OT Cole Croston: hurry
G Shaq Mason: hurry
OT Tyrie St. Louis: hurry
— Offensive tackles Isaiah Wynn, Cedrick Lang and Marcus Cannon, centers David Andrews and Tyler Gauthier, left guard Joe Thuney, tight ends Ryan Izzo, Eric Saubert, Stephen Anderson and Lance Kendricks, running backs Brandon Bolden, Nick Brossette and Damien Harris and fullbacks James Develin and Andrew Beck received pass-blocking snaps but didn’t allow any pressures.
— The Patriots’ starting offensive line allowing just one total pressure was impressive.
— Wynn has yet to allow a pressure in two games.
— Rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham went 15-of-19 for 134 yards. Of those four incompletions, two were dropped. So, Stidham was accurate on 89.5 percent of his passing attempts.
— Starter Tom Brady went 8-of-12 for 75 yards. One of his incompletions was dropped. He had an accuracy rate of 75 percent.
— Brady was 1-of-2 on deep passes. Stidham was 0-of-1.
— Stidham continues to do a better job of getting rid of the ball quicker. It took him just 2.82 seconds to throw Thursday night. That was down from 2.9 seconds in Week 2 and 3.23 seconds in Week 1. Stidham was 11-of-11 when getting rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds or less.
WR Jakobi Meyers: drop
TE Ryan Izzo: drop
FB Jakob Johnson: drop
— Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was targeted on one deep pass and hauled it in for 19 yards.
— Meyers didn’t catch two deep passes.
— Meyers was targeted four times out of the slot. He caught two of them for 29 yards.
— Dorsett had seven catches on seven targets for 47 yards. Meyers had seven catches on 12 targets for 74 yards. The only other pass catcher with more than one catch was Ryan Davis, who had two receptions for 8 yards. Izzo, who had a really nice 18-yard catch, was the only other player who was targeted more than once.
Brandon Bolden: 4.67 yards after contact per carry, two missed tackles forced
Nick Brossette: 2.5 yards after contact per carry, three missed tackles forced
Sony Michel: 2.3 yards after contact per carry, four missed tackles forced
Damien Harris: 2 yards after contact per carry, no missed tackles forced
Rex Burkhead: 1 yards after contact per carry, no missed tackles forced
FB James Develin: 0 yards after contact per carry, no missed tackles forced
— Michel had 10 carries for 36 yards. He didn’t find much success in short-yardage situations, but we thought he looked spry and ran hard.
— Bolden had the longest carry of the night with a 16-yarder.
— Harris left the game early with an apparent injury.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to ProFootballFocus.com.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images