The New England Patriots’ 33-7 Week 6 win over the Washington Redskins will be remembered as the game that finally sprung running back Sony Michel. But it took contributions from three other particular players to get Michel going.
Michel finished the contest with 16 carries for 91 yards with a rushing touchdown. The 2018 first-round pick also caught his first three passes of the season for 32 yards. The 123-yard performance came on the heels of a foot injury that kept running back Rex Burkhead out of the game. The Patriots stayed away from their two-running back pony sets and went heavy. Rookie fullback Jakob Johnson played a career-high 32 offensive snaps. Tight end Matt LaCosse played a career-high 73 offensive snaps. Tight end Ryan Izzo was on the field for 20 snaps.
Although their performances weren’t perfect, Sunday’s win should be remembered just as much for a breakout game from Johnson, LaCosse and Izzo. LaCosse dropped his first target, Johnson still missed some lead blocks and Izzo was flagged for offensive pass interference, but the trio showed significant improvement in Week 5. And the Patriots cut veteran tight end Ben Watson a day later.
Izzo led the way on Michel’s longest carry of the day, a 25-yarder on first-and-10 with 6:40 left in the third quarter. Watch it here.
Michel’s 14-yard touchdown carry was a very well blocked play. Patriots left guard Joe Thuney took out linebacker Ryan Anderson with a pull block. LaCosse sealed off linebacker Shaun-Dion Hamilton. Johnson managed to block linebacker Jon Bostic and safety Landon Collins. Michel ran through two tackles to scamper in for the touchdown.
Johnson had good lead blocks on Michel’s 11-yard carry on third-and-4 with 11:02 left in the fourth quarter (watch that here) and his 7-yard carry on first-and-10 with 10:37 left in the fourth quarter.
“If you don’t block, you don’t get to catch balls,” LaCosse said Monday. “I think that’s definitely one thing we take pride in is being the complete tight end. One of us isn’t just a pass-catching tight end, one of us isn’t just a blocking tight end. You have to do everything.”
Johnson, LaCosse and Izzo combined for four catches on eight targets for 66 yards with a touchdown. It would be surprising if LaCosse, Izzo or Johnson became major parts of the passing game. Most of Brady’s connections to his fullback and tight ends came while they were wide open.
This was dropped by LaCosse:
LaCosse caught this for a 22-yard gain. Watch it here.
This was thrown errantly to LaCosse.
This bounced off the top of LaCosse’s fingertips.
Izzo made a nice adjustment on this catch and took it for 29 yards. Watch it here.
There’s barely a Washington player on the screen on Izzo’s 10-yard touchdown catch. Watch it here.
Johnson couldn’t stretch for this pass.
This was a 5-yard completion to Johnson.
Other notes from our film review:
— Jamie Collins’ sack and the one Dont’a Hightower and Michael Bennett combined to make were definitely not coverage sacks. It took Collins just 2.5 seconds to bring down Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy. Watch it here. Hightower and Bennett’s took just 2.84 seconds. Watch that here.
— Hightower said after the game he knew what play was coming when he made his individual sack. Watch it here.
McCoy motioning receiver Trey Quinn into the backfield tipped off Hightower. Once he saw it wasn’t a running play, he ran in a straight line right at McCoy and met the QB exactly where he was rolling out.
— Michel ran hard to finish off this carry. He was doing a better job of running through contact and shaking tackles Sunday.