Patriots sack master Matt Judon on an All-Pro roll to start 2022

FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 9, 2022: Matthew Judon #9 of the New England Patriots runs off the field following the game against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on October 9, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 9, 2022: Matthew Judon #9 of the New England Patriots runs off the field following the game against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on October 9, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots recent resurgence in solid play has been a welcome sight for a beleaguered Patriot Nation. It had previously seen its beloved team fall to a one-and-three record after their first four games.

Hope was enkindled in the fourth, as the game Patriots took the powerful Green Bay Packers to overtime before ultimately succumbing by three points. Rookie quarterback, Bailey Zappe led the offense, and the Pats’ defense whitewashed the excellent Lions offense, shutting them down and out by a 29-0 score.

A big part of that defensive shellacking rested on the shoulders of the Patriots’ best defender and best player, Matthew Judon. (Not that this was totally unexpected, it wasn’t.) He was a one-man wrecking crew against the Lions. Let’s take a look at Judon’s most recent game and the season thus far and draw a few conclusions.

New England Patriots edge Judon is an All-Pro in the making

First a disclosure, Judon was a favorite early in this space after he first arrived in 2021 signing a big four-year, $56M free agent contract with Bill Belichick and company. As a frequent critic of the Patriots’ personnel policy, it’s important to be objective and that means being certain to point out the good along with the not-so-good.

Signing Judon wasn’t just good, it was one of the best free-agency signings in the team’s history. How’s that for piling on some praise where it’s due? In 2021, Judon began his tear as a Patriot, not that he was an unknown prior to wearing the red, white, blue, and silver either.

Judon was a Pro-Bowler in 2019 and 2020 with the Baltimore Ravens but a relatively unheralded one. He continued his top-notch play in 2021 with New England. He was averaging about a sack-a-game last season.

Then, he was afflicted with Covid and his play was certainly significantly impacted by that illness.  That impacted the defense and the team as they faltered in the last five games and were summarily thrashed by the Buffalo Bills in their lone playoff appearance. Yet, his illness notwithstanding, he made a third consecutive Pro Bowl anyway.

That was 2021. Now, let’s turn to the present and what Judon is doing for the 2022 New England Patriots thus far. There were lots of questions for the linebacking crew entering the season, Judon wasn’t one of them.

New England Patriots Judon is playing at an All-Pro-level

Now fully healthy and also fully acclimated to the Patriots’ defense, Judon is taking his game to a whole other level thus far in 2022. His latest game was his best and they seem to be getting better by the week. Ain’t that a refreshing development?!

Against the Lions and their previously high-flying offense, Judon was downright dominant. The stats don’t lie. sums up his “monster game” against Detroit this way,

"Judon was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, after logging two sacks, four QB hits, a forced fumble, and three total tackles — including one for a loss — against the Lions. Judon strip-sacked Goff in the second quarter, which safety Kyle Dugger scooped up and took 59 yards for New England’s first touchdown of the game."

Folks, that’s what they call a dominating performance and they just seem to keep on coming for this in-his-prime edge player. Judon now has six sacks in five games thus far and is clearly on a roll. He had 12.5 all of last season.

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That’s why if he stays healthy and continues his uphill progression, Judon could well be headed for not just a Pro Bowl season, ho-hum, but an All-Pro one as well.

He’s so good that he’s even drawn heavy praise from the all-time best Patriots sack-man, New England Patriots and NFL Hall of Famer, the great Andre Tippett. How good was Tippett? Absent the presence and prowess of one Lawrence Taylor one of the three best players in NFL history in this space’s opinion, Tippett was the best linebacker in the NFL.

Next. Matt Judon sacking his way into franchise history. dark

All this leads to a couple of conclusions. First, Bill Belichick and then Player Personnel Director, Dave Ziegler get an A+++ on signing Judon in free agency in 2021. Second, due to Judon’s excellence and the resurgent defense, the Patriots have righted the ship and now may just make a playoff run this season. Who’d have thunk it after the first four games?

And third, Matt Judon is the Patriots’ best player and one of the best in football right now. Don’t be surprised if he’s named an All-Pro after the season if he stays healthy. It is what it is, and that is that the New England Patriots signed a truly terrific football player in Matt Judon.