BOSTON (CBS) - Brandon Spikes was the New England Patriots' top linebacker in stopping the run, but like so many defensive players before him he was placed on season-ending injured reserve leading up to the Colts game.
It's been well documented that Spikes struggles in pass coverage, and playing on basically one knee for over two months certainly doesn't assist him in covering tight ends and running backs - so his presence won't be missed in defending against the pass going forward.
However, after allowing only 69 yards on the ground to Indianapolis, it looks like - for one game at least - he wasn't all that missed in the run game either.
Jamie Collins was a big reason why.
98.5 The Sports Hub's Patriots play-by-play man Bob Socci thought Jamie Collins played "terrific" on Saturday night, and spoke glowingly to Toucher & Rich Monday morning about the rookie linebacker's emergence.
"I thought Jamie Collins was fantastic Saturday night - not only in pass coverage, but with his explosiveness he got to the quarterback with the sack and he defended the run very well. Having a guy like Jamie Collins and seeing him mature in his rookie season helped offset the loss of Brandon Spikes."
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Given the Colts' affinity for passing the ball, Socci isn't so sure Spikes would have played a large role in the gameplan against Andrew Luck and company anyways, and the same thing can be said for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The Patriots backfield combined for six touchdowns against Indy in the divisional round, but in order to beat the Broncos on the road for the AFC Championship they are going to have to "mix it up" according to Socci, and this means connecting on some big pass plays.
Listen below for Socci's full analysis:
Socci On The Emergence Of Jamie Collins
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