New England Patriots: 3 defensive stars from big victory over the Chargers

Adrian Phillips #21 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Adrian Phillips #21 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Matt Judon #9 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots star player No. 2: Matthew Judon

It’s clear that Matthew Judon has been the Patriots most impactful free agent signing this offseason, but it’s beginning to look like he might have been one of the best free agent signings in the entire league. Judon has been an absolute force so far during his time in New England, and that didn’t change against the Chargers.

Judon finished yesterday’s game with four tackles, 1.5 sacks, one tackle for a loss, and two quarterback hits. He was a thorn in Herbert’s side all day long, and consistently found his way into the backfield. On a day where it was clear that Herbert was uncomfortable with the amount of pressure he was under, Judon’s presence was all the more important.

Judon’s seemingly constant ability to get in the backfield has also helped open things up for his teammates too. Lawrence Guy, who is typically used as a run defender, was able to pick up a sack in the second quarter while lining up right alongside Judon. Christian Barmore also met Judon in the backfield for half of a sack on Herbert later on in the game. Judon’s statline has been impactful on his own, but now he’s beginning to open up things for his teammates too.

Speaking of Judon’s stats, he’s now fourth in the league for sacks (eight) and tackles for a loss (nine) on the season. The Patriots have lacked a pass rushing threat like Judon ever since Trey Flowers signed with the Detroit Lions after the 2018 season. It’s added a new layer to New England’s defense that wasn’t necessarily present the last couple of seasons.

Judon is a weekly show in his own right, making big plays pretty much everytime he sets foot on the field. He played a huge part in helping the Patriots get past the Chargers yesterday, and if they do end up making a push for a playoff spot, you can bet Judon will play a big role in getting the team there.