One of the more head-scratching things about the Patriots’ defense in going over the television copy of the Patriots’ win over the Chargers was the lack of an impact by DT Albert Haynesworth.
He was the most impactful defensive player in the season-opening win against the Dolphins, with two run stuffs, two hurries, and 1.5 knockdowns (two holding penalties drawn are included in those numbers).
Against the Chargers, Haynesworth didn’t have one impactful play. He didn’t even show up on the stat sheet.
Haynesworth wasn’t terrible or anything — he competed fine (although his final two plays were a little suspect) — you just expect an obviously talented player to have some sort of an impact.
If Haynesworth did have an impact, it was of the negative variety when got out of his run gap three times, including the touchdown run by Ryan Mathews. By going inside Haynesworth left too much room for Mayo to cover in that gap.
That being said, we don’t know what Bill Belichick’s instructions are to Haynesworth. Sometimes a coach will tell certain players they don’t need to worry about their gaps. But it’s going to expose the players behind them if the player doesn’t take enough blockers with him.
Haynesworth played 22 snaps and he was single-blocked 15 times (68 percent). Most of the time it was Chargers left guard Kris Dielman, who is in the upper echelon of the league’s guards. But he’s a better run blocker than a pass blocker.
Haynesworth’s two final plays were his poorest. He was knocked to the ground for the seventh and eighth time in the game and didn’t make much of an attempt to get up. Check the footage at 14:13 of the fourth quarter to see what I’m talking about. Here’s a screen grab.
That play did come five plays after he came out of the game to be stretched, so maybe Haynesworth has an injury. But it didn’t look good.
Considering the amount of extra blockers the Chargers kept in, and all the chipping that happened on the outside, this was game where the Patriots needed Haynesworth’s inside push to help speed up quarterback Philip Rivers. But it didn’t happen.
We’ll have more on this in our game breakdown and Bills advance in tomorrow’s paper, but here’s a chart of Haynesworth’s plays against the Chargers. The blue boxes are when he and Vince Wilfork were on the field together.