FOXBOROUGH – If he already wasn’t considered one of the NFL’s best pass rusher, Matthew Judon made sure that you include him in that conversation moving forward on Sunday.
The Pro Bowl edge rusher recorded three sacks in the New England Patriots’ decisive 26-3 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, and he made his presence known from the jump.
On the Colts’ first offensive play of the game, Judon stunted on his rush, faking going outside before rushing inside to fake out right guard Matt Pryor and sack Sam Ehlinger. He would’ve had his second sack two plays later, but it was negated due to a defensive penalty on the Patriots.
— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) November 6, 2022
That didn’t stop Matthew Judon though. On a third down play during the Colts’ next drive, Judon again ran a stunt rush, confusing Pryor for a second time to sack Ehlinger as he was stepping up in the pocket.
Matthew Judon up to 10.5 sacks this season for the @Patriots.
No one else has more than 8.5.pic.twitter.com/K3vjf9KFQx
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) November 6, 2022
Judon completed the hat trick in the third quarter, blowing by the right side of the Colts’ offensive line and wasn’t picked up by running back Deon Jackson, getting to Ehlinger untouched for a sack on third-and-7.
That's 3 sacks on the day for Matthew Judon 💪
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 6, 2022
Judon wasn’t done making plays there. On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Judon played Jackson’s fourth-and-1 carry well, tackling the running back at the line of scrimmage to force a turnover on downs.
As Judon had one of the best games of his career, he took a more humble approach when asked why he was so dominant on Sunday.
“The grace of God, for real,” Judon said. “My teammates go out there, put me in great situations to execute. My coaches call good calls. I’m just willing to do whatever I need to do for our defense to have success. Whatever that is, however it looks and however I need to play, I’m willing to do it. Today it was just one of those games.”
Despite getting to the quarterback relatively quickly on all three of his sacks, Judon believed that his sacks might have been coverage sacks.
“I believe that the secondary covered their butts off today. It was a lot of coverage sacks. My sack probably was a coverage sack,” Judon said. “We, as a defensive line, always go talk to them and they come talk to us. We just have to continue to feed off that energy and each other. No matter down and distance, where we go out there on the field, the situation we’re put in, it’s our job to get the ball back. It’s our job to stop the opposing offense. When we do that, we just roll, we just roll. We’ve seen it in a couple other games and today we had it.”
Judon wasn’t as humble though on social media after the game. Earlier in the week, NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger pointed out that the Ravens are really good at drafting edge rushers, pointing to the performances that Judon and Vikings defensive end Za’Darius Smith have had this season. Judon replied to that tweet on Thursday, writing “Unfortunately they wont pay them.”
Following his performance on Sunday, Judon bumped that tweet back.
“Love when a tweet ages well,” Judon tweeted with a hand over face emoji.
While Judon shouted his teammates for his performance, they can’t help but feel the affect he has on the team. Fellow edge rusher Josh Uche was asked if Judon sets the tone for the team.
“Who got the sack on the first play of the game?” Uche said.
“Judon,” the reporter replied.
“Well, there you go,” Uche said right back.
“I see it up close and personal each and every day in practice, so I’m not surprised,” Uche said. “This is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen in my life so it’s an honor to be able to learn from him and watch his game each and every day, I have him give me advice too so it’s definitely good.”
After helping the Patriots improve to 5-4 on the season, Matthew Judon will get some rest as New England’s on its bye week next. Following that, the Patriots will ost the 6-3 New York Jets, who defeated the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.