No one try to tell us that the New England Patriots‘ Devin McCourty doesn’t still possess elite speed. The safety who also plays special teams had one of the bigger plays in the team’s 45-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
According to Next-Gen Stats, which were shared by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, McCourty reached 21.1 miles per hour on his dash to the end zone.
Devin McCourty scoops and scores the blocked punt for SIX.
— NFL (@NFL) December 6, 2020
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Second Time McCourty Has Been Clocked Over 20 Miles Per Hour This Year
McCourty turned on the jets during the team’s Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks as well.
He was clocked at 21.3 miles per hour when he scored on a pick-six in that game. McCourty has been mostly solid this season, although he has had a few forgettable moments like this one.
Thankfully for the Patriots, there were no such moments on Sunday.
Strong Game in Every Facet
McCourty wasn’t the only player on the team to shine. The number of stars from Sunday’s win is almost as long as the list of errors the Chargers made.
Gunner Olszewski caught a 31-yard TD pass and had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown. Both were the first of Olszewski’s career.
Olszewski lost his job as a kickoff returner to Donte Moncrief, but since the demotion on that front, he’s been on fire returning punts. In the win over the Arizona Cardinals the week prior, Olszewski had a return for a touchdown called back after a bogus illegal blindside block was called on Anfernee Jennings.
Olszewski appears to be settling into his roles as punt returner and receiver pretty well. Like others, hw will be looking to follow that up with another strong performance on Thursday in the same stadium against the Los Angeles Rams.
Thursday Night in Los Angeles
The Rams pose a different kind of threat to the Patriots than the Chargers.
The Rams don’t have a rookie quarterback that Bill Belichick can confound with a different scheme than he’s used to seeing. Like the Chargers, the Rams do have a dominant defensive lineman. However, unlike Joey Bosa, who plays as an edge rusher predominantly, the Rams’ Aaron Donald moves all along the defensive line wreaking havoc.
Also, the Rams aren’t woeful at special teams.
The Chargers set a new low for futility in that aspect of the game on Sunday. They gave the Patriots a first down at a crucial point of the contest–when the game was perhaps still in doubt–by having 12 men on the field on a would-be punt from New England. On two other occasions, the Chargers lined up to return a punt with just 10 men on the field.
There was also the blocked field goal that led to McCourty’s touchdown and L.A. also surrendered 143 return yards to Olszewski.
The Rams are simply a much better team than the Chargers, and the Patriots must be prepared to perform.