The Patriots did many things right against the Houston Texans, and it started with outstanding play from center David Andrews. From his ability to get the ball to the quarterback quickly and accurately to his excellent pass protection and run blocking, Andrews’s near-perfect performance earns him the week 11 Game Ball. Even though the offensive line struggled to protect Cam Newton at times, Andrews was not part of that problem. In fact, he cleaned up several missed blocks to give Newton more time in the pocket. Signed by the Patriots in 2015, Andrews has been the anchor of the offensive line ever since. Not including 2019, he averages 84.8% of all offensive snaps and has started 64 out of 67 total games.
One of the most important moments in every game is the exchange between the quarterback and the center. It’s how the play starts, and a botched snap can lead to lost yardage or worse, a turnover. Even among the constant shuffling along the offensive line, Andrews provides the continuity that this team badly needs. During the times that he is not on the field, the whole offense struggles. This was evident when he missed all of the 2019 season with blood clots in his lungs. The Patriots had one of their worst seasons since 2000, and the loss of Andrews played a huge role in that.
Against the Texans, Andrews was either blocking a defender out of the play or running to make a block downfield. He did not allow a sack, pressure, or hurry-up during the entire game. When the Patriots chose to run the ball he was equally dominant, only allowing one tackle. And that tackle only happened because the defender released from Andrews and chased down the running back to make an incredible backside tackle. Andrews made blocking look easy, often moving his opponent out of the play by four or five yards. He was especially effective at chipping rushers as he moved to block at the second level, and picking up delayed blitzes or rushers that got past the rest of the offensive line.
There are many things that make David Andrews so impressive. One of those things is his toughness. While many of his teammates chose to opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns about COVID-19, Andrews chose to play despite being in a higher risk category. After breaking his right thumb in week three, he tried to snap the ball in practice with his left hand and a cast on his right hand. Although the thumb injury required surgery, he tried to play through it for his team. Another thing is his high football IQ and awareness. Since 2015, he’s only committed 17 penalties and has a clean record so far this year. That’s an average of 0.25 penalties per game. He also sports the best football mullet since Jared Allen. I’m not saying his hairstyle contributes to his success, but I’m not not saying it either.
–Travis Baltes is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @TravisBaltes