Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Patriots' Arrington locks it down in bolstered role


Forget Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner--the real defensive MVP of Sunday night’s 42-20 over the Colts might actually be fellow cornerback Kyle Arrington.

While Revis and Browner both earned contracts from the Patriots in the offseason to shore up the pass defense in 2014, and while they certainly have thus far, it was the familiar face of Arrington that earned his money in the win.

In the week leading up the matchup with the Colts, it was heavily debated who Bill Belichick would stick Revis on and virtually eliminate from the Colts’ offensive game plan. Most said Colts No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton would draw the short straw and be blanketed by the Pats shutdown corner.

They were wrong.

Surprisingly, Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia stuck the nickel corner Arrington on the Colts' explosive playmaker, and Arrington passed with flying colors.

The move came as a surprise due to Arrington’s reduced playing time in 2014 because of the Revis and Browner acquisitions. Coming into Sunday, Arrington had logged just one start for the defense, playing less than 50 percent of defensive snaps in five of the team’s nine games.

But the reliable veteran stepped up big Sunday, and proved to be a crucial part of the team’s win, and also a huge reason why the Patriots defense limited Andrew Luck and the offense to just 20 points, tied for the lowest total all season.

Hilton was held to just three catches for 24 yards, both lows for his season.

It was Arrington’s assignment to take Hilton out of the game. Not Revis’. Not Browner’s.

It was Arrington’s efforts that kept the deep ball completely out of Andrew Luck’s arsenal Sunday, which often led to medium-range passes to his backup tight end Coby Fleener.

Other than that, nothing else was open for the Colts Sunday night.

Revis will get much of the credit because of who he is, but Sunday’s impressive defensive stand against the league’s best offense was heavily the result of Kyle Arrington’s presence on the field.

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