FOXBOROUGH — It wasn’t exactly a Gordie Howe hat trick — wrong sport — but if Mr. Hockey happened to be watching Saturday’s AFC divisional round playoff, he certainly would have been proud of the night turned in by Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins.
Making his playoff debut, the rookie from Southern Mississippi successfully shadowed Colts tight end Coby Fleener in pass coverage, and recorded his first sack and his first interception.
There were a number of highlights for the Patriots in the 43-22 win that pushed them into the AFC Championship Game, namely LeGarrette Blount. But on the defensive side, Collins was as responsible as anybody.
“It’s very special, the words can’t even explain it,” Collins said. “Postseason game, big game, we’re down a man, so it’s next man up.” Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.