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Patriots playoff performances: Rookie Jamie Collins delivers big

Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts gets tackled by Jamie Collins #91 of the New England Patriots during the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 11, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Sometimes good things happen when a team faces the amount of injuries to star players that the New England Patriots have. Other players have to step up and fill a role, or sometimes even a star emerges. See Tom Brady. As reports on Jan. 12, rookie linebacker Jamie Collins may have delivered his breakout performance in Saturday night's 43-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

The second round selection was the Patriots highest draft pick in 2013 and he showed glimpses of the promise and excitement Patriots personnel had for the young player. Last night he showed the nation just what kind of player he will be. The timing was just right as the Patriots next man up philosophy never looked more steady.

In the wake of the team placing starting linebacker Brandon Spikes on the injured reserve list, Jamie Collins took it as an opportunity to shine and he may not be looking back. The rookie linebacker quickly became Andrew Luck's nightmare with a sack, two quarterback hits and an interception. It was his ability to get into the backfield that made Patriots fans drool. Another trait Jamie Collins has adapted is modesty as of course, it was just another game to him.

"It was kind of a difference but like I said, every game is the same to me. Just go out there, do what you have to do, and hopefully it comes out on the positive end."

In a season of injuries, the best thing that can happen for the Patriots is the emergence of new stars, especially one with the versatility of Jamie Collins who showed his ability to rush the passer, stop the run and cover tight ends and running backs. Versatility always sits well with coach Bill Belichick who spoke highly of his rookie linebacker after the game.

"As you saw today, he's out there on split out tight end covering them on fade patters and he's blitzing up the middle and he's making tackles in line. I think he's pretty comfortable wherever he is whether he's out in space and covering a guy 20 yards downfield or one-one one coverage with no help or whether he's in line taking on blockers or blitzing or covering tight ends from in close. he's a very versatile athlete that's smart, works hard, really has a great team attitude. I love having him on our team."

It may be premature to deem Jamie Collins as a star, but when a player with his talent emerges in a playoff game, the signs are pretty clear. Teammate Rob Ninkovich summed it all up by saying "he's one of those guys that's got that wow factor."

He's a player the Patriots' defense has been searching for since Willie McGinest, Tedy Brushi and Mike Vrabel stopped walking through that door.

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