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Monday, September 27, 2010
Charting the Patriots' pass rush

By Mike Reiss

The expectation was to review the Patriots' win over the Bills and find that the pass rush was non-existent, yet that was not the case. The Patriots' generated some pressure, specifically in the fourth quarter on Ryan Fitzpatrick's two fourth-quarter interceptions.

Both interceptions came against a standard four-man rush.

One common thread on those interceptions was the presence of rookie Jermaine Cunningham, providing pressure off the edge. On the first interception, Cunningham powered into running back C.J. Spiller off the right defensive edge and made contact with Fitzpatrick as he was finishing his delivery. On the second, Cunningham was double-teamed off the left defensive edge.

There have been questions from Patriots fans in recent weeks about how Cunningham is faring, and those two plays were examples of him making a positive impact. On the flip side, he is still learning how to set the edge in the running game, which was seen on Marshawn Lynch's 16-yard run in the first quarter. 

A look at the Patriots' pass rush on Sunday:

Four-man rush
Total: 16 times
Passing: 11 of 14 for 164 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Miscellaneous: 2 rushes, 9 yards

Five-man rush
13 times
Passing: 8 of 11 for 78 yards
Miscellaneous: 1 sack; 1 rush for 10 yards

Six-man rush
1 time
Passing: 0 of 1

Two pass plays were not charted against a rush -- C.J. Spiller's 5-yard touchdown reception and a failed screen pass on the Bills' second drive.