- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Another week, another win for the Patriots, and another dominant performance from nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
The heart and soul of the Patriots' defensive line was nearly unblockable against the Texans on Monday night, standing tall to collect four tackles (including one for a loss), a sack and a forced fumble.
He led the charge for a defensive line that coordinator Matt Patricia said stood out in the team's 42-14 thrashing of the AFC's top team.
"You've really got to give credit to those guys up front. They did a heckuva job playing really good fundamental disciplined football," Patricia said.
"Vince obviously leads the charge and is a tremendous player for us in the front. He obviously demands a lot of attention from the opponents, which in other cases can free up teammates and stuff that we talked about earlier in the year on some plays that present themselves where he's obviously such a force in there. He gets those plays every once in a while where he is singled up, or has a chance or opportunity to make a good play, which he did quite a bit last night."
Between the work he does in freeing up space for linebackers, taking on blockers, stuffing the run, collapsing the pocket as a pass rusher, and providing standout leadership on defense, the value of Wilfork is difficulty to quantify, according to Patricia.
"I think it's really difficult to kind of say," he said. "Obviously the biggest stat we're concerned with is winning and I think you could definitely say that Vince helps us win every week. That's really what we're trying to do, and that's what we're trying to work for as a defense, is to get better. That's the stat we're looking for, so it's hard, like you said, there's not a real stat for it. We're just trying to win and do what we can to win, and I think obviously for us it's just a key component."
9hBy Jackie MacMullan