Small stats, big impact for Vince Wilfork


He doesn’t put up big statistics, but few people make a bigger difference for their teams than Patriots most tackle Vince Wilfork.

That was the case in last night’s 49-19 win over the Jets, as Wilfork disrupted everything the Jets tried for a stretch, and made the play that made them the butt of all the jokes today. He was credited with just three tackles, but was the reason many more were made.

“If one of us is making a big play near the line of scrimmage, Vince is almost always a factor in it,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said, via Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe.

Pushing Jets guard Brandon Moore’s backside into quarterback Mark Sanchez might have been just the most obvious, but there were several other examples.

“I’m just taught to fight pressure with pressure, so I just started fighting back and knocked him into Sanchez and it created a fumble,” Wilfork said of the play that made the cover of the New York Post under the headline “BUTT UGLY.”

Mayo made a pair of short-yardage run stops which were directly because Wilfork tied up a double-team or otherwise blew up a play.

“It’s just man on man,” Wilfork said. “I think if I can occupy two [blockers], I know one of my ’backers is free. And I have some great ’backers. I put them up against any ’backers in the league at what we do. And I know I expect for them to make plays.”

It’s not a glamorous role to play, but the Patriots know he’s vital to what they do.

“Very unselfish,” 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.”

He’s also getting more productive as the weeks pass, which is a good sign for a team that appears to be hitting its stride.

18 responses to “Small stats, big impact for Vince Wilfork

  1. When I watch them play, no teams run where Wilfork. Even when double teamed his still blows up the run and can fold the pocket. May not have the greatest stats but probably one of the best to play NT/DT but I don’t think even people that hate The Pats would argue that fact.

  2. When Revis went down I told a couple NYJ fans that’s like our team losing big Vince. His ability to play any position on the DL is HUGE to the Pats.

  3. offthelows

    I’m not so sure about that, he clearly used Brandon Moore as a projectile. As I tweeted when it happened: “Vince Wilfork just caused Mark Sanchez to fumble by throwing a human being at him.”

  4. “Nobody was really pushed into Sanchez though.. ”

    You must have been watching a different game. Wilfork was fighting against a double team (Moore and Mangold) and literally got leverage under Moore and pushed him backwards into an oncoming Sanchez who did not anticipate the hit. As funny as the play was it was also a great effort by Vince.

  5. The fact that some “advanced” football metrics show that Wilfork is having a sub-par season compared to others at his position is proof that such statistics are a work in progress. They have proven useful and effective in baseball and, more recently, basketball, but tweaking remains for football – especially on the defensive side of the ball.

  6. offthelows says:Nov 23, 2012 11:53 AM

    Nobody was really pushed into Sanchez though.. He just ran right into Moore and had his Football Follies moment. Ugliest play I’ve seen in a while

    You obviously have no idea what you’re looking at. Wilfork drove Brandon Moore smack into where Sanchez was hoping to go.

    Moore didn’t just get in Sanchez’s way by accident, Wilfork PUT him there.

  7. This guy is an absolute monster. At 325 pounds he can still dunk a basketball… He shows up every week and plays nearly every snap but he always steps it up for the big games, like the AFC championship last year when the offense went 3 and out in the 4th quarter.

  8. nygdriveforfive says: Nov 23, 2012 12:54 PM

    Wilfork is a beast. Baas and the Giant O line owned him in the SB though. I like to judge guys by there performance in big games.

    The way Eli is playing, there won’t be any big games for you this year. Enjoy watching the Patriots in the playoffs.

  9. And to think he was rated 80th or something on the top 100 players in the league program this summer. Guy is an absolute monster on the line and while he doesn’t have all the stats, he is a game changer and the anchor of this defense. I thank god he is on my team.

  10. nygdriveforfive says: Nov 23, 2012 12:54 PM

    Wilfork is a beast. Baas and the Giant O line owned him in the SB though. I like to judge guys by there performance in big games.


    Also were you absent for the AFC championship game against Baltimore, or are you just that oblivious to the fact that he is one of the primary reasons we won that game

  11. He’s the best Patriot d lineman of all time, right? I think he is over the 30 years or so that I’ve been watching.

  12. “…for their teams than Patriots most tackle Vince Wilfork.

    Is a most tackle something like a nose tackle?

  13. You know how to tell a NE homer… they think a guy only 6’2″ and “listed” at 325 lbs can dunk a basketball on a regulation 10′ hoop. He’d be lucky to touch the bottom of the net. He plays an awesome DT, let it go at that.

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