Watching an NFL linebacker get an interception is nothing new, but the one New England Patriots veteran Jamie Collins snatched out of the air on Sunday vs. the Carolina Panthers was anything but ordinary.
Take a look:
For any player to touch, snatch and control a bullet pass thrown from such a short distance is amazing. To make Collins’ performance all the more impressive, he’d just smoked Christian McCaffrey on a failed swing pass. Here are some of the reactions from Twitter:
It was a dominant performance from the Patriots defense overall.
Collins Played Excellent Against the Run and the Pass
During the game, Collins had 2 tackles, a pass defended, tackle for a loss and the interception seen above. Sunday’s game against the Panthers was Collins’ most impacting performance since he rejoined New England four weeks ago.
Along with Matt Judon, who had another sack (the only one of the game for the Patriots) the duo limited anything the Panthers could do off the edges.
It’s Official: The Patriots Own Sam Darnold
It’s tough to blame Darnold on the Collins interception. It was a pretty amazing play by the defensive player. Still, before and after that pass, Darnold was dreadful.
On the day, Darnold completed 16 of 33 passes for 172 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions. The other two picks Darnold threw (both to J.C. Jackson, one of which was a pick-six) were ill-advised and/or poorly thrown balls.
After Darnold’s third pick, a badly thrown ball picked off in the end zone, Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson could be seen shouting at his quarterback.
Quite honestly, it was tough to understand how Panthers head coach Matt Rhule didn’t turn to P.J. Walker at some point. We know Walker hasn’t had a ton of experience, but it couldn’t have been much worse.
For Darnold’s career, he is 0-4 against the Patriots. He has completed 66 of 127 pass attempts for a completion rate just under 52 percent (.519). He has an absolutely gross TD/INT ratio with one scoring pass to 9 picks. That’s one of the worst such stats you’ll ever see from a quarterback against a single team.
Patriots Defense is Beginning to Look Scary
Are there some issues with depth in the secondary? Would it be nice to have some slightly faster linebackers? The answer is yes to both questions, but the Patriots’ defense is beginning to look like an elite unit.
The defensive line has been outstanding getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Judon has given the team an elite pass rusher, and rookie Christian Barmore’s presence on the inside against the run and pass seems to be more impacting every week. New England has 19 sacks, 13 interceptions and 2 defensive touchdowns through their first 9 games.
The play of the defense is a big reason the team is on a three-game winning streak and suddenly jusr a half-game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. Next week, the Patriots take on the Cleveland Browns. How big of a game would it be if New England signs Odell Beckham Jr. this week when he becomes available?
Things are getting a lot more interesting in Foxboro.