Everyone notices the flashy one handed grabs, the clutch quarterback play, the big run up the middle, however, one thing that always gets overlooked is the big boys up front.
The offensive line is what makes any great offense tick and for the 2018 New England Patriots they’re the #1 reason the Pats are back in the big game and everyone in that locker room knows it.
“Those hogs, they blocked their tails off tonight, we live and die through them,” said Julian Edelman following the AFC title game.
In my AFC Championship preview I mentioned that the game would ultimately come down to who played better in the trenches on both sides and the Pats certainly dominated that part of the game en route to a third straight AFC crown.
I hate that these guys work harder than anyone on the field, fighting in the trenches each game, and they hardly get any recognition. For much of the regular season the media pumped up the Colts’ o-line as the best in football but they’re wrong, it’s the Pats.
Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is the Gandalf of line coaches (YOU SHALL NOT PASS!). He’s certainly what brings the most out of the big boys and this may have been his best year as a coach in his million year long career.
A gigantic question mark coming into the season was Tom Brady’s blind side, left tackle. The trustworthy Nate Solder signed elsewhere and the Pats replaced him with the big (but not so trusty) Trent Brown. He seemed to be a waste out in San Francisco but Belichick and Scar certainly didn’t see him that way.
The six foot-eight inch, 380 pound left tackle is intimidating by sight but could he be coached up to protect the GOAT? Hell yeah he can and hell yeah he was. He’s been great all season and just check out one of these plays from Sunday’s win:
#Patriots Offense: Brady to Hogan. 1 handed catch for a first down.
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) January 21, 2019
Brown is just one piece of the puzzle though. David Andrews (a fan favorite of mine) is the smack dab in the middle leader of this group, followed by Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, and Marcus Cannon. I know “walls” aren’t a popular topic right now but that’s exactly what these fabulous five are.
The Pats have been a meat and potatoes team this postseason, winning with a balanced attack and strong defense, a refreshing look during a modern day NFL featuring all offense and no defense.
Brady hasn’t been sacked at all this postseason (an astonishing stat itself) but the line is going to need to have maybe their best game yet, if they want to hoist the Lombardi, against a very tough Rams defensive front.