EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — He was only credited with three tackles on the official statistics, but Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork had his second straight dominating game in the Patriots’ 49-19 victory.
Wilfork fought double teams on third and fourth down as the Jets were stopped by Jerod Mayo in Patriots territory when the score was 7-0.
Wilfork shoved guard Brandon Moore into Sanchez to cause a fumble that was returned for a touchdown to make it 21-0.
Wilfork drew a double team that freed Mayo on his sack to end the next drive.
Wilfork tossed right tackle Austin Howard like a rag doll to stop Bilal Powell for no gain after the two-minute warning.
And, finally, when the Jets had fourth and goal at the Patriots’ 1-yard line early in the third quarter, Wilfork busted through the gap Shonn Greene wanted to run through. That forced Greene back to the middle where Brandon Spikes stopped him for no gain.
“Very unselfish,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We play him in different positions, where we feel like he’s maybe the most needed, not necessarily where it’s going to feature him or give him a great opportunity to make plays. But a lot of times it is to eat up blockers or try to disrupt plays.
“He’s an explosive guy that’s got very good football instincts. He knows where the ball is, he knows what they’re trying to do. He really responded to a lot of the different challenges or positions that we put him in. He’s done a very unselfish job and been very productive.”
Wilfork also dominated against the Colts, forcing a bad throw on the interception returned for a touchdown by Aqib Talib, batting down two passes, and wrecking several Colts running plays.
The uptick in Wilfork’s play just happened to coincide with the article from ProFootballFocus.com, published two days before the Colts game, titled, “What’s wrong with Vince Wilfork?”
Yes, Wilfork’s wife Bianca brought it to his attention.
“I work my tail off,” Wilfork said after his press conference. “I do everything that I’ve been doing. You’re going to always have people saying some things. But I try not to pay attention to that.
“She told me about it. I think it irritated her more than it did me. I looked at it and I was like, ‘It is what it is.’ I’m going to keep doing my thing.”
More on Wilfork from me in Friday’s paper.