Looking closer at blitz numbers

LONDON -- If it seemed like the Patriots blitzed more than the norm in Sunday's 45-7 win over the Rams, it's because they did.

According to ESPN's Stats & Information department, which tracks every game, the Patriots sent five or more pass rushers 23.5 percent of the time vs. the Rams. That represents their second highest percentage of the season, behind 28.6 percent against the Seahawks on Oct. 14.

One of those blitzes set an early tone, with linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo surging through the middle to force Sam Bradford into an intentional grounding penalty for the Patriots' initial third-down stop.

That play was obviously a good one, but the Rams actually had success against the Patriots' blitz after that, finishing 6 of 8 passing for 70 yards with 1 touchdown and no interceptions, according to ESPN's Stats & Information. The other two plays against the blitz were runs.

So while the blitz created an early stop that helped set the tone, it wasn't necessarily the extra pressure that made a major difference for the pass defense.

(Special thanks to Justin Page of ESPN's Stats & Information for his research on this today.)