With the Tom Brady generation gone, the New England Patriots have become an anonymous team. But, before facing Cleveland on Sunday (7 p.m., live on L’Équipe) on Day 10 of the NFL, they remain on three straight wins. Take a look at the players who revived the « Pats ».
Brady, Michel, Edelman, Gronkowski, Gilmore … Many individuals who had helped the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl three times in recent years (2015, 2017, 2019) have left (Tom Brady had also guided the franchise of New England to victory in 2002, 2004 and 2005).
Consequence: New England ended the 2020 season with a record of seven wins and nine losses and missed the play-offs. This season, the Patriots have so far a record of five wins against four losses. And they have just won their last three games (54-13 against the NY Jets, 27-24 against the LA Chargers and 24-6 against Carolina) and remain placed for the play-offs. But to whom do they owe this good series?
NFL Day 9 schedule and results
Mac Jones (quarterback)
After a year with an unconvincing Cam Newton to replace Tom Brady, New England bet on Mac Jones for quarterback. The young man (23), university champion with Alabama in 2020, was drafted in the first round. And is doing pretty well in the NFL, with 68% of passes completed, 2,135 yards and 10 touchdowns, in nine games. On October 3, against Tampa Bay, under the eyes of Tom Brady, Jones allowed himself to complete 19 consecutive passes, unheard of in 30 years for a QB rookie.
Damien Harris (running back)
Harris (24), also from Alabama college, has been playing in the NFL and the Patriots since 2019. The first year, again with Tom Brady, he was little used. But last year, Damien Harris became the No. 1 running back of his team (691 yards in 10 matches). And this season, he’s already hit 100 yards per game three times, peaking at 106 against the Jets on October 24. Harris has carried the ball almost as many times as last year and has 547 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hunter Henry (tight end)
Henry (26) is both receiver and blocker with the Patriots. He caught 27 balls for 316 yards, and his five touchdowns are the best record of a receiver in New England this season. Hunter Henry joined the Patriots this year after playing for four years with the Los Angeles Chargers. By the time he left California, he had managed nearly 200 receptions.
Nick Folk (kicker)
The 37-year-old Folk has been playing for New England since 2019. He previously played in Dallas, NY Jets and Tampa Bay. Nick Folk has the heavy responsibility of replacing Stephen Gostkowski, one of the best kickers in NFL history. But it does its job remarkably well. So this year, Folk has already scored 21 field goals, in just nine matches, making him No. 1 in the NFL.
Miami surprises Baltimore (Thursday)
Matt Judon (linebacker)
In nine matches, Judon (29) has scored as many sacks this season. He notably pinned Tom Brady, Jameis Winston and Justin Herbert. Enough to mark his arrival at the Patriots in style. After five years with the Baltimore Ravens and two invitations to the Pro Bowl – the NFL’s All Star Game – Matt Judon has taken on a new career challenge. He teams up with Dont’a Hightower, one of the last stars of the Brady generation to be still in New England.
JC Jackson (cornerback)
Jackson (25) arrived in the NFL in 2018, straight to the Patriots. He won the Super Bowl in January 2019, the last on the New England team. But it was last season that JC Jackson won. He had made nine interceptions.
This season, Jackson is on such a good footing as he has already intercepted the opposing quarterback five times. Sunday, he even returned an interception on Sam Darnold (Carolina) for an 88-yard touchdown. And JC Jackson is the leader of the NFL in the number of passes blocked (12).
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