FOXBORO, Mass. — The Indianapolis Colts plan to make the New England Patriots’ offense “one-dimensional” this Saturday night. Kendrick Bourne believes that’s impossible.
One day after Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke said the Colts are aiming to shut down New England’s run game and put the pressure on rookie quarterback Mac Jones to produce, Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne offered his retort.
“I think that’s just funny,” Bourne said Tuesday when asked about Okereke’s comments. “Obviously, we’re not a one-dimensional team. Last week (against Buffalo), we ran the ball, but conditions are conditions. So that’s just a funny comment to me. I feel like we can do anything. We’re in control of what we do. It’s literally not about any other team. It’s about us.”
Bourne also said Indianapolis’ defense, which ranks in the top 10 in points allowed and Football Outsiders’ DVOA, won’t be able to fool the Patriots’ offense.
“Mac knows the looks, we know the looks, we’ve practiced different looks, so nothing is a shock,” the wideout said. “Nothing is new. It’s like, OK, we’ve seen this look, we’ve seen this look, how do we adjust to the look? That way, you can’t make us one-dimensional, because we know every look, or we’ve at least practiced or tried every look.
“So that’s just a funny comment, in my opinion, but it’s all about playing on Sunday, for sure, and proving it. That’s what I’ll say about that.”
Though the Patriots are built offensively around their powerful rushing attack — in last week’s win over the Bills, they ran it 43 times on 46 snaps for 222 yards — Bourne believes New England’s efficient passing game doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
While it lags behind in most volume stats, that Jones-led operation ranks second in the NFL in completion percentage, sixth in yards per attempt, eighth in passer rating, 10th in DVOA and 10th in expected points added per dropback this season. Over the course of their current seven-game win streak, the Patriots lead the league in EPA per dropback, as measured by The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin.
When the Tennessee Titans successfully stifled the Patriots ground game in Week 12, Jones feasted off play-action, completing 71.9% of his passes for a career-high 310 yards and two touchdowns (both to Bourne) despite a few ugly misses in the red zone.
“I definitely do think we’re under-respected,” Bourne said. “Overall, I think we are. But our receiver group, yeah, we don’t have top guys that they say or whatever, but New England’s kind of the place where you don’t need superstars. You don’t need the star. You just need the disciplined role player that can be a star in his own role, and that’s kind of how I look at myself. … I think our group has flown under the radar, but winning and everything else speaks for itself, so I think that’s what it’s ultimately about.”