Patriots

Patriots

Going into Sunday’s game in Dallas, most if not all of the talk was focused on the Patriots offense vs. the Cowboys defense.

Greg Hardy was going to wreak havoc on Tom Brady. And Rolando McClain was going to help him out.

But when the dust settled, the Pats dropped 30 points on the Cowboys. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense allowed just six points. That’s less than any amount of points they allowed in a game last season, as they limited the Raiders and Lions to nine points.

And a big part of that defensive effort - especially when you consider linebacker Dont’a Hightower left the game with a rib injury - was the play of third-year linebacker Jamie Collins.

Collins was a relative unknown coming out of college - at least in comparison to the players drafted before him and around him. But Bill Belichick and the Patriots knew what they were doing when they traded down and then took Collins with the 52nd overall pick.

Collins made a team-high 116 combined tackles in 2014, and with 32 through four games this year is on his way to leading the team once again. Collins made a team-high 10 tackles on Sunday against the Cowboys, and added a forced fumble - his third straight game with a forced fumble.

Devin McCourty was impressed with what he saw out of Collins, telling CSNNE’s Mike Giardi “he’s not human.”

Patriots newcomer Jabaal Sheard agreed with McCourty, saying “He’s a heck of an athlete. A freakish athlete . . . Anytime you got a freakish guy like that on the field like that, he's gonna draw attention."

The Patriots spent plenty of time last week on Jason Witten. With Dez Bryant out, Witten becomes an even bigger part of the offense for Dallas. But he was limited throughout the game and finished with five catches for 33 yards. He also coughed up the football in the fourth quarter courtesy of Collins’ hit.

“Jamie it seemed like he had 20 tackles,” Belichick told reporters. “I don’t know what he had out there but he was in on a lot of them . . . Jamie seemed to be all over the field. That was a good play we had on the fumble where [Jabaal] Sheard kind of jammed Witten, kind of kept him from getting to his route. Weeden came to him on a check-down, Jamie knocked it out, [Jonathan] Freeny made the recovery. So [it was] good team defense.”