Jamie Collins

Turning Point: Boogeymen Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy give Patriots breathing room with scoop-and-score

Turning Point: Boogeymen Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy give Patriots breathing room with scoop-and-score

FOXBORO -- It was late on Thursday when the Boogeymen slipped through a Daniel Jones screen and ruined his night. 

To be fair, his night might've already been ruined to that point. The rookie passer for the Giants had already thrown three interceptions and was generally lost as he tried to figure out the Patriots defense as his team fell, 35-14.

But it was still a one-score game with about 8:30 left when the Giants had the ball and an opportunity to tie. Three plays into their drive, New York faced a third-and-nine against the best third-down defense in football. It did not go well for them. 

For the second time in the game, linebacker Jamie Collins -- who dubbed his fellow linebackers "the Boogeymen" this season -- sniffed out a screen pass, slipped past a block, and forced running back Jon Hilliman to fumble. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy was quickly on the scene to scoop up the football and scramble toward the end zone, diving for the pylon. Initially ruled out of bounds, Van Noy was deemed to have scored upon review.

Following a Mike Nugent extra point, the Patriots had a 28-14 lead and some breathing room on a night when they became so banged up that offensively they struggled to move the football at times against one of the league's worst defenses. 

It was another dominant night from the Patriots defense, save for a 65-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Golden Tate. Van Noy had a sack, Collins had three tackles, and Dont'a Hightower had three tackles of his own before leaving the game with a shoulder injury.

The only other points the Giants scored came on a strip sack fumble return for a touchdown by Markus Golden. 

The Patriots finished with 401 yards of offense and 7.1 yards per pass attempt, but it wasn't an easy haul for them by any means. Opening the game with heavier 22-personnel packages (two backs, two tight ends) and 21-personnel packages (two backs, one tight end), they eventually had to abandon those as tight end Matt LaCosse and fullback Jakob Johnson left the game with injuries. 

That left Tom Brady to throw to Julian Edelman, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Ryan Izzo and a series of backs that included James White, Sony Michel and Brandon Bolden. 

They made it work, but they got a hand from a defense that looks like it's a threat to score any time it's on the field. Scary.

Best and worst from Patriots' win over the Giants>>>

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Jamie Collins, Devin McCourty stand alone atop the NFL in interceptions after Week 5

Jamie Collins, Devin McCourty stand alone atop the NFL in interceptions after Week 5

Now that Week 5 in the NFL has officially wrapped up, the Patriots have two players atop the league's interception list. 

Devin McCourty leads the league with four interceptions in five games, and Jamie Collins is right behind him with three of his own. Janoris Jenkins, Desmond Trufant and former Patriot Logan Ryan round out some of the players with two picks. 

Given how dominant the Patriots defense has been through the first five weeks of the season, they were bound to have some ungodly individual and team statistics to show for it. New England also leads the league in sacks with 24 and is on pace to break the single-season NFL record

The Patriots' upcoming opponents aren't exactly world-beaters either. Over the next three weeks, they play the Giants, Jets, and Browns. Three offenses defined by either high turnover numbers or a complete inability to move the ball. The Jets most recently gave up 10 sacks to the Eagles and the Browns committed four turnovers on Monday Night Football. 

This defense has been nothing short of spectacular to start the 2019 campaign, and they shouldn't be slowing down any time soon. 

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Jamie Collins' ridiculous athleticism on display during Bills field goal block attempt

Jamie Collins' ridiculous athleticism on display during Bills field goal block attempt

Jamie Collins is a month into his seventh NFL season. He's at the point now, in his second go-round with his second team, that he's considered a veteran leader. He called the defensive signals for the Patriots on Sunday in Buffalo with Dont'a Hightower out with a shoulder injury.

There's some wisdom in Collins' game at this point. Some savvy. But as we saw over the weekend, even though he's gotten older, he's still explosive as hell.

Just before the end of the first half against the Bills, Buffalo kicker Stephen Haushka lined up a kick to give coach Sean McDermott and his club a lift going into their locker room. As he did, Collins got down into a three-point stance just to the right of the Buffalo long-snapper as part of the Patriots rush unit.

We've seen Collins take his place at the second level during opponent field goals in the past, where he's timed it up perfectly, running and jumping over the line to attempt a block. But that action is now illegal, as it's been deemed an especially dangerous position for players to throw themselves into.

What Collins did on Sunday was attempt the same leap over the line . . . but from a three-point stance instead of a running start. Players who are stationary at the line of scrimmage are still allowed to jump. It's just that they rarely -- if ever -- try to jump over the blockers in front of them and into the backfield; it is still a penalty to jump from a stationary stance and land on a lineman.

Collins, 29, is still one of the few athletes his size who could pull off a leapfrog over the line and not worry all that much about picking up a flag.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound linebacker leapt from his crouched position, lifted his knees to his chest, got over the line and then sprung back up into the air to try to block Haushka's kick. He didn't get a piece of it, but the kick went wide.

McDermott argued at the time that the jump should've been a penalty, but it was legal because of where Collins started, and the officials were right to let it go.

"Well, he’s a great athlete," Bill Belichick said Monday on WEEI's Ordway, Merloni and Sauria show when asked about the play. “I think we all know that. There’s not too much he can’t do athletically. He was pretty close to blocking the (previous) field goal coming off the edge on the outside.

"He’s a very explosive player. He’s got a great lower body, very explosive, through contact and through space. He can jump, too, as well as being long and fast and having a lot of power."

In a game like that one, even three points made a difference. While Collins didn't block the kick, he might've thrown off the kicking operation just enough to encourage a miss. And without his athleticism at Belichick's disposal, that kind of jump-the-line move probably wouldn't have been a consideration.

The play was just another reason that Collins came away from the game as one of the most valuable players on the field -- something that's becoming a weekly occurrence in 2019.

“He played another outstanding game for us, both on defense and in the kicking game," Belichick said. "He was really close on that. If that ball hadn’t missed to the right, if it had been straight, he might have had it."

Patriots Report Card: Defense aces, offense flops>>>

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