Monday, December 19, 2016

Patriots' Flowers continues to bloom

New England's Trey Flowers sacks Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.

By Mark Daniels

December 18, 2016

DENVER - The Patriots' most productive pass rusher this year is a player that not a lot of people were taking about heading into the season. But one of the biggest stories for the Patriots defense this year is the emergence of Trey Flowers.

The second-year defensive lineman led New England with two sacks on Sunday to bring his team-leading total to seven. Flowers has amassed all seven sacks since Week Eight and has his teammates gushing at his potential.

"Trey has been outstanding. He's one of our best players," Chris Long said. "I think he has seven sacks and he's pretty much done it all rushing inside, which is even more impressive. There's very few inside rushers in our game that's put up numbers like him. As far as that's concerned, that's something people don't really think about. That would make him a pretty elite rusher."

The Patriots fourth-round pick in 2015, Flowers played only one game last season before finishing the year on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury. This season, he's been rotating in at defensive end with Long, Rob Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard. He's playing more than all other defensive ends, however, as he's staying on the field as the Patriots third-down pass rusher.

"Opportunity and just being prepared," Flowers said of his success. "Obviously I was out last year so just over the offseason making sure I was preparing and coming back full speed. Then opportunity and blessing from god that allows me to go out and play this game the way I can."

Flowers had a sack in the first half and then got to Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian again in the fourth quarter.

"He's a great pass rusher. He's so underrated. So young," Logan Ryan said. "He doesn't even know how good he's going to be, but that kid's special. We see it. This guy is getting sacks on the nose guard. That's just insane to me. This guy is a great player."

Added Flowers: "I always have confidence, but just being able to go out there and accomplish it – it's big."

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