Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

New England Patriots Game Ball goes to Offensive Line

Tom Brady had all day to throw, and Stevan Ridley’s path was set for almost the entire game. The offensive line was the most instrumental piece in the New England Patriots blowout win over the New York Jets, and they deserve to collectively grasp the game ball for this week. Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon were highlighted as weaknesses coming into the season but both were strengths in this one, and the Patriots line never allowed a Jets pass rusher to hit Tom Brady. Ever.

With Sebastian Vollmer out as a surprise inactive, the onus was on Cannon to perform. The second-year RT is solid as a run blocker, but his pass protection has always come into question. That didn’t manifest itself in this game, and he did an excellent job in filling in in this game.

Overall, the line was responsible for 6.8 points per EPA and had a 60% success rate collectively. Those are some incredible numbers, and they didn’t even allow a tackle for loss.

The Patriots averaged nearly six yards per carry when running it to the right side, so a lot of credit needs to be given to Cannon, who, again, filled in immaculately for Vollmer. Donald Thomas once again filled in well for the injured Logan Mankins and actually outperformed Solder in this game.

You could make the case for singling out Solder and naming him the lone game ball recipient on the offensive line, but I prefer to collectively give the award. Especially since Ryan Wendell was an absolute mauler as a run blocker.

I also want to throw in Daniel Fells’s name, and I believe he deserves a cut of the offensive linemen’s glory for being something of a sixth offensive lineman as a run blocker. Fells definitely deserves more playing time going forward, and he deserved to get far more playing time than Visanthe Shiancoe. He is the better player, and that’s due to his excellent blocking which ranks among the best in the NFL at the tight end position. The Pats didn’t miss a beat blocking-wise, even without the best blocking TE in the league (by some distance) Rob Gronkowski.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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