C/O to patspulpit.com
The New England Patriots' defense was all over the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday, aiding in their route to a 26-3 victory. The patriots defense recorded nine sacks against the Colts, which ties for the highest in the Belichick era, and three of them came from third-year linebacker Josh Uche. Patriots fans have been clamoring for Uche ever since he was drafted in the second round of the 2020 draft with the 60th overall pick.
Uche’s college tape and stats makes one understand why fans have been so anxious to see him on the field. At the Big Ten school of Michigan, Uche exhibited quickness, power, and versatility from his outside linebacker/edge rusher position. Standing at six-foot-three and weighing 245 pounds, Uche moves fast for his size, and that was proven at the 2020 NFL Combine with his 4.58 second 40 time.
When watching Uche’s college highlights, it is easy to observe that he has excellent moves as well as power to get off his blocks, and from there he has great downhill pursuit, and he never gives up on a play. In college, Uche could be seen lining up on both edges as well as standing up in the backfield, playing as an off-the-ball linebacker. At Michigan, Uche recorded 52 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
C/O to mlive.com
The Michigan product didn’t have the most glamorous start to his NFL career, with him barely seeing the field in his rookie season and missing much of the following season with an ankle injury. In 2022, Uche seems to finally be making the impact that everyone has been hoping for, with him being on the field much more and making plays.
Uche has now consistently made his way into the starting lineup as a rotational linebacker. The 24-year-old has been lining up opposite of star edge rusher Matthew Judon on third down packages. Judon recently said that it is Uche who is the third down signal caller, which was confirmed by Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick during a media conference after the game.
That decision certainly paid off on Sunday, with the Patriots forcing the Colts to go 0-14 on third down. With the added responsibility and playtime, Uche appears to be thriving, putting together his best season yet, recording four sacks and 11 total tackles, four of which for losses. The numbers Uche put up this week will certainly pad his career stats with New England, which is currently 32 total tackles, eight sacks, and a fumble recovery.
Early on in the season, Uche was having some trouble finishing plays, but he had no trouble with that on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if Uche can expand on what he did against the Colts and keep this level of play going and perhaps get even more playing time. The Patriots will hang their hat on the magnificent performance by Uche and the defense heading into the bye week, and they will look to do the same with the New York Jets coming into Foxboro the following week for a divisional matchup.
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