Patriots: DeAndre Hopkins Got Marooned on Ryan Island


New England Patriots CB Logan Ryan shut down Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday night.

“Good evening, Mr. Hopkins, and welcome to lovely Ryan Island. We hope you don’t enjoy your stay.”

Sunday Night Football this week was a slugfest between two teams that, at some point this season, had been written off as toast.  The Houston Texans started out the season at a pathetic 2-5 record after getting barbecued against the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.

Meanwhile, the Patriots F the World 2015 looked like it was all but over after the team lost Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails (running back Dion Lewis and receiver Julian Edelman), the best tackle on the team (Nate Solder), the starting center on last year’s Super Bowl team (Bryan Stork), and the now-consensus best tight end on the planet, Rob Gronkowski, all to various sorts of injuries.

Back to last night’s game, Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been wrecking the world this season, ranking third in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,221 yards.  The only two receivers above Hopkins?  Antonio Brown, with 1,397 receiving yards, and Julio Jones, with 1,426.  DeAndre is also tied for the third-most touchdowns in the league with New England’s very own Rob Gronkowski and New York’s Odell Beckham Jr, with 10 receiving touchdowns.

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Please note that Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr have real, live NFL quarterbacks throwing them passes.  Hopkins has to catch balls from Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, and TJ Yates.

Anyway, in contrast to how the Patriots threw Malcolm Butler on a team’s number 1 receiver in single coverage earlier this year, like with Antonio Brown in Week 1 and Terrance Williams of the Cowboys in Week 3, to shut down DeAndre Hopkins, New England went with a different approach: stick number 2 cornerback Logan Ryan in coverage, and constantly have a safety over the top on whichever side of the field DeAndre Hopkins lined up on.

It’s not exactly a novel approach, but Logan Ryan basically put the straps on Hopkins and almost completely took him out of the passing game.

According to NESN, Logan Ryan only individually allowed Hopkins to make one catch on four targets and out of those four targets, Ryan had two pass breakups.  Of course, that one catch was the 40-yard bomb that Hopkins caught in the fourth quarter with about 11 minutes to go and the Patriots already up by multiple scores.

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On the day, the Patriots defense held the (statistical) third-best receiver in the NFL to three receptions on 6 targets for 52 yards and a big ol’ goose egg in the “Touchdown” column.  It was DeAndre Hopkins’ worst game of the year for receptions (his previous low this season was 5 receptions) and his second-worst game of the year in terms of receiving yards.

Logan Ryan got himself a +3.2 grade from Pro Football Focus for his lockdown defense – just a tenth of a point less than what PFF graded a one Mr. Tom Brady (+3.3).

Next: Malcolm Butler Deserves More Credit

Remember this summer, when the Patriots were supposed to have one of the worst secondaries in the league after letting Darrelle Revis pull his own Lebron James “I’m Coming Home” stunt and cutting Brandon “THAT was pass interference?!” Browner?

Appropriate analogy:

“Happy learned how to putt…Uh-oh!”