Patriots Offensive Line Steps Up

East Rutherford, N.J. - While Ellis Hobbs broke records in the kick return game and Tom Brady seemingly connected with Randy Moss at will, it was the Patriots offensive line that beat the Jets in Week One.

Brady was only hit once, which still resulted in a 14 yard completion to Moss early in the second quarter, and was never sacked in the Pats 38-14 victory over their division rivals. Thanks to the men up front, Brady had all the time in the world to pick apart the Jets secondary for 297 passing yards and three touchdown passes.

Benjamin Watson #84 (R) jumps to congratulate teammate Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots, after Welker's first quarter touchdown against the New York Jets on September 9, 2007 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

"With plenty of time to throw, I had plenty of time to survey the field," said Brady during the post-game press conference. "When they're pressured, they always had the right guy … It was nice that we had the time to throw it."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said the offensive line was able to withstand the Jets blitzing. "I thought they did blitz. I don't know what the numbers were but they pressured us quite a bit. Think the offensive line did a good job."

The reason for the early success is the line is a solid unit with a lot of experience together. The line is the same group that finished last season. They consist of pro bowl left tackle Matt Light, right guard Logan Mankins, Center Dan Koppan, right guard Stephen Neal, and right tackle Nick Kaczur.

Offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan also helped sure up the blocking as the third tight end on several plays throughout the game. O'Callaghan played in that position many times last season, as well as during the preseason. His ability to be the blocking tight end give the Patriots important versatility on the line with the recent release of tight end Marcellus Rivers on Saturday.

"It's the same group we had last year," said Brady. "When you can do that you can really build and compliment each other from year to year. They can really pick up this year where they left off last year.

"I think that offensive line did a spectacular job," he said. "They work so hard and I think they're so well coached. (Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia) puts a lot of pressure on the offensive line and they're so consistent."

The offensive line opened several holes for Patriots running backs, which carried the ball 37 times for 134 yards and a rushing touchdown.

"We ran the ball with some consistency," said Belichick. "We didn't break a lot of long runs, but we stayed out of a lot of long yardage situations. We were not in third and 15, third and 20 too often and so that's good. That's good!"

WR Randy Moss (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

"On the run game, they give the running backs a clear lead in the holes," said Brady. "It's a great group and they work extremely hard and it's all in the way they've played and we're lucky to have those guys

The solid play from the line allowed the Patriots to have a balance offensive attack the Jets had no answer for.

"They did a good job pass protecting," said Jets Linebacker Jonathan Vilma. "They did some things different on the offensive line to hold us. They did a good job with that. They kept their backs in and their receivers got open."

"I think today wasn't so much to try to have some big mass substitutions," said Belichick. "We were just trying to utilize all our skill players offensively, and including Ryan O'Callaghan as a third TE, to just give some balance to the offense and to have everyone involved and to just be balanced. That's all … I thought we had balance offensively."

Brady said the line "set the tone for this entire offense."

 

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