It was a total team effort for the New England Patriots in Sunday's 29-0 win over the Detroit Lions. The defense and run game dominated while rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe played mistake-free football in his first NFL start.
The effort from the offensive line shouldn't be understated either. In fact, Zappe even went out of his way to name the big men up front -- Trent Brown, Cole Strange, David Andrews, Mike Onwenu and Isaiah Wynn -- as the MVPs of the blowout victory.
“They played amazing today,” Zappe said during his postgame press conference. “To be honest with you, all five of those guys -- actually six, including Marcus Cannon -- were the MVPs of today. We ran the ball well. For the offense, MVP, they ran the ball well, play-action well, kept me clean in the pocket. We were able to go through second, third reads, get to your checkdown. They played really well today. To be able to have those guys up front is amazing.”
A closer look at the numbers shows Zappe was spot-on in his assessment of his o-line. The 2022 fourth-round draft pick wasn't pressured on any of his 21 dropbacks. According to NFL Media's Mike Giardi, he's the first quarterback to not be pressured in a game with 20 or more dropbacks since San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017.
While protecting Zappe, the Patriots' offensive line also did a tremendous job creating holes for Rhamondre Stevenson. The second-year running back rushed for a career-high 161 yards on 25 carries.
Whether it's with Zappe or Mac Jones under center, the o-line will look to carry their momentum into next Sunday's game in Cleveland.