Trey Flowers had His Best Year in Sacks
Trey Flowers had one sack Sunday to finish the season with 7.5 sacks, which eclipsed his previous high of seven sacks. Flowers improvement in the run game might be most notable.
"I pride myself on helping the team win," Flowers said. "You gotta stop a team on early downs to get them behind the sticks. For me, its not about the numbers. It's about doing what I can to help my team win."
Flowers was happy with the team defense - particularly on the play where he and Adam Butler forced the strip sack and Kyle Van Noy scooped up the ball and scored.
"Any time you can score with the offense on the sideline it is big," Flowers said.
Butler and Flowers agree that the defense has strong chemistry heading into the playoffs.
"It's definitely coming together. It's one of those things we have to build on. It's start in practice. You want make it translate from the practice field to the game field. We are going against some great teams in the playoffs so we are going to have play our best," Flowers said.
Flowers was excited about the Pats getting the bye week.
"It will give us a chance to recoup physically and mentally," Flowers said. "The extra week to get ourselves ready to improve is important."
Flowers joked that he was happy he finished the sack this time. He had a number of QB pressures this year where he has not finished the sack.
Adam Butler's Hard Work Pays Off
Adam Butler, a 2017 undrafted rookie, has been working hard all year. He often attracts double teams on third down. Butler finally received some glory Sunday when his strip sack led to a touchdown.
"It felt great. It really comes back to great coverage. Sam (Darnold) is known for making plays with his feet. The defensive ends did a great job forcing the QB to step up. Trey Flowers and I came around and got him by the ankles. He had no space. I stuck my hand in there and the next thing you know the ball was in the end zone," Butler said.
Butler said his understanding of the defense has improved this year. He has a broader understanding of the concepts and is not just focused on his role.
Phillip Dorsett's Patience Pays Off
In the first four games, Phillip Dorsett had 16 catches. Dorsett then disappeared with only 11 catches until Sunday. Dorsett had five catches for 34 yards and had two jet sweep rushes for 16 yards. This season has tested Dorsett's mental toughness. Dorsett talked to his father regularly this season about how to handle the adversity.
"Josh (McDaniels) put together a great game plan to get everyone involved. Last week against the Buffalo Bills, that is the No. 1 pass defense in the league. They hold everybody so we had to run the ball. This a great defense too (not really) but we knew they were going to stop the run so we needed to win through the air," Dorsett said. "We needed to win, next week is a bye week so this is like a playoff win. I think we executed the game plan perfectly."
Dorsett said he has grown as a person this year.
"I have been playing football since I was 5 and football has tested me. I was ready for what I went through this year. I am not going to sit here and say it wasn't tough. I talked to my Dad a lot and he helped me go through something like this," Dorsett said. "The biggest thing I have to say is you need to focus on the things you can control."
Bill Belichick had high praise for Phillip Dorsett as a person on Friday.
"That means a lot. I love Bill. He is the best coach ever. Bill means everything to everybody in this locker room," Dorsett said.
Notes: Julian Edelman finished the season with 74 catches after being suspended for the first four games. He was one catch short of a 500K incentive. "Oh, that little thing. Sometimes you get it. Sometimes you don’t. I don’t play the game for that. I play the game to try and go out and win championships," Edelman said. The Pats leading wide receiver was also fined last week for several hits and plans to appeal.
Derek Rivers had his first sack of the season. Adrian Clayborn was inactive for the second straight week showing that likely he is disappearing from the rotation. Duke Dawson was inactive. The Pats second round pick was not active for a single game this year. Other inactives were Obi Melifonwu, Jacob Hollister (hamstring), James Ferentz, Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) and Keionta Davis. Patterson was likely a precautionary decision. Melifonwu only has been active for two games this year since being signed. The decision to sign him was more about the future.
Stephon Gilmore shutdown Jets WR Robby Anderson.
Pats will play in the divisional round on Sunday January 13th at Gillette Stadium at 1:05 p.m. The Pats three possible opponents are the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens or Los Angeles Chargers.