INDIANAPOLIS — There’s been all this talk about the Giants pass rush, but on a per-game basis in the playoffs, the Patriots have recorded more sacks than New York has.
In two postseason games, New England has eight sacks. The Giants have nine in three.
It doesn’t have the athletic ability that the Giants line has, but this New England defensive front is flying under the media’s radar. The Pats have 19 sacks in their last five games, a run that — strangely — coincides with the loss of Andre Carter, who led the team with 10 sacks before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 15.
Mark Anderson has been a big factor, recording four sacks during that stretch.
“Andre was a big contributor to the pass rush, but when he went down everybody had to step up to fill his shoes,” Anderson told me this week. “I think the pass rush was doing well when he was there, and we’ve just maintained that.”
He added that he thinks the team’s rush “can compete with anybody in the league.”
When Carter went down, the Pats starting using more 3-4, which usually offers more flexibility in terms of looks and disguises. That move has obviously paid off.
“You never know what they might do in order to confuse us and make us unsuccessful,” said Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie.
“I know this is Anderson’s first year with that system and I think that they’re just getting more and more comfortable,” offensive lineman Kevin Boothe told me. “And as that happens I think that coach Belichick and the rest of that staff will probably increase the amount of looks that they have.”
The New England defense might not be getting a lot of love from the media this week, but the Giants are well aware of how effective they’ve been lately.
“They might not get a lot of credit, but we definitely realize their ability, especially over the last several weeks,” said Boothe. “Defensively, they’re playing just as well as anyone else in the league. They have a lot of big, athletic guys that create havoc.”
New York’s offensive line isn’t considered to be special, but Eli Manning has great pocket presence and blitz recognition. This likely won’t be as easy for New England’s defensive front as it was against Tim Tebow and Joe Flacco earlier this month.
“One person can’t venture off and do their own thing and expect to get to Eli,” said Anderson. “His footwork has been amazing, especially during the playoffs. Everybody has to be on the same page and buy into the system and work together.”